Minimalist or maximalist shoes? Ace health Centre, Gold Coast

The choice of shoes nowadays is huge. Trends happen and shoe companies get on the band wagon in order to increase sales. New technologies come up and the fight for something different to set the market. In recent years we have gone from everyday running shoes, minimalist running shoes, maximalist running shoes, to energy return running shoes.  All shoes have their own good and bad points on performance and injuries. Here I will run though a few points to help you decide.

Conventional running shoes – (asics nimbus, asics kayano, minzuno inspire brooks ravena, brooks adrenaline, nike volmero, nike structure, brooks ghost)

+vs – Time proven, supportive, cheaper, less chance over use injuries

-vs – bad durability, heavier materials, 48 hour material recovery


Minimalist (vibram, nike free, inov8- Bare, brooks pure, merrell glove)

+ve – light, stable, cheap, reduced injuries in hips, knees, durable, promotes good mid-forefoot technique.

-ve – increase of scillies injuries, increase of stress fractures, increase of energy use with muscle damage due to vibration, injuries from rocks underfoot, requires specific running technique to be effective.


Maximalist (nike lunar epic, altra shoes, hoka, nike zoom fly, nike vaporfly 4%, adidas ultra boost)

+ve reduced vibration and energy lost to this, decreased load on achillies,

-ve – unstable, more chance of over use injuries due to instability, decreased durability


Energy return (brooks levetate, nike vaporfly 4%,  adidas ultra boost, adidas supernova st, adidas supernova, puma ignite)

+ve – less energy usage (nike vaporfly is the only one proven this), increased durability, decrease muscle vibration damage decreased strain on achillies, light

-ve – expensive, decreased stability, more chance of over use injuries


Conclusion – Its all down to choice. as far as I recommended as a podiatrist if you have any history of injuries or are just starting to run then stick with a conventional running shoe. If you are an experienced runner right now id go with a energy return shoe. My current running shoes are the Nike vaporfly 4% but with a fairly aggressive orthotic to counteract the instability in the shoe doe to the maxamilst amount of cushioning in it. This way I have the best of both worlds.


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