Sunday, September 6, 2009

Oh, my naked feet

I've brought this up before, but the evidence continues to trickle in. Those space age sneakers are not, perforce, a good thing.
Recent research suggests that for all their high-tech features, modern running shoes may not actually do much to improve a runner’s performance or prevent injuries. Some runners are convinced that they are better off with shoes that are little more than thin gloves for the feet — or with no shoes at all.
And statistics do not necessarily favor the shoe.
But for all the technological advances promoted by the industry — the roll bars, the computer chips and the memory foam — experts say the injury rate among runners is virtually unchanged since the 1970s, when the modern running shoe was introduced. Some ailments, like those involving the knee and Achilles’ tendon, have increased.
I've been running barefoot on a treadmill for years, but for outdoors, I've been considering the fivefingers since they came out (at the time I was a member of an online barefoot runner's group and the cool new shoes caused quite the buzz*). What's been stopping me so far is the fact that anything on my feet makes. them. so. HOT. Plus, I've pretty much been ok with just sticking to the treadmill.

But this summer, I really wanted to do a bit of running while I was on vacation and had to run outside. The ground was either too hot or the terrain too rocky to go barefoot. I tried wearing running shoes and it was awful (like trying to run on a mattress and my feet were suffocating the whole time). I couldn't wait to tear those shoes off! I also tried running in sandals and that was just sort of clunky. Next year, I'll be prepared with something better.

*the buzz was both positive and negative. There were barefoot runners who were tired of cuts and bruises on their feet who excitedly embraced the idea, but also some purists who did not approve at all -- "but, that's not being barefoot!" For all I know, the debate is still raging (I left the group after a controversy erupted over one member's proselytizing).

(this is a repeat photo)


Keera said...

The classic Five Fingers is a pretty open shoe. Do they have some kind of money-back guarantee? Perhaps buy a pair used on eBay or something?

alice said...

I'm thinking about the Sprint -- it's open like the Classic, but I think I like the idea of that strap across the foot providing a bit more security (that way these things might also work in a light surf). There's a store in town that carries these shoes, so I might go by and try some on. There's no big hurry, though, since for now I'm fine just running on the treadmill.

I'm intrigued, too, by the Flow, as it raises the possibility of running in cold/inclimate weather. It never gets all that cold here, though, so I needn't bother unless I'm going to do some winter traveling.

Keera said...

Definitely go try! I'm so curious! :-)

Kenmon said...

This guy is running naked footed.

alice said...

Keera, it's on the list, next time I'm over on that part of town!

Kenmon, that is a very cool site. I'll definitely be following along!

Five Fingers On My Feet! at 10,000 Monkeys and a Camera said...

[...] not in the house yet. They came up in another post and yesterday was the first chance I’ve had to pop over to the North Shore and try some on. [...]

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