Monday, February 01, 2010

The littlest coyote had a surprise bout with a stomach virus. It came on quickly and lingered for two days and then was gone as quickly as it came. Little ones amaze me with their resiliancy. I would still be nursing my queezy stomach back into health. She immediately demanded a grilled cheese sandwich after announcing that she was "All beddur." She hasn't stopped snacking since.


My running is going well. My short runs are now averaging 5 miles a piece. Since switching to just VFF or barefoot running completely the tightness in my lower back and hip are greatly reduced and almost gone. My running feels so effortless and natural. My experience with barefootin' has proved to me that we are meant to run this way. Obviously, it's the way we were born and how we evolved.

Recently shoe companies like Brooks and sellers like Road Runner Sports have been chiming in with an anti barefoot stance. Well, shoes are how they make their money so I don't fault them for a knee-jerk panic reaction to the flood of barefoot running media that's out there right now. I'm sure that one of these corporations has spawned this sorry excuse for a website - .

I suspect that some sorry intern at a shoe company has been pushed into writing for this site. Notice that it doesn't allow comments. But he/she constantly complains about the lack of rational discourse on the subject. So he/she is not interested in debate or learning anything. Nor does he post any experience with trying barefoot running and hating it. Silly drivel. I know what barefoot running is and how it has helped me. I also know of how it has changed running for many of my fellow runner friends. I also have graduate work in physiology under my belt and know how the human body works.

Way back when in college, years ago, I was looking at a skeletal foot and it dawned on me that we were not meant to run heel to toe. Crashing down on that calcaneus bone and then rolling off to those little metatarsals made no sense to me back then. It took me a while to have the nerve to run outside sans shoes but the seeds were planted long ago in my mind.

Now I certainly don't believe that the shoe companies are out to hurt anybody. They really do want to benefit runners and improve the sport (while making money along the way of course). But I think that the running shoe as we know it today evolved along the wrong path due to some incorrect assumptions on how we run and what we need. The heel rise in running shoes is unneeded and probably actually harmful. I'm certain that this is what hurts my back when I run in shoes. I also believe that people need to ween themselves from so much external foot support. Think about putting your arm or leg in a cast - it atrophies. These motion control shoes are like casts, inhibiting natural movement of the foot and further weakening it.

Let me repeat - I don't believe that the running shoe companies are evil entities out to harm us. I do believe that some are reacting badly to the barefoot phenomenon. I'm really surprised that they are not seizing the moment to create a new lines of minimalist shoes. If they continue this behavior then I guess the so called "nutters" who like minimal/barefoot running will form their own companies. Hmmm. I have a few ideas already....


NJ said...

WOW...that latest post was very poorly written. What was with the "podiatrists are snake oil salesmen" obsession? Never once anything scientific about why we need shoes for running. After browsing a few other articles, there are so many holes to their arguments.

I'm not a barefoot runner myself, but I am a shoe minimalist focusing on midfoot strikes. I've battled PF and Achilles pain for a few years and it's definitely due to heel striking because of shoes and improper run technique. I have been toying with the idea of VFF's though at some point in the next year.

Working in a running store, I can see the benefits to both sides - shoes vs. barefoot. So many come in with shoe recommendations from their pod/ortho doc and we just shake our heads and laugh (not in front of the customer of course). These recs are for high pronation control yet they don't even know what shoes fit into that category and recommend a neutral model! For the "average person", I do the best I can to make sure individuals are in the least amount of shoe they need to begin strengthening their feet and try to educate them on running form where I can in an unobtrusive manner.

Love your blog! Thanks for the info. (sorry...I got a bit winded in my response)