More and more athletes are trying women’s running shoes with toes. Have you seen runners or non-runners in your local community sporting shoes that look more like socks? Running toe shoes were developed to envelope each toe in its own pocket much like socks. This was created to allow runners and athletes to feel more natural during physical activity while still allowing some protection from the ground below.
When toe shoes first hit the market, many non-runners picked them up because they were different and stylish. Many realized quite quickly that they didn’t like the feel of the shoes, and with time the style played out for those who weren’t physically active. Many runners still prefer toe shoes over other types of running shoes, but you have to determine whether they fit your running needs or not.
Determining whether you should try toe shoes is complicated because what one runner sees as a disadvantage to this type of shoe will seem like an advantage to another. It all comes down to what you are trying to achieve with your running and how much support and structure you want your shoe to offer.
Most runners who wear toe shoes want the natural feel of running barefoot with some protection from rocks, glass and other debris encountered during a run. Very few runners want to hit the streets or trails without any protection for their feet, so minimalistic or barefoot shoes offer slight protection without going overboard with support or control over the feet.
If you want to maintain complete control of your feet and have the sense of running without corrections from your shoe, then you may enjoy running in toed shoes. You may also enjoy these shoes if you need something that is incredibly lightweight and flexible for maximum movement of your foot. These shoes are also quite stylish, so you may turn a few heads and raise a few questions if you wear your shoes out in public.
While some runners want to feel like they are braving the world naturally, others need as much support and cushioning as they can get. If you know that your feet over or underpronate or you have weak ankles, you may want your shoes to provide motion control or exceptional support. You may want extra padding in the arch of your foot because you know that you have a tremendously high arch. You won’t get any of those benefits with a minimalist toed running shoe.
Since the goal of these shoes is to provide minimal protection while allowing your feet to feel natural, you won’t get any motion control. You will get very little padding, so don’t expect layers of foam or other comfort materials. Protection for your toes is kept to a minimum as well, so you aren’t protected if you kick something hard during a run.
The lack of support and cushioning in a minimalist running shoe is either seen as an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your running goals and the needs of your feet. Before you make a final decision on whether you want to use these shoes, consider the option to use both a toed shoe and a standard running shoe.
Many runners rotate running shoes with the right amount of cushioning and support for their feet structure with toed minimalistic running shoes. When the running terrain is safe for the minimalist shoes and they want to feel carefree, they go with their toed shoes. When they put in an intense run or take off on rocky terrain, they slip into something with more protection and support. You will work different muscles when wearing your toed shoes than when wearing other shoes, so there may be a training advantage to rotating.
You may also find that running shoes with toes are comfortable for everyday wear. You also may not like the way they feel at all. That is why it is always a good idea to try them on in a store before you purchase online.
If you aren’t used to running in minimalist shoes, it’s always a good idea to ease into toed running shoes. Start by only running in your new toed shoes for 1 mile and then increase the mileage slowly each week. This will ensure a smooth transition and will reduce the chance of injuries.