I attended a great conference put on by Saucony, “Step into Minimalism”. I listened to some fabulous speakers, and as always, tried to learn a few things. One of the questions asked of the panel of experts, Michael Sandler (barefoot runner and author), Jack Daniels, PhD (Olympian, exercise physiologist, coach extraordinaire) and Marybeth Crane, DPM (podiatrist, runner) was if they thought minimalist running was a fad or a trend. Ironically, I answered this same question just last week in an interview. The consensus is that this is certainly a trend, which is the opinion I share as well. The ground swell is too large right now and the buying trends of the running public are guiding the way. However, the ultimate question is if this trend is a good thing? My answer is without a doubt, YES!
Why so emphatic? It gets people at least thinking again about our basic design, the human form and human motion. Dr. Daniels said it so eloquently at the conference (paraphrased here): “Parents spend the early years of their child’s life asking them to run around, play, be happy, and take their shoes off. Once they get to school, we then tell them to put their shoes on, sit down, shut up and listen!” That thinking goes hand in hand with my guiding principle in that children have all the answers, and adults end up messing them up. Life is about using our bodies and our minds in the ways they were intended, before being changed and altered by shoes, chairs, sitting and especially the stressful poison of adult worries that seep into our heads.