Minimalist Running for the Obese Person

by Regi_B

I put off minimalist shoes for a year. What happened? A year later, I was still fat and really ready to run in them.

I thought I was too fat for minimalist -- "barefoot" -- running shoes. In fact, I was just right! Now, I run four hours a week, I have lost weight -- and am still losing -- and I am training to run my first marathon!

Are You too Fat for Minimalist Shoes?

Today, I really think anybody who can run is someone who can run in minimalist shoes. I am not a pediatrist, nor any kind of expert on the human body. All I can speak from is my own experience.

My Experience as a Fat Guy Running in Minimalist Shoes

And my experience is that minimalist shoes work -- even for a guy like me, who was 300 lbs. when I started running in them. I have been running -- semi-regularly -- for years. I used to always buy very cushioned running shoes -- the kind that emphasize a heel-strike running stride.

Minimalist shoe running relies on a ball-strike running stride. It takes a couple of weeks to get used to it -- and the going is slow at first, with leg muscles developing, and learning to watch where you step.-- but getting into "barefoot running" in minimalist shoes really pays off in less strain on the joints and shins.

I ran an hour just last night -- about six miles -- and this morning, I feel great!

Who Needs those "Marshmallow Shoes"?

The short answer is -- nobody. That is my gut feeling. Still, I think a person who is trying to come back from morbid obesity (and not able to run) may have a hard time starting out in minimalist shoes. Once you get your weight down some, and feel comfortable running, I think you too can run in minimalist shoes.

What Kind of Minimalist Running Shoes Are Right for Larger People?

I really love running in my Merrell Barefoot Gloves. Once you build up the muscles that minimalist running employs, I think you would love running in Merrell's minimalist shoes, too!

Merrell Barefoot Gloves

Merrell Women's Vapor Glove 3 Trail Runner

Trail running shoe

Merrell Women's Glove 4 Trail Runner

Trail running shoe

Merrell Women's Trail Glove 5 Sneaker

Created by studying the foot in motion, this trainer is designed to enhance the foot’s natural ability to stabilize the body during Rapid changes in movement.


Is Minimalist Running for You?

I know that some see the barefoot running trend as just that -- a trend. I think minimalist ("barefoot") running is here to stay. Everyone has to make their own choice about whether they will give this "trend" a try. It is not a gimmick. People are experiencing running with less body stress and less pain.

I know you may be worried about how different minimalist running is. You may be worried that "paying attention to where you step" sounds like a "chore" while you are running. Once you learn it, it is no big deal -- it's like walking and chewing gum.

I love this style of running, and I will never go back to "conventional" running shoes. Minimalist running is giving me new stamina, and new hope.

Give it a try! Perhaps, you will find new hope, too!

More on Minimalist Running by Regi B.

Minimalist Running -- The New Way to Run
Here is everything you will likely need to know to get you started with running "barefoot".

The Best Shoes for Minimalist Running
Get my take on the ideal shoes for "running barefoot".

What Are the Best Minimalist Shoes for Overweight People Like Us to Use for Running?
This is a post on my weight loss blog, -- a place for people like us to tell "war stories" about weight loss.

Updated: 01/27/2012, Regi_B
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Regi_B on 01/29/2012

Hey Rose. I like your question.

At this time, I am still on my weight loss journey, and I weigh over 275 pounds, yet I regularly put in six-mile runs on pavement, wearing Merrell True Glove minimalist running shoes. While I am not totally without running pain, I can tell you that I only feel about 10% of the pain I used to feel when I ran in conventional shoes. That is a huge improvement!

I like to trail run as well, and when I would do that in conventional shoes, I still had shin splints and nagging pain in my legs.

I can tell you that the foot-strike makes a big difference in my experience. In minimalist running we put the ball of our foot down first, instead of the heel. This makes for reduced impact, and it enables the arch of the foot to do what it is supposed to and absorb some of the shock of the foot strike.

(Of course, I am no doctor. I am just speaking from my own experience.)

Rose on 01/28/2012

Does it make a difference what type of surface you run on? My feeling is that the pain and stress of running is as much down to running on hard pavement as it is down to the shoe.

Indeed barefoot running on grass or sand is probably the safest form of running - the only problem is that unless you live near a beach or clean park it's impossible for most of us to do.

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