As I’ve been running more — due to living near a trail-lined park, training for a half marathon and just in general catching the bug — I’ve been thinking more about sneakers. My last several pairs have been purchased on the discount rack at DSW, chosen because of their color (purple) or picked because I recognized the brand.

I’ve thought a lot about going to a running specialty store and having my stride analyzed. I think I may overpronate (roll my foot too far inward when I land) and with all these extra miles I’m logging, doesn’t it make sense to spend some extra $$ on a quality, custom-fit shoe?

I think these were about $30

But this year a smattering of studies has suggested otherwise. I’ve casually followed the debates (I monitor sports medicine news as part of my job) and I’m starting to think that maybe what I need want is a pair of minimalist shoes — or maybe just to revert back to the bargain pairs on the rack.

In January came a study showing that barefoot runners may injure themselves less than those wearing special cushioned shoes because they land more naturally, on the balls of their feet. It does make sense — people were made to run and sneakers are a recent development.

Then just the other day came reports of three recent studies that found no relationship between wearing the “right” shoes and avoiding injury. Injury rates were in fact higher among people wearing shows specific to their foot type. Researchers concluded that no one really knows what it is about a person’s stride that may lead to injury.

All very interesting info…but I’m still at a loss. And still really intrigued by minimalist sneakers.

Has anyone ever tried minimalist shoes? What’s your take on the sneaker debate?

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