Friday, March 4, 2011

on barefoot running mechanics

barefoot running - i've been here before. the science is coming on stronger and stronger, tho not necessarily suggesting that we all toss our nikes in the trash. however, clearly there are biomechanical adjustments we make when we put our feet in thickened soled shoes. for one thing, we land harder on that part of the shoe that offers the greatest protection. that's good. asphalt is hard material. our barefoot ancestors didn't have to worry about miles and miles of rock-solid footing. of course, rocks and sticks still hurt but callous is pretty effective....if you start out walking barefoot and don't ever put on shoes. for those of us here in the States and most modern urban areas, that's not an option. but if you do get these barefoot shoes, you'll find yourself walking differently and running more naturally on the mid-foot. which is why you should progress slowly. other injuries will result from sudden changes in mechanics and foot wear, so beware.

on a personal note, having bought a pair of vibrams early this year, i have found greater comfort around the gym in them than in my new balance sneakers with orthotics. old feet and tired legs are fresher in vibrams. that said, i used to spend 4-6 hrs/day barefoot in tae kwon do class, but i was also way younger (same weight, tho.) so i have a predisposition toward this feel. you may not. do what works for you, but don't be too resistant to change when it no longer works well.

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