If you’ve got a new pair of minimalist running shoes, you’re best to start off slowly, according to a new study.
The study, published in Medicine & Science in Sport and Exercise, look at the risk of injury when wearing minimalist running shoes such as the Vibram FiveFinger and found that minimalist shoes can increase the incidence of bone marrow edema (sometimes called “bone bruises”) in the foot.
Researchers took 36 experienced, recreational runners and put 17 in traditional, cushioned shoes for 10 weeks, while the other 19 gradually transitioned to minimalist shoes. After taking MRIs of the runners’ feet at the beginning and end of the 10-week period, they found more runners in the minimalist group showed increases in bone marrow edema in at least one bone.
The researchers then concluded that transitioning to minimalist shoes should be done “very slowly and gradually” to avoid a potential stress injury to the foot.