Saturday, September 18, 2010

Can't Run With 'Em...

Can't run without 'em.

That's not entirely true. I'm attempting to transition to barefoot (or minimalist) running. The concept is polarizing and there is a wealth of information out there. If you're interested, join the debate. I may start talking about it here some day, but not today.

Today I just want to talk about my shoes.

About 6 months ago, I switched to these bad boys.
Nike Frees. Holler.

I'm using them to strengthen my feet. You see, I'd love to just jump into a pair of Vibram's, but my smart, talented, beautiful cousin Michelle recommended that I take a half-way step to strengthen my foot. I've always run in motion control, stability shoes. Mizuno Waves, to be specific. There are a few ways to find out what type of shoe best fits your arch. I'm a little bit of a pronator.
Ya don't say? Look at that right foot!

It's not entirely an issue of weak feet, either. I pronate for another very simple reason: I am slew footed. When I stand with my knees pointed directly forward, my feet do this:
No lie. Ask my Mama.

So last weekend, I headed out for a run, but I couldn't find my shoes. Don't ask me how I lost them; I wear them at least 3 times a week. But I couldn't find them. So I resorted to my old Mizunos. I didn't think it would be a big difference.

They don't look too different, do they?
PS-See all the dirt on my Frees? Yeah, that's from Fenway. It's okay to be jealous.

What was I thinking?
Let's start with the heels.
Look at that bad boy! We're talking about 2 inches of sturdy foam that for two years kept my foot from ever feeling my heel strike.
These puppies have taught me to strike on my midfoot, a little closer to the way human feet were designed to run.

Then there's the flexibility.
Try doing this to a traditional running shoe...
I did. It didn't work so well.

So after a mile, my fifth metatarsal (yes, I did look that up) was screaming. Honestly, my everything hurt. How was this possible? I was wearing a more supportive shoe; shouldn't I feel better?

It seems my feet have gotten pretty strong! They're strong enough that the rigid structure of my old shoes was too stiff for me. My feet have gotten used to flexing and arching and, well, working.
My only complaint about the Frees? Those cute little massager nodes? They were not designed for the blister prone.

So what do your feet love to wear?

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