Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Weird New Shoes

Just finished reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.

For anyone who loves to run, or used to love running but got sidetracked by injuries, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.

It basically takes much of the conventional wisdom regarding running shoes, aging, and running injuries, and throws it out the window. It also explains, to some degree, why ultra-marathoners can run the crazy miles they do without hurting themselves. Lastly, it pushes the idea of running barefoot as both a training tool and a general way of doing all long distance running.

But I digress, after reading the book, it inspired me to buy these bad boys.

From Storehouse

Its the Vibram Five Finger shoe. According to one of the ultra-runners in the book, the Infamous Barefoot Ted, it can give you some of the benefits of barefoot running without the dangers (broken glass, cut feet, etc.).

A running store owner in the East Bay had mentioned these very briefly to me earlier in the year. He mentioned in passing that these shoes were the only things he knew of that could fix flat feet and restore arches -- but he didn't go on about why, nor did he try to sell them to me.

After reading the book and doing some additional research on the web I decided to give them a try. My legs and feet are not holding up as well as they used to. At this point I would try almost anything that would strengthen my feet, restore my arches, and reduce injuries to my joints.

I bought them at a store in Oakland, and walked out the door with them to the BART Station, then back home to the City. It was interesting. I did get a few stares. As I sat on the BART platform waiting for the train, reading the final chapters of the McDougal book, a woman who was dressed to kill in stiletoes stopped and looked at my feet. My shoes might have been a bit much for her.

In total I've only spent an hour walking around in the shoes. My observations so far;

-Despite the thin bottoms, I didn't feel nearly as much of an impact when I walked around on hard surfaces with them.

-I could, though, tell the differences between different surfaces. Shifting from the concrete sidewalks onto the stone surfaces at the BART stations, you could feel a difference.

-You do feel the changes in the pavement -- cracks in the pavement, the safety padding on the BART platform, steel tracks for the cablecars -- but its subtle. Its not as sharp as you would think it would be.

-I love the way these things feel on my feet!

I'll have a more detailed verdict a few weeks I think. The plan for now is to get used to walking around in these things outside the office, then start using them for short runs.

That will be the point where things get harder and potentially more painful.

1 comment:

  1. I was looking into those shoes for running. I ended up going with the Nke Free to ease into the whole idea of less is more with shoes. So far I am running A LOT faster in them. I am really happy with the Free. I started out alternating them with regular shoes and my feet to get tired more quickly in the Free, but I have definitely been building up foot strength and it feels great.