Newswise — Minimalist shoes are a new commercially available athletic footwear now gaining strong popularity among both road and off-road runners. Scientists have observed a better running economy (i.e. reduced oxygen uptake for a given speed) in runners wearing minimalist shoes during exercises lasting less than 10 minutes. In this study, the investigators examined the effects of minimalist versus conventional shoes on running economy before and after an 11.5 mile trail run in traditionally shod runners. The findings indicated no metabolic advantage of wearing minimalist footwear after trail running where substantial changes in foot strike pattern, calf pain or mechanical behavior were observed only in the minimalist condition. Although the metabolic benefit of wearing minimalist footwear is evident in the non-fatigued condition, future studies should examine whether these benefits are maintained with fatigue in experienced minimalist trail runners.

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