Friday, August 26, 2011

Going Barefoot?

With the rage and interest in the ‘barefoot’ running movement and all the launches of ‘barefoot’ running shoes from the major sports companies like Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Vibram, Merrell, the running community is getting all excited and keen to jump into the minimalist bandwagon. I too, have recently started to look at these ‘barefoot’ and minimalist offerings to see what they can do for us mere mortals, and how we could bring the best of the barefoot solutions to our runners.

It is beginning to show that going totally ‘barefoot’ is not a viable option for most of us, not in our concrete jungles for sure…even in the nature of trails and forests, going unshod (without shoes) is a risky and dangerous proposition for our pampered feet. However, much can be learned from understanding what benefits can be gained from running barefoot (there are already lots of literature propounding this), and how we can properly harness the advantages for our own performance enhancements and gain more years of injury-less running.

New Balance Minimus Trail (MT10)

To gain a better understanding, I will be trial-ing some of these new offerings from popular barefoot running shoes such as Vibram FiveFingers, New Balance Minimus, and a host of others which can be found at Birthday and other popular minimalist running websites and blogs.

I view these ‘barefoot’ & minimalist shoes not as an outright replacement of our cushioned racers and trainers, but more of a ‘weapon’ or ‘utility’ to our arsenal, to help develop us into better forefoot/midfoot runners (with a lot less heel-striking), leading to less injuries and more training days, eventually resulting in enhanced performances and increments to our running lifetimes.

Vibram FiveFingers Komodo Sport (KS)

Many of these barefoot running companies offer shoes which have one or more of the following ingredients to make our journey into the world of barefoot running safe and rewarding:
- encourage proper running form (with mid-forefoot strike).
- minimize running related injuries
- taking a gradual, progressive transition from cushion shoes to minimalist and barefoot shoe
- proper use and training guide

Vibram FiveFingers (Step-By-step Guide), New Balance (Good Running Form) and Merrell (Barefoot Training) have useful information on the aspects of good form running and making the proper transition. The other barefoot running companies too will have similar information and training programs and advisories for transitioning to barefoot running if they are to be taken seriously.

As I try out some of these barefoot offerings in the coming months, I will take a gradual approach to savor and sense every session of running with these shoes. I aim to have fun with them on my maiden ‘minimalist’ running voyage.

Related Posts with Thumbnails


Post a Comment

<< Home