Over the past year, I have had a lot of people ask me what I think about “barefoot running” and from what I can gather, most people are actually talking about the idea of minimalist footwear, and more specifically, the Vibram fivefinger running shoes.
My initial reaction to this idea is: yes, this makes sense… humans have been successfully traversing the Earth for millions of years without wearing shoes, and aside from that, we are learning that the bones and joints in our feet work better and feel better when they are moving, so maybe mimicking being barefoot would be a good idea. But the next thing I thought about was “yeah, but a lot has changed about the world we live in”… So much of our time is spent on the very firm surfaces of the floors in our houses and work buildings and the paved sidewalks and roads… in fact, it takes a concerted effort so spend some barefoot time on a forgiving surface. Another reason why this may not be the best idea is that most of us have been wearing some type of supportive footwear our entire lives. This means that a lot of the muscles in our lower leg and feet aren’t really up to performing for the demands of maintaining the proper structure of the foot, especially while running.
So what’s the best way to see what all the fuss is about? I am going to buy a pair! And, I am going to update this blog on a regular basis so that there is a good record of the trials, triumphs and tribulations that go along with wearing the Vibram’s fivefingers. My goal is to wear these shoes as long as they feel good and increase the amount of activity that I do in them as long as my body is responding in a positive way.
Wish me luck!