Sunday, June 14, 2009

More Barefoot stuff....

It's no wonder that so many runners get sprained ankles: the shoes they wear designed to "support" their foot deadens its natural ability to communicate, hobbling the body's ability to respond and get it out of trouble.
There is a superb and detailed article here explaining why minimal footwear is to be preferred:

Kick Your Shoes Off, Free your Feet, tell your nervous system you care

Our feet are one of the most jointed parts of our body (after the skull and the hands) and yet daily, what do we do? Lace up shoes to restrict those bones from doing what they were designed to do to support us: MOVE.

This video demonstrates more:

Same runner, same day, with no instruction given in between videos. On the left, correct nice SHOE LESS forefoot strike. On the right, incorrect, with SHOES, heel strike, braking, straining. Sneakers are designed to affect the way our foot strikes the ground, yet in this video you see it affects what we do in the air. Try this experiment yourself.


Chris - said...

It's amazing how many people miss this. I remember a few months ago, in a grad. exercise science class, one of the students gave a presentation on running related training injuries.

All her solutions revolved around heavier, more padded shoes.

When I asked if she'd ever evaluated injury rates between forefoot and heel striking she looked confused and said no.

My point isn't to single out this individual, it's that this symptomatic approach to problem solving (rather than addressing the root of the issue) appears to be endemic, including in groups that really should know better.

Rayna said...

I personally prefer running around barefoot and always have (drove my parents crazy when i was a kid). However, living in the city and often playing outside I usually don't get to run around with naked feet anymore.

Last night however the bf and I stopped to play tennis on the way home from a picnic we were at and all I had was flip flops (eek) so I decided to play barefoot and I was amazed on how much smoother I moved. No tripping, no twisted ankles, nothing. I thought that it was pretty cool and knew that going barefoot was healthier but after reading this article I'm highly considering just playing that way all the time.

Stork said...

Love it! I just moved into my parents house for the summer and they've got two dogs and live right next to a fairly substantial woodland, so you can imagine my delight :)

Only problem is it's so hard to start! I've only been out twice so far but the balls of my feet are already starting to get pretty sore. I'm hoping in a week or two they'll harden up nicely..

L. Wu said...

I alternate now between being barefoot, Vibram FiveFinger KSOs, and Nike Free 3.0v2s.

It's taken a while to strengthen my feet, but my ankles are a lot stronger and my running form has improved greatly.

Zog said...

I just got a couple pairs of Vibrams last month. For some reason people keep thinking that I'm going to ruin my arches. So far no problems, and I figure arch support wasn't invented until recently, so I doubt it is as necessary as the shoe companies would have us believe.

I've felt way safer on rough terrain and had no worries abouut turning an ankle. I put up my full Vibram review here. Thanks for helping break down the myths.

Also Chris said...

I'm rather skeptical of this. Although I can see that the foot is meant to run without a shoe, it is also meant to run on grass/dirt, not concrete/treadmills. While a shoeless foot might reduce ankle injuries, I find it hard to believe it is good for shin splints and chronic knee problems.

Chris said...

Also Chris - why is it hard to believe? Everything is connected. Ankles, knees, hips, back.