A pet peeve of the old coach is those who say “I run barefoot” only to find out that they don’t REALLY run barefoot at all. They run in:
- Vibram FiveFingers (even though, since the loss of the law suit, they have become virtually impossible to find)
- Xero sandals
- the full range of homemade leather slabs with toe holds
- any of the myriad of minimalist footwear still being manufacturer by most of the major running shoe conglomerates (indeed, the same ones who crippled most of the planet with ‘coffins’ in the first place)
To the somewhat observant soul, this seems like a dichotomy – running ‘barefoot’ with something on the feet! The last time I checked, running barefoot MEANS running full-on BAREFOOT – simple, basic, end of story. Personally, I am sick and tired of those who say they run barefoot – AND love the benefits of doing so – but turn around and put some form of sensory barrier on their feet. Come on, now, people – be straight with yourself and others by actually doing what you say.
If you SAY you are a barefoot runner, you MUST know the benefits of doing so. A few of these are as follows:
- no avoidable running injuries (I call this the ‘itis’ epidemic)
- quiet, efficient, powerful motion over any surface
- better posture, balance, squaring up
- better overall physical and mental well-being
- getting in touch with Mother Earth, drawing positive energy through the whole body
Thus, damn it, get rid of the props and actually run BAREFOOT. Hell, almost 70% of the planet goes around barefoot every day – not because they can’t afford shoes but because they have grown up being barefoot. Oh, and by the way, virtually NONE of them have foot, ankle, knee, hip nor back problems. Virtually none of them get bacterial infections through the skin of their feet. Virtually none of them have required medical treatment from the so-called foot specialists, physical therapists, etcetera that populate the Western world. Virtually none of them even know what is meant by an orthotic foot-bracing device.
If you need further convincing, simply START by taking everything OFF your feet and move over different surfaces – slowly, patiently, under control. Gradually build up the strength of your feet muscles, tendons & ligaments as you improve the sensory firing through the rest of your body. The positive difference in all aspects of your life will be palatable. Then, come back and tell me you move BAREFOOT. I guarantee you will NEVER go back to desensitizing the souls of your feet to Mother Earth.
Please, people, if you DON’T run fully BAREFOOT, be honest with yourself and everyone around you. “I MAY run barefoot some day BUT now I run in a light, thin-soled shoe!” Then, the old coach can rest easier!!!