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The Minimalist Con

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by toomoon, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    For anyone, who like me, is sickened by the massive backpedalling of the press, and the high profile few who pedalled a fad, minimalism, without understanding or even seeking the science, and thereby contributing to unprecedented injury and confusion, please go to www.facebook.com/bartoldbiomechanics, and leave your comments. I think i may have a few answers there.
  2. DrPod

    DrPod Active Member

    I find it remarkable the number of people who heavily promoted minimalistic running are now back peddling at a great rate of knots.
  3. Dr. Steven King

    Dr. Steven King Well-Known Member


    Perhaps they will now jump foreward onto footwear Maximalism.

    Maximalist Safety, Maximalist Stability, Maximalist Energy Efficiency.

    The race is on.

    A Hui Hou,

    Love is a Battlefield.... Pat Benatar
  4. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Here is one that came to the realization that it was never all that it was cracked up to be (this is cross posted from this thread: http://www.podiatry-arena.com/podiatry-forum/showthread.php?t=90431

    The Surprising Benefit Of Running On Your Heels
    Full story
  5. Dr. Steven King

    Dr. Steven King Well-Known Member

    Thanks Craig,

    Perhaps we should more often consider using the best tool for the job and not the same tool for all jobs.

    I will humbly admit to enjoying golfing and playing ultimate frisbee barefooted, but i would not like to fight a fire so underdressed.

    A Hui Hou,

    I, the Lord of wind and flame,
    I will tend the poor and lame.
    I will set a feast for them,
    My hand will save
    Finest bread I will provide,
    Till their hearts be satisfied.
    I will give My life to them,
    Whom shall I send?
  6. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    It should also be noted that "minimalism" (i.e. low profile running shoes) in & of itself is not a "con" or a "fad"... it has only attracted such sentiments as the result of unenlightened (ignorant) individuals pushing a minimalist agenda in the way of a "cure all" to the masses (whilst removing a large degree of physical conditioning responsibility from the unconditioned individual/jogger/runner). The higher profile evangelists of this agenda have frequently succumbed to deceptive practices or propagated such practices via directing such acts to the masses in order to further push their narrow world view... & obtain fame & fortune from the experience.

    However, there are runners (including myself) who benefit from what has now been deemed "minimalist running shoes"... for the likes of us, this particular running shoe structure is appropriate foot attire for our running. I like to think that we have all benefitted (i.e. physically, academically) from the controversy that has entailed (albeit at the expense of some frustration &/or pain/injury)...

  7. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    The only problem I have with this Matt is that it was not just the runners that pumped it up.. remember vivrobarefoot saying 'the studies prove it: barefoot is best" after the Daoud study was published... and remember VFF and what they claimed, and got sued for..and adidas. And I have heard Lieberman speak 4 times, and on each occasion he has insisted that either barefoot or minimalist is the way to go.. and his research is sponsored by VFF..
    So.. it is a bit more complicated.
    The finger could equally be pointed at "traditional" running shoe companies and their product, but to a large extent, many of the key players in the minimalist movement did execute a "con" by any definition of the word. Tony Post CEO of VFF at the time admitted he knew that VFF could injury,but he simply said it was the runners choice.. and banked the proceeds. Get onto the Natural Running Center's website and read all about how the only way to cure plantar fasciitis is by going barefoot or minimalist.. a site administered by a medical doctor.. or, on this same site, read the ramblings of Soc Doc.. misguided at best, dangerous at worst.
    Through all this nonsense, from day one, I have maintained that judicious barefoot running is a valuable training tool, and that in my opinion, mixing training with different terrain and surface, and introducing a lighter, less structure shoe into the program may well have a very positive effect on both injury prevention and training.
    There is also little doubt that minimalist product offers valuable choices for many athletes, like you. However, the suggestion from both the manufacturers and the proponents of "the barefoot movement' that this product was for everyone, was and is, by any descriptor.. a con.
  8. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Thanks Simon for your response. I think you will see that we agree on many things (albeit, possibly not on midsole pitch)... but just coming from a different perspective. In fact, I have come to value/enjoy your input on such topics & do endeavour to read more of your material (when time permits). I can understand where you're coming from with regard to the use of the words "con" & "fad" but like I said, my choice of a "minimalist" running shoe structure "in & of itself" shouldn't attract such terms/sentiments (in my view)... yet it does because I feel the minimalist category is a victim of the following circumstances...

    Yes Simon, actually my previous post was mainly targeted at the above crowd... which is why I also added the research analogy cartoon in that post. The majority of runners I believe got their opinion from the likes of the above crowd (not to mention that McDougall character & a certain book :rolleyes:).

    The thing is I was running in what is now referred to as "minimalist" type footwear well before the controversy arose & the ensuing "fad" took shape. Back then the term "minimalism" was pretty much only found within the art world. My training was done in racing flats... then in 2005 Nike brought out the Free 5.0, hence I started running in this shoe... later, a certain book came out... then lo & behold I soon found myself in a "fad" :eek:... grouped in with a bunch of "weirdos" wanting to be unique with an 'enlightened' message/agenda to push (ironically, they hadn't really thought of the associating issues too thoroughly). Some benefited from the experience & some did not (would be interesting to know the ratio).

    Yes, hence my reference to "fame & fortune"... where each of the above culprits had merchandise for sale. Also note what is on the t-shirts of most participants within the Natural Running Centre's videos - promoting a particular shoe brand.

    Good points Simon - I agree.

    Yes, I agree Simon to a large extent (we just can't use absolute language on subjects of this nature) & thus understand your use of the word "con" (& subsequently "fad")... which is no doubt targeted at the above cited perpetrators (manufacturers & 'barefoot' proponents) than the product itself...

    ... after all, even water can be misrepresented ;) :D...

  9. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Well I did not know water could be synthesized from rocket fuel.. however, I do know that fluoride was first introduced into water supplies in 1893 and none of the people subjected to this outrage are alive today...
  10. Tuckersm

    Tuckersm Well-Known Member

    more about dihydrogen monoxide here
  11. Last time I checked, combustion of nearly all substances in oxygen, including rocket fuel, will produce, as a byproduct, water (H20).
  12. Simon and Matt:

    As I predicted a few years ago here on Podiatry Arena, all this barefoot running stuff would eventually go away and we would all laugh about the fad in a few years. This is currently happening.

    In addition, I don't see the barefoot/minimalist fad as being a "con" but rather see it as being a valuable education for all of us to stick to our science and clinical observations in the face of public pronouncements from so-called "experts" that belittle us, criticize our science and complain about our clinical observations.

    Good lesson for everyone here.:drinks
  13. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Well.. I will say once more what I said in my post.. the "con" was in the claims being made.. and a con it was.. they told people they would run better, faster, longer and without injury.. and THAT.. is a con..that people bought into, and got injured.
  14. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    ... & hopefully a good lesson for everyone else (running/fitness/footwear world). It has at least provided another category within the running shoe market for us Podiatrists to prescribe from & subsequently the public to choose from.

    Like I've said before... the individual's own body will inevitably let them know what is tolerated - providing individuals give themselves a fighting chance & also exercise that 'muscle' between the ears...
    [​IMG] (i.e. listen to the educated views of a competent Podiatrist & the symptoms of their own body).

    "Con"/"fad"... I suppose it depends on the perspective you're coming from & the manner/direction in which the terms are used (i.e. the barefoot evangelist "con" artists inciting emotional excitement which inevitably invokes "mass media programming" & subsequently a "fad").
  15. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    I suppose this is as good a place as any to post the following (with the array of "minimalist" threads around on this forum).

    Views expressed within are all well & truly familiar with us by now... but being that it is a recent article (of which I don't believe has yet been cited on this forum), I thought others may find it useful (well... to some degree :rolleyes:) for their collection of "minimalist" related material...

    [Note: You will probably need to login into to Medscape to view the article]

    Reuters Health Information:
    Switch to Minimalist Running Shoes Tied to Injuries, Pain (click link)
    January 09, 2014

  16. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

  17. Dr. Steven King

    Dr. Steven King Well-Known Member

    Mahalo Ben,

    Thanks for the post and article reference.

    I do not mean to state the obvious but a 200-300% increase in injuries is alot. We can and should do better. I will keep beating the maximalist drum.

    "Three months after switching from traditional running shoes to the minimalist variety, study participants had two to three times as many injuries compared to runners who stuck with traditional shoes."

    A hui hou,
  18. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Mahalo Dr King (does "Mahalo" mean something like "Hello" in Hawaii?)

    I can understand why you would state... "I will keep beating the maximalist drum" - from memory you are/were developing a concept shoe for the US military (???)... & hence would require some degree of greater protection (if I understand your reasoning correctly). However, as I am coming from a running perspective (& civilian perspective); my views on appropriate foot attire are based on the runner's/patient's personal attributes (i.e. biomechanics/physiology), as well as their foot attire history (i.e. heel to toe pitch/differential - 12, 8, 4mm etc.). There should also be consideration on the running surface as well i.e. harder surfaces (concrete, asphalt) would potentially benefit from more cushioning (depending on the individual), whilst softer surfaces (trail, grass) can make do with less (depending on the individual). So we (I) have the main attributes of support, midsole pitch & cushioning to consider.

    I think the world is finally starting to realise that "minimalist" shoes are not for everybody (despite what the barefoot/minimalist evangelists were proclaiming a few years ago - & some still are)... just like (for want of a better analogy) some people can't tolerate certain foods (i.e. shellfish) or drugs (i.e. Penicillin)... some are physiologically suited & some are not. My assumptions on the above cited study is that the high incidence of injuries within the "minimalist" study participants was due to individuals not suited to that footwear &/or within the time period of the study. I have no idea of the percentage of the population suited to "minimalist" footwear (it is no doubt relatively small)... but just like a certain percentage of the population can't tolerate Penicillin (alternatives are available)... this population (like myself) should still be catered for & hence a "minimalist" range option should be considered legitimate & available within stores (maybe with a warning sign on the box: "blah blah blah yada yada yada... see Podiatrist if adverse symptoms arise &/or persist". :rolleyes: ;)).

    Then there is also the issue of a needed official classification (i.e. parameters) as to what constitutes "minimalist" (being that the term is cited & waved around so much)... as discussed in this thread (i.e. this post).
  19. Dr. Steven King

    Dr. Steven King Well-Known Member

    Mahalo Matt,

    There are Monster Truck Races too...

    In other words we have many roads and raceways with many types of vehicles that transverse and race on them. Same with our footwear.

    The debate over the definition of Maximalism and Minimalism should be taken more seriously. As physcians we have some responsibilty to our patients and the manufacturers that produce their footwear.

    Minimalism can be defined as ambulating with an effort to minimalize protection and biomechanical influence of the orthotic and footwear system.

    Maximalism can be defined as ambulating with an effort to maximalize protection, energy efficiency, and stabilty with an orthotic and footwear system.

    Please please add your comments to these definitions.

    Note that we do not add comfort or shape and volume of footwear to the definition. In other words just because a shoe may be "bigger" or "super sized" does not mean it is maximalist.

    The carbon fiber and Kevlar spring lever orthotic systems we are developing is intended to better protect our soldiers and first responders. It also has very significant advantages over foam and gel based footwear systems when road and trail running and racing. We be completing our 7th marathon in them this weekend at the Maui Oceanfront Marathon. From personal experience they race great and will allow you as a physcian more degrees of freedom for your corrective biomechanics. More tools in tool chest are always nice...

    Matt you are a good and avid runner and i know from your postings that you are willing to keep your eyes and options open for new tech.

    Mahalo "Thank You" and A Hui Hou "Until we meet again"'
  20. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Hi Dr King.

    I did find your last post a bit ambiguous in parts...

    The main running surfaces would be bitumen, concrete, trail (dirt, gavel) & grass in a civilian environment (as opposed to the potential hazards of military environment). Thus I'm uncertain of the point of the above quote.

    Are the above definitions your own? How do you see "maximalism" in relation to "energy efficiency" (i.e. particularly in relation to the usual higher weight found within "maximalism" footwear). We are just referring to footwear alone are we (& not also your "spring lever" orthotic project/interest)? I.e. would you (like most) consider the likes of Altra Olympus (0mm heel-toe drop), Hoka One ones, New Balance Fresh Foam 980 (both I believe with 4mm heel-toe drop), Brooks Transcend (8mm drop) "maximalist" foot attire?
    [just added heel-toe drop specs for interest sake]

    Yes, I see that "comfort" & "shape" should not be an element of the definition parameters (I have not seen them stated thus far); however, I do see "volume" as a candidate... maybe it best you clarify on your view of "volume" in relation to foot attire (i.e. shoes alone - no in-shoe devices).

    When I discuss/think about this topic ("minimalism"/"maximalism" foot attire) I only refer to foot attire (shoes) on the market (available to the public). Devices such as orthotics are not in the equation (in my view). Thus again I'm uncertain of the point of the above quote in relation to the context of "minimalism" (this thread) - unless it was stated as a point of interest (which it is)... but "carbon fiber and Kevlar spring lever orthotic systems" I would not usually consider for comparison to "foam and gel based footwear systems" because orthotic systems are not a standard feature of foot attire on the market (i.e. in retail stores). Whilst I am interested in such devices/systems (i.e. "carbon fiber and Kevlar spring lever orthotic systems") they are just not in the same equation to the nature of this topic... albeit, I have little doubt of (certain) potential advantages (i.e. protection in military environment; appropriate "spring lever" for energy return) of such material over foam & gel material (not sure of the weight issue & thus metabolic cost/efficiency).

  21. Dr. Steven King

    Dr. Steven King Well-Known Member

    Aloha Matt,

    In the context of this thread minimalism is not a fad,, it is a definition and for some a philosophy.

    One side of the coin is do less the other is do more.

    If the Altra Olympus (0mm heel-toe drop), Hoka One ones, New Balance Fresh Foam 980 and other simular shoes have significant improvements in energy efficiency, stability, and safety then yes they would meet "my" definition of maximalist.

    I ran/walked the Maui Oceanfront Marathon on Sunday in a pair of our advanced boots this weekend. Each boot weighed 808 grams (standard military issue boot of this size is 920 grams).

    Which mean we have at least a 100 gram reduction of boot weight which has been reported by Dr. Nigg to increase efficiency by 1%.

    And that does not even take into effect of the 4:1 mechanical advantage that the spring lever (simple machine) provided for each of my heel strikes nor the increase in rigidity at the MPJ Joints where most of gait energy is lost.

    Now the funny part is we modified the Belleville Minimil Minimalist Combat Boots to make our Maximalist boots.

    A Hui Hou,

    Kingetics- Simplifying Shaboomy...TM
  22. Dr. Steven King

    Dr. Steven King Well-Known Member

    Aloha Matt,

    I appriciate the standard classic view and mindset seperation of orthotics and shoes.

    "When I discuss/think about this topic ("minimalism"/"maximalism" foot attire) I only refer to foot attire (shoes) on the market (available to the public). Devices such as orthotics are not in the equation (in my view)" Your quote.

    I have made comment on Podiatry Areana and on Podiatry Management before that,
    Our Shoes Are Orthotics because They influence our gait (for good and bad).

    Our maximalist footwear systems (shoes with orthotics) are availible to the buying public both here on Podiatry Areana by clicking on the Kingetics Banner or by contacting "If the Shoe Fits" footwear store here in Wailuku, Maui.

    A Hui Hou,
  23. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your responses Dr King.

    Yes shoes do influence/alter our gait (for good or bad) but I will continue to categorise shoes & orthotics separately (I just feel there should be a distinction/separation between the two).

    I will keep an eye out for the "Kingetics Banner" (on this site)... & whilst I would love to be in Hawaii (Wailuku, Maui) & visit the "If the Shoe Fits" footwear store, I suppose this site (Kingetics) is the next best thing (?)... albeit, it would be advantages to try such a concept in person. There is no mention of costs on the website; is it preferred to inquire about cost privately via email?

    Kind regards,
  24. Dr. Steven King

    Dr. Steven King Well-Known Member

    Aloha Matt,

    I still think that scientifically our debate about minimalism and maximalism should take into account all that we apply (or not apply) to our feet and ankles if they influence they influence the gait.

    If you would like to make a pair for yourself they are not too hard to make. Just get a hold of some spring plates and apply the pivots to a rigid cradle and spring plate as demonstrated in the US patent 8,353,968. I find a 10mm pivot works well in the 40mm position on the cradle and 100mm position on the spring (messured from the rear of the device).

    We have spent alot of time and effort making and developing our composite components so if you would to obtain some of ours please email us by clicking on the Kingetics Banner here on this site if you do not see the banner ask Craig. Otherwise you still have my private email.

    Simply i broke my foot and started working with composites to protect it from refracture. We believe that the technology we discoverd is important and worth sharing. If we are the next best thing it is really up to you to decide. I have made up my mind what i will wear from now on.

    A Hui Hou,

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