‘Minimal’ shoes may reduce running injuries

Press Release:

Runners who wear trainers with no cushioning and land on the ball of their foot rather than the heel put significantly less demand on their bodies, new research suggests.

Researchers compared how quickly the force acts when runners’ feet hit the ground — known as the loading rate — which has been shown to influence running injury risk.

The study of 29 runners found significantly lower loading rates for those who wore so-called minimal trainers and landed on the ball of their foot, compared to people in normal running shoes, regardless of whether the latter landed on the heel or ball of the foot.

Lead author Dr Hannah Rice, of the University of Exeter, said: “So many people use running as a means of reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but about three quarters of runners typically get injured in a year.

“Footwear is easily modifiable but many runners are misguided when it comes to buying new trainers. “This research shows that running in minimal shoes and landing on the balls of your feet reduces loading rates and may therefore reduce the risk of injury.”

Running continues to grow in popularity, and research aimed at reducing the high incidence of running-related injuries has been ongoing for decades — but injury rates have not fallen.

Modern-day runners in cushioned footwear tend to land on their heel — known as a “rearfoot strike” — while those who run in the natural barefoot state are more likely to land on the ball of their foot – a “forefoot strike”.

Rearfoot strike runners experience an abrupt vertical impact force each time the foot lands on the ground. This impact force is often missing when running with a forefoot strike, but previous research has shown that forward/backwards and sideways forces can be higher with a forefoot strike, meaning the total force is similar.

Total force seems to be similar between foot strikes if wearing modern, cushioned trainers.

Dr Rice said: “This seems to suggest that, for runners in traditional, cushioned running shoes, foot strike pattern may not matter for injury risk.

“However, we suspected that the same may not be true of runners who regularly use minimal shoes, which don’t have the cushioning provided by traditional running shoes.

“Our research tells us that becoming accustomed to running with a forefoot strike in shoes that lack cushioning promotes a landing with the lowest loading rates, and this may be beneficial in reducing the risk of injury”

Any transition to new footwear or to a different foot strike pattern should be undertaken gradually, and with guidance.


Bestseller No. 1
WHITIN Men's Trail Running Shoes Minimalist Barefoot 5 Five Fingers Wide Width Size 12 Low Zero Drop Male Parkour Road Sport Toe Box Gym Workout Fitness Breathable Beach Black Gum 45
  • Padded rear collar pad for achilles comfort.
  • 5 mm POWER FOOTBED for underfoot cushioning.
  • Engineered knit upper for a sock-like fit and flexible feel.
  • Zero-drop, non-elevated sole for proper posture and balance.
  • Sticky-grip rubber outsole combines grip, traction, and durability for trail-ready performance.
SaleBestseller No. 2
WHITIN Men's Minimalist Barefoot Trail Running Shoes Size 11 Wide Width Toe Box Minimus Workout Low Zero Drop Cross Trainer Lifting Sneakers Black 44
  • A wide toe box lets your toes spread and relax.
  • Produced using animal free products and processes.
  • Removable sockliner (insole) if you want a “more barefoot” feeling.
  • True rubber sole provides great protection while still getting the ground feedback.
  • Note, if between sizes, order next size down
Bestseller No. 3
Mens Wide Toe Box Zero Drop Road Running Shoes Width Zapatos De Correrfor Male Size 9.5 Stability Gym Sports Walking Workout Tennis Athletic Grey 43
  • A wide toe box lets your toes spread, splay, relax, and function naturally.
  • Zero Drop design allows for proper posture, and it's built low to the ground for balance and agility.
  • Soft mesh upper and lining provides a breathable and more comfortable interior fit.
  • EVA midsole provides lightweight cushioning and adaptive energy return for serious stability and shock absorption.
  • Durable rubber outsole provides the perfect combination of grip, traction, and durability on all types of terrain.
Bestseller No. 4
WHITIN Men's Extra Wide Width Barefoot Minimalist Shoes Zero Drop Trail Running Hiking Sneaker Cross Training Walking Gym Workout Lifting Black Gum 44
  • Spacious forefoot allows for natural foot movement and toe splay to empower your stride.
  • The trail-specific mesh with supportive overlays locks your foot into place and protects from debris.
  • Additional padding around the ankle collar also feels softer and locks down the heel more securely.
  • Wrap-around TPU overlays with braided fishing line the lateral sides offer an excellent combination of speed and stability.
  • Grippy rubber soles with 3mm trail lug pattern provide reliable grip on adventures without sacrificing ground feedback.
Bestseller No. 5
Merrell J067207 Mens Running Shoes Vapor Glove 5 Boulder US Size 11M
  • Mesh and TPU upper
  • 100% recycled laces
  • Stretch collar makes it easy to put on and take off
  • 40% recycled mesh lining
  • EVA foam insole with 100% recycled top layer
SaleBestseller No. 6
WHITIN Women's Low Zero Drop Shoes Minimalist Barefoot Trail Running Camping Size 8.5 Wide Toe Box Female Lady Fitness Workout Sneaker Tennis Black 39
  • Produced using animal free products and processes.
  • Zero-drop, non-elevated sole for proper posture and balance.
  • Removable sockliner (insole) if you want a "more barefoot" feeling.
  • Designed with a wider than average toe box to allow the forefoot to spread.
  • True rubber sole provides great protection while still getting the ground feedback.
Bestseller No. 7
MIFAWA Barefoot Shoes Men Zero Drop Shoes Men Toe Shoes for Men Minimalist Shoes for Men Mens Water Shoes Mens Workout Shoes Men's Cross-Trainer Mens Athletic Hiking Water Shoes Men Black/Red
  • 【Zero drop】Zero Drop, non-elevated sole place the forefoot and heel flat on the ground to allows the feet , putting the feet in a neutral position and naturally adjusting the posture of the feet, back and body posture. Ensures proper posture and reduces stress on joints.
  • 【Wide toe box】Barefoot shoes are designed with a wider than average toe box to provides ample space for toes a more active fit that allows your toes to splay into their natural posture,spreading and relaxing your forefoot.
  • 【Removable insole】Our hike barefoot shoes men's Removable cushioned insoles is designed to support the arch of the foot and reduce the stress on the joints.if you want a "more barefoot" feeling,remove the insole for a better feel of the ground.
  • 【Rubber outsole】Flexible, non-slip, wear-resistant rubber sole with steady grip and stability,provides excellent protection for your feet and enables your feet’s a full range of motion,bringing an extraordinary barefoot feeling.
  • 【Multiple Occasions】Our men's cross-trainer shoes are perfect for indoor and outdoor activities, such as gym workout, running, walking, cross training, hiking, weightlifting, wrestling, trail running, beach, squats, fishing, boating, jogging, camping, etc.
SaleBestseller No. 8
WHITIN Men's Wide Barefoot Shoes Minimalist Fashion Sneakers Size 12.5 Walking Trail Road Running Training Breathable Tennis Wide Toe Tox Sports Gym Grey Gum 46
  • Feature a wide toe box and decent support for walking, non-binding fit.
  • Built-in removable insoles of soft foam "sheathe your feet in barefoot feel".
  • The barefoot fit brings natural mobility and holistic foot and ankle strength.
  • Lightweight and ultra-breathable mesh uppers keep your feet cool and comfortable.
  • Made for serious comfort on amphibious adventures, the WHITIN shoes balance flexibility and reliable grip.
Bestseller No. 9
Xero Shoes Barefoot Shoes for Men | Prio Running Shoes for Men | Zero Drop, Minimalist, Wide Toe Box, Lightweight | Lunar, Size 13
  • UNPARALLELED COMFORT — Experience life-changing barefoot shoes comfort with the Prio's minimalist design. The Prio men's running shoes are designed to be your go-to gym workout shoes for every activity, ensuring you'll never want to take them off. Your feet will thank you after every run, workout, or trail exploration.
  • ULTIMATE MINIMALIST DESIGN — Discover the magic of the Prio's trail running shoes for men minimalist zero-drop sports construction. It's not just an exercise men's sneaker; it's a lifestyle choice for those who crave freedom and protection in every step.
  • VERSATILITY REDEFINED — From light trail running to intense weightlifting or CrossFit, the Prio is your all-in-one solution. Its durable design, secured with Huarache sandal-inspired straps, makes it the ideal companion for various outdoor activities. Embrace versatility in every step.
  • BAREFOOT FREEDOM — Feel the ground beneath you with the Prio's optional 3mm insole, offering a customizable "barefoot feel." Embrace natural motion, natural fit, and natural feel in every stride.
  • CHOOSE YOUR PERFECT FIT — The Prio offers a natural fit, complemented by a wide toe box. With a 5,000-mile sole warranty, it's a durable investment in your active lifestyle. Embrace the barefoot wide toe box shoes feel, customize your comfort, and take on any challenge with the Men's Prio Running and Fitness Shoes. Your feet will thank you.
Bestseller No. 10
XIHALOOK Wide Toe FiveFingers Shoes for Water Aerobics Beach Boating Swimming Barefoot for Women Beige Yellow, 7.5 Women/6 Men
  • STRETCH MATERIAL: The flexible upper with stretch breathable ultra light weight fabric for fast draining and cross ventilation, skin-friendly, perfect wrap your feet.
  • DURABLE AND SOLID RUBBER SOLE: Excellent anti slip rubber sole with a special pattern provides strong secure traction to prevent slipping in the wild and protect the soles of your feet against broken coral, shells and rocks.
  • WIDE TOE BOX DESIGN: Wide enough toe boxes provide more comfort and stability. Anti-collision shoe toes will effectively your feet from getting hurt by rock and stone, provide you better security in outdoor activities.
  • ELASTIC BAND DESIGN: The elastic-shoelace with locking mechanisms can quickly adjust the loose, and elastic shoes neckline allows you easy to put on and take off.
  • OCCASION: The water shoes are the most appropriate companion for different outdoor sports, such as hiking, sailing, diving, windsurfing, kayaking, water aerobics, jogging, fishing, walk dogs, washing cars, gym workouts. With these shoes, you can enjoy the happiness and comfort that sports bring to you.

I get commissions for purchases made through links on this website. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.