Baseball Magazine

Go Minimalist!

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

In the last few years there has been a growing trend towards minimalist and even barefoot running.  This is due to research involving the effectiveness of the technology that goes into the shoes that we wear.  Unfortunately, the results are not good.

In a nutshell, here is the theory …

Human beings are born with all the padding, support, and strength in our feet, ankles, and legs we need to run.  For millions of years, humans walked and ran without shoes.  Today, shoe companies tell us that to avoid injury, we should buy expensive shoes that provide support, stability, and padding built in.  The problem is that if shoes are providing all those things for us then the muscles, ligaments, and tendons our feet naturally have to do this stuff start to atrophy.  This is why many doctors say that our advanced technology with regards to shoes is leading to MORE injuries and not less.  They also cause us to run differently as you will see.

To correct this, many athletes are training with this in mind.  They are training barefoot or with minimalist shoes to regain the natural strength they are born with.  Currently, I have three pairs of shoes that fit this description.  Here are pictures of all three.

minimalist copy

If I were still training as a player, I would most definately be doing most of my training in these shoes.  Of course, I’m beyond that stage.  However, if it weren’t for my need to wear dress shoes to school I would never take these shoes off.  They are so incredibly comfortable because my feet are able to move more naturally.  (Actually, when I wear the ones that are on the upper left – Vibram Five Fingers – my kids don’t want to be near me but that’s a whole other issue.) 

When I cover the concept of culture in my sociology classes, I show the YouTube video below about a very primative culture in Mexico.  I hope you watch it.  You won’t believe what they do on a regular basis.  It will make you think about what we are capable of when it comes to strength and fitness if we give the body a chance to do its natural thing.  In fact, you may never look at running the same way again.  If you have more of an interest in this, check out the book Born to run by Christopher McDougall.  He makes a cameo  in the video as well.

PS: I noticed that New Balance has incorporated the minimalist idea into their line of baseball training shoes.  Check them out HERE.

Warning!  If your feet are accustomed to shoes/sneakers with cushioning, support, and stability, do not go barefoot or minimalist cold turkey.  It will take your feet and ankles time to adjust to the rigors of having to work on their own.  Ease into it and don’t let your enthusiasm hurt you!

Tomorrow’s (video) post:  Leads and snap throws to third base

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