So you might have seen that I was on NBC Chicago the other day, pimping out my Chicago Marathon team and helping to demonstrate some barefoot running techniques. But I have a confession to make… I’m not actually a barefoot runner… yet.
I’ve thought about taking the plunge many times, but I’ve never actually buckled down and bought the weird shoes, toe socks, or endless literature that can accompany a barefoot lifestyle. I know I have nothing to be afraid of. After all, THREE of the Tribe James runners are experienced bare-footers (Erin, Kyle and Mom… I’m looking at you!). And I know how to make the switch from regular to barefoot in a healthy and safe way. So what’s the deal? Why can’t I make the switch? Do I even want to make the switch?
I love that barefoot running strengthens your foot rather than protecting it like normal shoes. I love that you are relying on your own body and your own stride, and that you can be so connected to the road. But what attracts me most to barefoot shoes, is the fact that you can really feel what’s happening to your feet. The danger with normal shoes is that, if you’re hurt, you are less likely to notice that your stride is continually beating on the injured area. Think of it as boxing with a broken finger. If you pop a glove over the injury, you’ll be able to continue hitting… but your finger will still be broken. If you can’t feel exactly where it hurts, how can you find the root of the problem?
I’m definitely not saying that barefoot running is for everybody. It isn’t. But I think it’s time I gave it a shot. So this week I’m going out to test drive a few options in minimalist footwear. Here are a few pairs I’m pretty interested in trying: