In the 1970s, as running experienced the first of many booms, Bill Bowerman changed the running world forever. In his basement in Oregon, United States, Bill Bowerman built shoes focused on running. He used a waffle iron to create the first Nike Racers commonly called waffle racers due to their sole pattern. The surge of Nike created an entire industry around running shoes.

Minimal Shoes

Minimalist shoes have been experiencing a surge in popularity in the previous ten years. The prominence of minimalist shoes has declined somewhat. Minimalist shoes are running shoes that are designed to be very lightweight and very thin. Ideally, they closely mimic the mechanics of running barefoot without the dangers of damage to the feet. These shoes respond to the research and belief that human beings evolved as distance running creatures.

The idea is that human beings can run for longer distances than practically any other animal on earth. However, for almost the entire history of human beings, humans have run barefoot or with very minimal coverings of the feet. The thinking is that human beings run best when barefoot. However, the creation of hard surfaces like roads and sidewalks make actually running barefoot a difficult prospect. Minimalist shoes attempt to imitate this.

Minimalist shoes are usually defined as those that have very light constructions. Also, they tend to have a zero millimetre to six millimetre drop from heel to toe.

Neutral Shoes

Neutral running shoes are oftentimes the most common kind of cheap trainers that you find online. They are the shoes that are often what you think of when you think of running shoes. They have six millimetre to twelve millimetre drops from heel to toe. They are often designed to fit the most types of feet and the most running styles. Because they are designed to fit the most people, they are oftentimes the easiest shoes to pick for someone who wants to get involved with running.

Neutral shoes come in a few varieties such as motion control and stability shoes. Motion control shoes seek to regulate how the foot moves when contacting the ground. If the foot or ankle is moving too much, the runner can experience pain from the foot all the way up to the back. Stability shoes also attempt to reduce harmful motion of the foot or ankle throughout the foot strike.

Maximalist Shoes

As the pendulum has swung from minimalist shoes, it has trended towards maximalist shoes. These shoes are designed for the most possible comfort. They are typically very thickly padded shoes and can be heavier than neutral or minimalist shoes. Though they are heavier, many swear that the shoes help them run without pain. They are oftentimes preferred by those who have had running injuries. The increased amount of cushion reduces impact stress and hopefully reduces pain. They typically have veryhigh heel to toe drops. Many of them reduce weight by reducing the weight of the upper. Many of them employ mesh and lightweight foam across the top of the shoe.