Barefoot Running

OK, even by my standards this is eccentric! My first ever run on “barefoot” running shoes – the new Vibram FiveFinger “Bilika LS”. Not only was I embarrassed at the thought of being seen in them but I was worried that they might be horrible to run in and I might either get hurt or just not be able to run.

My expectations were totally off the mark – they felt great!Although I didn’t want to use a heel strike I found that with the flat shoe the foot naturally avoided landing on the heel and there was no need to try to run on the balls of the feet at all – it just happens. I had set out to run for only 5 minutes as a test but did a full 20 minutes actually running on gravel and loose stones and that was no obstacle at all. It just felt great to have the feet so light and unencumbered yet strangely safe and protected. Running felt very much more natural than in any other shoe I’ve ever worn.

No they are not ballet shoes – they are real men’s running shoes!

The biggest surprise to me was that running “barefoot” is so natural. That sounds a bit daft really because I think we should expect it to be natural. It seems that the only reason we use a heel strike when running is because we have shoes with built up heels in the first place. One thing I know for sure already is that by getting rid of the heel strike it will put and end to flipping over on the ankle and ripping then ankle tendons apart. For a long time now I’ve been sceptical about how everything is equally “ramped” to ridiculous angles in ski bindings and boots. I’m starting to think that this issue in skiing might be just as unnatural as it is in running – where the most expensive running shoes have the highest heels.

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