500 miles in Minimalist Running Shoes

Strava just reminded me that I broke 500 miles of jogging since I switched to minimalist shoes. On February 19th, exactly 7 months ago yesterday I purchased WHITIN Men’s Minimalist Trail Runner shoes from Amazon and have been running in them since.

500 Miles later…

Ouch…

Lets just call it hazing… The first couple weeks of running barefoot really put in work on my calves. The day of my first run I noted in my log that the bottom of my feet were a bit sore. The day after putting in my first 5K I felt like I spent the prior day doing calf raises for hours. My calves were smoked so bad I didn’t even run the next day. Two days later I logged another really slow jog with my daughter in a stroller and still complained about my calves recovering. The day after that I logged another slow jog, this time in previous shoes the Altra Torin Plush 4 to give my calves yet another break. If that weren’t enough, about a week after starting I bruised my heel (logged in jog notes the day after) jogging down Camelback, a steep rocky trail. However, at least by this time I realized that my calves recovered faster if I rolled them out and iced them after each jog so my recovery started speeding up despite the initial damage taken. Needless to say, my calves did not appreciate the transition for the first month of running. After a month of regular jogging, lots of rolling, ice and ibuprofen, things returned to normal. I quickly switch to always running on the balls of my feet, even down hill and my calves developed fantastic elasticity. Fast forward 450 miles later and a new pain had arisen. Since I moved to the country I now run on dirt and gravel roads more often then sidewalks and although I somehow magically avoid most sharp rocks without paying much attention to it, when one does end up under foot it sure does smart. This is especially obvious now because the sole of my shoes are just about worn through. I bet a new pair of shoes will help alleviate this quite a bit.

Calves of Steel

My calf muscles are now rock hard and unless I put down 13+ miles at a really good pace, they don’t ever hurt. Even if I do put down some really hard calf exercises that leaves them sore, they’re very quick to come back and delayed onset muscle soreness only hangs around for two days at most.

No REAL damage

I’ve had a few instances of pain but it seems that since I switched to minimalist shoes I have nearly entirely avoided the standard repetitive stress issues we runners commonly get. The past couple years I’ve seen flare ups of IT Band Syndrome and other over-use issues and despite having run 3 to 4 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes per session for the last 7 months I have not experienced any real common runner injuries.

The Verdict

Considering I’m now running as fast as I ever have, I have no real reason to switch back to more supportive shoes. Last week I logged one of my best Half Marathon times at 1hr 41min and then a few days later I logged one of my best 5k times at 21 minutes. I’m no star athlete but I’m feeling great and getting faster so I have no intent on changing back to shoes with more support.

  • I’m not hurting myself.
  • I’m running as fast as I ever have.
  • These shoes are super friendly on my wallet.

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