There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be.
- George Sheehan

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Barefoot Running Shoes"... NOT The Same as Barefoot Running!

With the popularity of minimalist shoes such as the Vibram FiveFingers, and new lines of so-called "barefoot running shoes" such as the Merrell Trail/Pace Gloves and the New Balance Minimus, there is a trend of comparing these pieces of footwear to actually being barefoot.  I am guilty of this too.  When I was running exclusively in Vibrams, I would often say I was running barefoot.  But that was before I started running truly barefoot.  So as a true barefoot runner and as someone who owns several pairs of Vibrams and racing flats, let me say this:

Running in "barefoot shoes" is NOT the same as running barefoot!

It's easy for folks in these minimalist shoes to say they're running barefoot - there is little/no support in these shoes, they're flat and very flexible.  Essentially they're just a glove for the foot to keep it protected.  However, this does not equate to running actually barefoot.  So much of running barefoot is based on the feedback one gets from skin contact with the ground.  It influences form, cadence, and impact.  These minimalist shoes don't allow for that feedback.  Sure, barefoot technique is very important in minimalist shoes because of the lack of cushion, but the two are not the same.  I can say that because I have done (and still do) both.

Bottom line: shoes are shoes.  Wearing even the most minimalistic shoe and saying you're a "barefoot runner" is misleading.

No comments:

Post a Comment