Currently viewing the category: "Barefoot / Minimalist Footwear"

As this infographic by Altra asks, why consider footstrike? It’s a very good question, and it should be the primary query on people’s minds when they’re thinking about going minimalist (footwear) or even barefoot. The way your feet impact the ground while running has far-reaching effects on your bones and joints all the way [...]

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One of the most frequently used arguments against barefoot running goes something like this: “Sure, humans didn’t evolve to wear thickly cushioned shoes, but they also didn’t evolve to deal with habitats covered in concrete and asphalt.” I’ll grant you that, the substance of concrete has only been around for a few thousand years, and used as a substrate in walking paths or roads for a few hundred (although stone roadways go all the way back to the ancient Romans).

But, although I think it is misguided to assume that humans cannot handle running on hard surfaces like concrete (not least of all because the world was full of habitable environments that weren’t covered in squishy grass), I also feel there are plenty of reasons why running on surfaces like concrete is actually nicer than the grassy alternative.

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I think this infographic (from smoothfitness.com) does a pretty good job of identifying the major injuries that runners could potentially encounter. I know that personally I have experienced the patellofemoral pain syndrome as well as hamstring strains, but the runners knee was definitely the most aggravating. I attribute my specific case to excessive heel striking, and overuse due to running more than my body was prepared to handle at the time.

The graphic provides a handy list of ways to avoid these injuries, though I would qualify the specific item referencing “wearing the right shoes” to suggest wearing shoes with minimal: cushioning, arch support, restrictive upper, and heel padding. If you can reduce the influence of any or all of those factors, I believe your shoes will allow your feet to actually do what they were engineered for in the first place.

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Readers of this blog should probably be pretty familiar with a lot of the concepts in the graphic. As always, I’m the most intrigued by the finding that barefoot running is more efficient than shod running (as indicated by the “4% reduction in energy expended” item in the graphic). It’s somewhat ironic to me that the notion that shoes are necessary for running is juxtaposed by data demonstrating that shoes make us worse at it.

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As I’m sitting here drinking my nice hot cup of coffee and watching the flurries blow into my window, I can’t help but wonder how many crazies are out there running in the snow right now. Ok, maybe that’s not fair, I’ve given into the urge before to go outside and train or run around during some pretty hellish winter conditions.

But, I just know there are some people thinking to themselves that this could be a neat opportunity to go try out barefoot running in the snow. They could even get that coveted “I’m standing in snow without shoes” photo which they can boastfully post as their Facebook profile pic. But, are they really being rational about the risks involved with cold weather?

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Shoe technology advancement now seems to be coupled with philosophical devolution leading to a throwback in footwear designed focused on evolutionary roots. Despite all of the amazing things we can design into shoes, people are realizing and accepting that less is more.

Check out this interesting timeline infographic, brought to you by REI.com, showing the development of shoes over time.

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The recent New York Times article by Christopher McDougall, author of the best selling book on running Born to Run, is currently making its way around the Internet. Entitled “The Once and Future Way to Run”, McDougall takes a roundabout path of catching everybody up on the last few years of barefoot running news until finally unveiling a newly rediscovered running technique that he thinks will revolutionize running.

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Why do some people land on their heels when running barefoot, even when cautioned not to? Is heel striking always bad? In this blog post I take a look at a barefoot running study that compared people running in normal shoes, Vibram Five Fingers, and barefoot. Also, I mention some of the running habits of elite level competitors, and how that might relate to recreational runners.

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Since I’m special I managed to get an early sneak peak at the newest addition to New Balance’s Minimus line – the NB Minimus Zero. And, because you all are even more special, I’m sharing some of that info with you here.

This shoe isn’t even out yet, but it looks to me like New [...]

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This is the second part of my review of the “Evo”, a type of performance running shoe sold by VIVOBAREFOOT. Be sure to read the first part of this review. You can also find more product evaluations at my review page.

It’s been a while since I’ve worn any kind of shoes on a regular basis that [...]

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Opening up a package from VIVOBAREFOOT is like getting a present on Christmas morning. I’m always pleasantly surprised to discover how much thought and attention to detail that they put into the presentation of their product. I suppose since you primarily have to buy their shoes through online retail and then have them shipped [...]

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If you watch the Discovery Channel and enjoy its wilderness reality programs, then you may know of the TV show “Dual Survival”. The show follows around survival experts Cody Lundin and Dave Canterbury as they try to negotiate extreme survival situations in exotic locations around the world.

Cody is a world-renowned survivalist who has written several [...]

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