Thursday, 19 May 2011

Barefoot running


The debate on barefoot running seems to continue to rage.  I typed 'barefoot running' into google and was overwhelmed by the number of results.

In one of the blogs that I follow running on empty by Terry Lonergan has recently discussed how he practiced barefoot running in Heaton Park,  Manchester, in his younger years.

History gives us examples of elite runners such as Bruce Tullah and of course 1960 Rome Olympic Champion, Abebe Bikila, who won the Olympic Marathon running in bare feet.

Of course along with the current surge in barefoot running there has been an expected response from running shoe manufacturers.  In fact, it seems that you cannot open a running magazine these days without there being an article on barefoot running along with an associated article featuring 'barefoot' running shoes. A whole variety of brands from every manufacturer, such as the super minimalist Vibram 5 Fingers and he Nike Free range.

A 'barefoot' running shoe is something of a contradiction in terms.  So is it just a case of the shoe manufacturers jumping onto the band wagon, or is it, after 40 years or so of more and more cushioning, it is now thought that the promotion of a more 'natural running' style through your running shoes is more appropriate?  For example, shoes such as the Newton range which have been designed to promote forefoot running, rather than the 'heel strike' which is made common with the more cushioned shoe.

I have experimented with the Nike Free range.  Originally with their first version of the Nike Free, I have now just acquired a pair of Nike Free 3.0 V2, which is Nike's most minimalist shoe within the 'Free' range.  As the blurb in the promotional material states " it closely mimics the barefoot running experience while providing ample protection and just enough support for sufficient comfort".

Regular readers of my posts will know that I have some on-going knee problems and as such am very wary of doing away with cushioned shoes.  I have, therefore, limited my use of these minimalist shoes to infrequent short runs, the gym and to wearing them as a casual shoe, with the idea that the minimalist properties will help strengthen my feet.

Has anyone got any views or experiences regarding barefoot running they wold like to share?

1 comment:

Christina said...

I'm curious to read about what the others thought regarding barefoot running.
I have knee troubles too and I have been slightly "intrigued" by the idea of a minimalist shoe. I haven't jump onto the bandwagon yet.... still sitting on the fence about barefoot running.