As an individual, we all have a starting point and a threshold. If we’re exercising too close to our starting point, we’re pretty much going to stay the same. If we’re exercising too intensely and beyond our threshold, we risk uncertainty, pain and setback. The goal is to find a balance between the two — to avoid the extremes. The same thinking even applies when buying sneakers.
A few years back, there was a craze around minimalist sneakers, mostly geared towards runners and fitness enthusiasts alike. These shoes are designed with little to no support, meant to mimic being barefoot. This is not a bad thing; however, it is an extreme. And when you pair extreme sneakers with extreme people, you get extreme injuries – achilles tendon ruptures, non-contact ACL tears, debilitating shin splints and the list goes on.
Given the numerous injuries with minimal support sneakers, the trend now as you can probably guess has gone to maximalist sneakers — the other extreme. Of course, this will come along with its own set of issues. The issue is not the level of sneaker support; it’s going to the extremes when things are popular and wonderfully marketed along with not truly understanding how the wrong shoe can take you past your threshold just by standing in them.
We have to anchor to our principles of movement to understand why some things work and why others don’t. If you’ve already went to both extremes, you’ve probably learned via experience which shoe is for you. If not, it’s probably somewhere in the middle.