Monday, June 15, 2009

Barefoot debate?

The whole barefoot debate also goes on in the realm of hillwalking and backpacking. Or at least a debate about the value of simple, minimal footwear.

There the argument is between boots and trail shoes. As I pointed out last week, some people say that you need heavy stiff boots to protect your feet and ankles while other say that heavy stiff boots are actually dangerous since they interfere so much with your natural gait.

Martin's excellent blog had an interesting post on this recently. Make sure you read the comments - there are some fascinating insights.

Built to run, Built to walk

So run with a friend carrying a tent between you and all your kit one weekend in Inov-8 310s and wildcamp on the route and say you’re training for a mountain marathon and no one on the hills will bat an eyelid. Do the same route walking in the same kit and call it backpacking and you’ve crossed some unknown safety line and are using the wrong footwear. You’re risking twisting a ankle, breaking a leg. “You’re just wrong”


L. Wu said...

I think of it as a tradeoff. Health vs Performance, risks of Acute vs Chronic Injury.

With minimal footwear, you will be healthier unless you suffer acute injuries for some reason. With heavy gear, you might perform better for the short term, but you risk chronic injuries in the long term.

Health vs Performance? They're not the same :)

Rayna said...

As much as I love my naked feet, I personally have to wear very supportive hiking boots when covering a lot of distance on uneven terrain.

Probably a product of years and years of improper footwear but after having stress fractures in both feet I don't really see any other option. I've tried my "light" trail runners but ended up postponing the recovery process.