If you’ve been out running recently or working out in the gym you may have spotted some odd people wearing these strange shoes that look like feet.
My name is Heidi and I’m one of those odd people!
There is some reasoning behind the apparent madness and barefoot runners have had great success in my private coaching classes.
I’ll explain what it’s all about in this blog post but first let’s take a good look at them.
These are Vibram FiveFingers and they are not like other running shoes. For a start when you first catch sight of them you are probably going to think they are the most ugly sneakers you have ever seen.
In time you can learn to love them. Nowadays I actually think my Vibrams look pretty cool.
So why are people wearing these shoes that look like feet?
It’s quite simple really and once you have experienced the benefits of barefoot running shoes you might be asking yourself why people are still wearing big heavy cushioned regular running shoes.
Wait a second… did you just say barefoot running shoes? That doesn’t make sense!
Yes indeed I did.
Vibrams and other shoes that look like feet like the terrible Fila Skele-toes (don’t buy them they are rubbish) are shoes that are designed to replicate the feeling of running without shoes.
The human foot is a remarkable feat (get it?) of biological engineering. It’s incredibly complex and the configuration of all the bones, joints, tendons and sensory receptors is designed to help us walk, run, jump and play.
For millions of years humans did all their walking, running, hunting and foraging without the assisance of Nike’s or Reeboks. Modern running shoes are a very recent invention and have only really been around for the blink of an eye in the history or the human race.
When people run with a padded sole they tend to land heel first slamming their foot down against the sidewalk, time and time again sending shocks through the legs.
This leads to aches and pains and injuries. In comparision when people run barefoot they don’t land on their heel (cos it would bloody well hurt!) they land on the front of their feet and use the complex structure of the foot to gently reduce the impact on their body.
Of course, when you run barefoot you might still stand on a sharp stone or a peice of glass and barefoot running shoes that look like feet are designed to protect against that.
They have very thin minimal soles and are very lightweight. Vibram FiveFingeres are designed to allow your toes to get involved in the running action and that’s why they look like feet. Of course if you have been running in regular shoes for a long time the muscles in your feet will not be strong.
For that reason when you switch to barefoot running you need to ease into it gently allowing time for the foot muscules to gain strength and do the job they were designed to do. That’s why I created my Run With Nature fitness guide to help people transition to natural barefoot running.
I hope that makes things a little clearer for you and those people in the park seem a little less wierd 🙂
Often our kids want to be just like mum or dad, especially if you tell him that mum’s shoes help her run like a cavewoman.
My little one year old is only 1 but in preparation I went looking to see what were the best barefoot shoes for kids.
I think the same principles that make barefoot shoes good for adults apply for kids as well and I see no reason why we should be wrapping kids feet in big clunky shoes unless they need protection for sports.
The style issue is another problem… I can’t tell you if Vibram Five Finger shoes are trendy in the playground. Somehow I doubt it. If anyone knows drop me a message in the comments.
And so the countdown…