After reading Born to Run, my husband and I were sold on the idea of running barefoot. The promise of running impact and injury reduction was too great to ignore. One small problem: How?
Anyone who has spontaneously gone for a long run on the beach knows what happens when a normally-shod runner bares their soft soles and tries to run as fast and as far as they do in shoes. One word: Agony. The blisters, the burning calves, and the shaking (weak) sore feet are just the start. Then you have to worry about dirt, sharp objects, and looking like a castaway.
So instead of tearing up our feet, we went for the closest-to-barefoot alternative we could find. Vibram Five Fingers shoes (Sprint model). They are like toe socks crossed with a water sandal, with a flexible rubber sole. I imagine that beyond running they would also be great for kayaking, sailing, yoga, and rock climbing. Voila:
At around $80 they’re comparable to a running shoe, completely washable, and are guaranteed to draw stares. I’m not going to lie; the transition is hard on the feet and calves. I’ve spent almost 30 years wearing shoes that “support” my feet so without all the cushioning my feet feel naked and weak. And my toes miss each other.
I’ll let you know if the running injuries decrease and if my baby toes get used to not being able to roll over, curl, and hide. Would you consider wearing a pair?