Where Are All the Women in the Natural Running and Minimalist Movement? 

Emily Snayd is passionate about running and even more passionate about attracting more women to the natural running movement. Ms. Snayd heads up public relations for Merrell’s Barefoot Running. And so, starting on December 1, Merrell will host a six-week series of digitalchats that address different elements of barefoot/minimal running and fitness. As she writes on the Merrell blog:

We are women, girls, ladies. We are  runners. It is a common thread that connects many of us. We run alone to dream. We run alone to escape. We run alone just to run. We run together to chat. We run together to push each other. We run together to help each other meet goals.  We run to be healthy. 

So why are there so few women in the natural running movement? 

Sweat is beautiful and a sign of strength (I like to refer to sweat as my “liquid awesome”. Each drip a sign of strength, determination and fun.) We run to be strong, to feel healthy, so why hide our feet? Why place them in coffins that take away from any sensory feedback from the ground that makes them, and you stronger?

Strong feet equal a stronger runner. They provide us with balance, alignment and efficiency. Strong feet make the run fun.  They sense the grass, gravel and road.  In turn, these surfaces listen and feel your body as you run to meet your goals! 

Those few of us women who have made the transition to minimal and barefoot running,  feel the benefit. We relish in the strength of our bodies and our feet. We are just like any other fanatical or social runner out there, only we have less on our feet. We feel how our form has changed, and making running more efficient and enjoyable. 

So where are you girls? We want you to join our tribe or to at least be part of the conversation. What is holding you back from learning about better form and barefoot running? Is it the transition time? Is it fear of injury? It is just weird to you? 

Tune in on December 1st from 1-2 p.m. and 7-8 p.m. on our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/merrell for our first “Womenalism Chit Chat.”


4 Responses to “Where Are All the Women in the Natural Running and Minimalist Movement? ”

  1. MarkC says:


    We are with you here. i think the marketing of everything has targeted women as you are the main family purchasers. We became convinced that formula, preservatives , “low fat”, artificial sweetners, and other conveniences which moved us from natural were the ticket to health. Now we are going back to eating the plant and no kidding we have needed to produce medical evidence that breast feeding is better than a bottle. Still the formula companies have all their nice giveaways and specific formulas for fussiness.

    So lets get back to the ground and enjoy movement and living like we did as children….with nothing artificial.

    Dr. Mark

  2. Jen7 says:

    Minimalist women runners are here in Shepherdstown! We run Varied distances from 5k’s all the way to the JFK 50 miler. Several of us were talking today that we wish there were more attractive everyday minimalist alternatives other than the Mary Jane shoe. We don’t want to look like we are wearing our little girls shoes.

  3. Allison says:

    I think many women will make the transition to minimal too, but may proceed more cautiously than men. In my running club, there are quite a few ladies trying out FiveFingers but they are running only short distances or wearing them for casual wear. In other words, wading in from the shallows rather than jumping straight to the deep end.

    And I love my Mary Janes, but I agree that we need more minimalist options that are suitable to wear to work. Flats are ok but still squeeze the toes.

  4. Mya says:

    Minimalist woman here and I agree that we need more selection in footwear.
    It frustrates me to see online that the mens section will have millions of different styles while us women only have 5 (I know exaggeration, but that’s honestly how I feel), add on to the top of that the womens styles usually don’t look to good (why do men get all the good styles?) and you have yourself women that are deterred before they even try.

    Now I have been told to go with mens sizes if I want the different styles…I have small feet. 8 and 6/8 inches long actually so I fall at the short to mid range for women and will never have hope for fitting into the mens sizes.

    Fix the supply issues and more women will come

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