The Deal with Shoes

There's been a lot of discussion about modern running shoes' detrimental effect; the theory goes something like "modern, high-tech shoes encourage biomechanically incorrect movement and lead to all the injury you see in the running community". Go ahead, Google it—I'll wait for you to come back.

Like almost everyone else, I've invested the effort (and money) in finding shoes that seem to fit my physiology and ability. I chose Asics Nimbus based on my own reading and experience, and my new Asics Kayano from recommendation. And I've noticed how the Kayano does have more structure, does enforce more specific movement than the neutral Nimbus. Are these shoes encouraging bad habits?

I've also recently acquired Vibram Five Fingers "barefoot" running shoes. I'd been relatively obsessed with them since I heard of them, and I believe there is some logic to the idea that walking barefoot—with toes and other footy parts with free range movement—can encourage healthier, stronger lower legs and feet. Honestly, I had no plans of running in the Vibrams. I mostly wanted to get them for cruising around, running errands, etc. (You run a lot of errands on foot when you live in San Francisco.)

My take on the whole thing:
I applaud those that are trying barefoot running. It's commendable, and at some point I might hit the track for some easy workouts in the Vibrams. But I'm particularly aware of my form, my foot plant, and the impact each stride I take. For a 250lb guy, I believe I am remarkably light on my feet. I am the last guy you'll hear *SLAP* *SLAP* *SLAP*-ing on the pavement next to you during a run. As such, I believe modern, highly-engineered shoes are fine.

To say it another way: I could probably learn how to play baseball without a mitt, building up callouses and developing the technique to field a line-drive bare-handed. But why?

What do you guys think? Weigh in!

  • Distance 4 miles
  • Location Crissy Field, SF CA
  • Shoes Asics Nimbus
  • The Lowdown I *never* run two days in a row! Well, almost never. I guess this was an exception to the rule. I've missed cross-training days and whatnot, but I'm not going to miss my run days—even if I have to double 'em up. I ran Tuesday's run on Thursday, so Thursday's run had to happen on Friday in order to get a rest day in before Sunday's long run. (Got all that?)

    I felt awesome during this run. Just great. I felt like everything was clicking. It was nearly effortless, really. And imagine my surprise when I got it done in under 40 minutes. Crazy.

Image courtesy slendle84 on Flickr.

4 Brilliant Remarks:

  1. Anonymous said...

    I'm not jumping on the barefoot wagon either! Seems to me that would hurt too much!

  2. Anonymous said...

    I like having pretty feet and have no desire to run barefoot ever, but more power to the people that enjoy it. I <3 my Kayanos :)

  3. Adam said...

    Yeah, I am not on the bare foot bandwagon, but I guess to each their own. Do you listen to Brandon's Marathon podcast? he is ALL about them.

  4. I like having pretty feet, too.

    Oh, wait--what was the question? *cough*

    I haven't heard Brandon's podcast, but I know there's a lot of folks out there that are getting into it. Most of the really amazing runners I know (online) are at least playing with it. Interesting stuff.