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ACSM is fortunate to be the go-to source on sports medicine and exercise science for several national and international media outlets. You can find some of our most recent coverage below, or you can view archived articles.  

Less is More in Latest Footwear Trends

by User Not Found | Aug 01, 2011
Barefoot running, toning shoes among the top five footwear trends

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Today’s hottest footwear trends are leaning toward minimalism, according to an expert presenting today at the American College of Sports Medicine's 15th-annual Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition.

Matt Werd, D.P.M., FACSM identified the five hottest trends in athletic footwear:

  • Barefoot running. Some runners believe running sans shoes forces a more natural running pattern. Research shows that barefoot runners do land more on the midfoot and forefoot versus shod runners; however, it is unclear which foot-landing pattern, if any, is best for avoiding injuries.
  • Minimalist athletic shoes. These extremely lightweight, low-profile shoes offer the natural running pattern of barefoot running but provide more coverage of the foot.
  • Toning shoes. Shoe manufacturers claim the unstable and highly curved outsole of these shoes activates more leg muscles than flat-soled shoes. The shoes’ instability may encourage more muscle expenditure, but they could also be harmful to those without adequate feeling in their feet, such as diabetics with neuropathy.
  • Compression socks. Encouraging better blood flow and limiting blood pooling in the calves, these tight-fitting socks help improve circulation and muscle oxygenation.
  • Recovery shoes. These shoes and sandals feature added support to comfort feet after a long workout. Easy to slip on and off, recovery shoes are all about helping your tired feet feel good.

Werd, who is past-president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, stressed that appropriate athletic footwear is key to injury prevention and enhanced performance. Trendy does not always equal safe when it comes to footwear. A quick transition from wearing traditional shoes to ones that are minimalist will likely increase the risk of injury.

“A push for more athletes to train barefoot or in minimalist shoes has created considerable excitement among shoe companies but also considerable caution among sports-medicine professionals,” said Werd. “Research has not yet proven which type of footwear or running gait is best at preventing injuries, so I discourage a rapid transition to minimalist footwear.”

Shoe fit and comfort are the most important considerations in footwear. Other variables to consider include foot type, biomechanics, past experiences and type of sport or activity.

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The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 40,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

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