Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2015) 14, 643 - 647

Research article
The Effect of Training in Minimalist Running Shoes on Running Economy
Sarah T. Ridge1, , Tyler Standifird2, Jessica Rivera1, A. Wayne Johnson1, Ulrike Mitchell1, Iain Hunter1
Author Information
1 Department of Exercise Sciences, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA
2 Department of Exercise Science and Outdoor Recreation, Utah Valley University, UT, USA

Sarah T. Ridge
✉ 116B RB Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA
Publish Date
Received: 04-04-2015
Accepted: 23-06-2015
Published (online): 11-08-2015
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The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of minimalist running shoes on oxygen uptake during running before and after a 10-week transition from traditional to minimalist running shoes. Twenty-five recreational runners (no previous experience in minimalist running shoes) participated in submaximal VO2 testing at a self-selected pace while wearing traditional and minimalist running shoes. Ten of the 25 runners gradually transitioned to minimalist running shoes over 10 weeks (experimental group), while the other 15 maintained their typical training regimen (control group). All participants repeated submaximal VO2 testing at the end of 10 weeks. Testing included a 3 minute warm-up, 3 minutes of running in the first pair of shoes, and 3 minutes of running in the second pair of shoes. Shoe order was randomized. Average oxygen uptake was calculated during the last minute of running in each condition. The average change from pre- to post-training for the control group during testing in traditional and minimalist shoes was an improvement of 3.1 ± 15.2% and 2.8 ± 16.2%, respectively. The average change from pre- to post-training for the experimental group during testing in traditional and minimalist shoes was an improvement of 8.4 ± 7.2% and 10.4 ± 6.9%, respectively. Data were analyzed using a 2-way repeated measures ANOVA. There were no significant interaction effects, but the overall improvement in running economy across time (6.15%) was significant (p = 0.015). Running in minimalist running shoes improves running economy in experienced, traditionally shod runners, but not significantly more than when running in traditional running shoes. Improvement in running economy in both groups, regardless of shoe type, may have been due to compliance with training over the 10-week study period and/or familiarity with testing procedures.

Key words: Footwear, training, oxygen consumption

           Key Points
  • Running in minimalist footwear did not result in a change in running economy compared to running in traditional footwear prior to 10 weeks of training.
  • Both groups (control and experimental) showed an improvement in running economy in both types of shoes after 10 weeks of training.
  • After transitioning to minimalist running shoes, running economy was not significantly different while running in traditional or minimalist footwear.
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