Minimalist Shoes Make a Difference for Runners

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COLUMBIA- It's kick off for spring time, and that means a flurry of feet from many runners across Mid-Missouri.

August Kryger is running too, but with different footwear.

"I bought a pair of Vibram five fingers shoes and figured out I could several miles without knee pain," minimalist runner August Kryger said.

Today he wear sandals and doesn't feel pain in his reconstructed knee.

Minimalist shoes force runners to land on the front of their feet, which reduces the about of impact on each stride. But they don't necessarily reduce the chance of injury.

The switch isn't easy though--runners using minimalist shoes for the first time should expect some pain.

Kryger says it takes a few weeks to see the full benefits of minimalist shoes.

"You're waking up muscles that probably haven't been used since you were a child," Kryger said. "So it takes a long time to transition from running with standard shoes to a more minimalist approach."

Hitting the ground running with minimalist shoes will likely increase your chance of injury.

Runner David Winarski doesn't wear minimalist shoes when he runs, but still likes the idea.

"If you can acclimate your feet appropriately and wear a minimalist type shoe all the time, then it's probably a better idea," Winarski said.

In a way this is a Cinderella story--the shoe that works best is the one that fits.