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A footnote on shoes

Im currently reading a borrowed copy (from my boss of all people) of Christopher Mcdougall’s “Born to Run”. I find it all at once to be inspiring, entertaining, and full of surprising revelations. Particular the copious sections about barefoot running. They were extremely convincing upon first read. In fact, after first perusing that section I wanted to go for a barefoot run. Even texted a few people to ask about it. But I held out, and decided against it until I did further research. I spent nearly a day doing nothing but reading article after article, forum after forum about this. I was immersed in the world of shod/unshod.

Im still enjoying "Born to Run", gauging how much to take from it

Yeah, Im not entering this debate.  It is nasty. Opinions abound left and right, and hostile opinions at that. Educated hostile opinions against experienced runner hostile opinions is most of what I have read. Like everything else in running, there seems to be no clear answer on this and a “do what works best for you” mentality seems (emphasis on seems) the best.

It seems like a great, cheap option but its complicated

On a personal level,  I would like to experiment with this style of running. Not out of some intense desire to revolutionize my running or improve my stride (I had a gait analysis done recently and found out Im a midfoot striker with an efficient running style, so Im fine with my form currently). No, instead I would like to see what it is like and if  its enjoyable. Much in the same way I have been experiementing with track workouts and trail running for the same reasons. Recently I have done both and had stellar time and a stellar workout with both experiences.

So whats stopping me now from taking my shoes off and going for a nice light jog? Im not exactly sure. But the obvious pokes at me more than once. Pokes me right out of my sneakers so to speak. Running shoes are freaking expensive. I have only bought 2 pair, but I can see the cost piling up down the line. Most nice ones cost a minimum of 70 and range up from that into the stratosphere. I cant justify anywhere above 80 ever. No matter how much I love to run, how often I run, paying close to 90 to 100$ for shoes or even more seems absurd to me.

So want to try these and see if there is a difference, but not at the current cost

Most of my shoe cheapness is obviously motivated by the fact that I just dont have that much money. Barefoot running would be one less expense on the running bill. However, even if I could afford more pricey fancy shoes,  Im not sure I would break the bank on them. I honestly just try on a few pair, see what works, and see what feels comfortable to me and buy a pair. Its a practice that hasnt failed me either time. Even with my new knowledge about my running form, I will probably still purchase the same way. Why alter a successful practice? This is not meant to be demeaning to those who invest tons of money research, money, and analysis into it.  If shoes are important to you/help you/ make you run better then spend weeks buying the perfect fit for you.

Im not like that. Im into finding whatever is the best practical/affordable combination I can find. With that in mind I should be giving a thought to experimenting with barefoot running. But it is not that simple. Most people speak of a slow transition to barefoot running (I dont like slow transitions) through use of minimalist style shoes like Vibrams. Now you are talking about expense. Those things aint cheap either. I would love to experiment with them, but experimenting is not available in the budget for just about anything that adds cost. Nothing is really free I guess. Combine that with the fact that Im running really well right now in shoes, and I cant see myself changing anything significant about my running style/form any time soon.

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One thought on “A footnote on shoes

  1. Awesome post man.

    Much like you, I often wonder if bare foot running would see an improvement in performance and also technique.

    From reading the book you’ll probably have read how bare foot running encourages a more natural front foot running style, which if you ask most runners, they would favour. However, there are other factors to take into consideration. Like running through Sydney City or London, you’re probably going to come home with a foot full of glass. But if you run in the countryside, maybe not so…

    Another point I’d consider is that a great pair of running shoes gives you that feeling of walking on air – you could say a spring in your step. With bare foot running that spring needs to come from your knees. I figure that’s why I’ve stuck with trainers.

    If you do experiment though, please let me know – I’d be interested to hear the results…

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