• Injury Status Cured
  • Chronicity 6-18 Months

Treatment Ratings

    Supportive Shoes
    Ice, Rest, Compression, Proper Running Form

I'm not saying that minimalist shoes get rid of shin splints, but my personal experience was that my shin splints went away when I switched to them, and they haven't come back even as I transitioned back to more cushioned shoes a few years ago.

I started running in 06, developed pretty debilitating shin splints by late 07 and over the next year went to several different specialty running stores to get fitted for more and more cushioned (and expensive) shoes. My shin splints got worse. I tried ice baths, compression wraps, trying to change my stride, dramatically cutting back my running volume, etc.

In 08 I read a post on Reddit making fun of the way VFFs looked and saw a few comments by people saying they had fixed their shin splints. By that point I was desperate and willing to try anything. Bought a pair (cheapest running shoes I ever bought until I discovered cross country shoes years later) and within three months my shin splints were gone. The only time they ever came back was when I misplaced them a year later and did a brisk 7 miles in an old pair of aggressively cushioned shoes.

I have no idea how or why it worked, or if it will work for other people. I do know that:
The VFFs were extremely punishing to me as a heel striker and I quickly became a mid-foot striker.

My pace slowed down considerably when I transitioned, as my feet were now the most sore part of my running anatomy and took a while to acclimate.

My volume decreased significantly at first, for the same reason.

I have long since stopped running in VFFs, switching to progressively less minimalist shoes as the years have gone by, though I do still trail run in cross country shoes. I think I've found that for me personally the less toe drop in the shoe the better, but about 8 to 10 mm of cushion is pretty nice for those long road runs.

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