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This historical monument was the finish line for the 1960 Rome Olympic marathon where Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia won the race barefoot.
Did I mention barefoot?
Running barefoot has its benefits, and today’s running shoe with all that padding and protection can sometimes do more hard than good.
Look at your sprint spikes – super light with ZERO padding. At 12 meters per second maximum velocity, you would expect a lot of pounding and damage, but the opposite is true… you appear smooth as a gazelle.
Why can’t this theory apply to distance running?
Personally, I believe in some barefoot running, especially after the workout in the cool down, for proprioception benefits. In addition, uphill barefoot running on sand dunes helps strengthens the calves and Achilles. In an ideal world, you live next to beaches and sand dunes!
But back home, watch out for broken glass and dog feces! In Vancouver, it’s mostly geese excrement on the infield.
On the beach, I like to run barefoot on the hard part of the sand – the part where the water meets the sand. No shoes required! On a Sunday morning 20 minute run, simply run 10 minutes out and back!
Vibram FiveFingers – More than Rockports
On the flip side, I am also a big fan of Vibram soles as I’ve been wearing Rockport shoes for the last 25 years. If you’ve seen me in a suit and tie, chances are I am wearing Rockport dress shoes.
Enter the Vibram FiveFingers Sprint for Men and Women.
These shoes are where barefoot meets the running shoe.
At first they look like rock climbing shoes, but upon closer inspection, the toes are separated like a glove!
Blisters aside, the most common complaint from these “shoes” are sore calves and the occasional tender arches.
If you are sceptical about barefoot running, or if your running trails are filthy, try the Vibram FiveFingers.
I would first jog on the grass infield, then progress to a runner track, and finally try concrete or asphalt. But if you have access to trails and parks, I would run on those surfaces anytime.
Personally, you will find the traditional heel-toe mechanics too harsh for your body, especially if you are a heavy runner, and thus a more natural landing path will be the balls of your feet… not the toes! Ironically, that’s how a sprinter runs!
In other words, without artificial support, your body will adjust to the most natural and efficient mechanism.
The other most common pet peeve with the Vibram FiveFingers is “half sizes” are hard to find. It’s like the old joke… half of the men in America are wearing the wrong underwear size because they sell them in even multiples..30, 32, 34, 36, etc. So what happens if you are a size 29, 31, 33, 35?
At the end of the day, your mileage may vary. Seriously.
Vibram FiveFingers Available at Amazon and other fine stores