Slap Me Silly


Here’s a story in today’s Boston Globe, Minimalist sneakers send runner limping away, also titled, “You’re crazy.” It’s about the authors attempt to use Vibram Five Fingers.

Now, I’m sure you are all aware that I don’t think much about Vibrams, simply because they are not really barefoot. But, when it comes to having something on your feet, they are almost assuredly better for muscle/tendon/ligament development than hard leather soles or super-padding. But I have also warned that you just cannot expect to suddenly go barefoot and do heavy lifting (so to speak) than you can suddenly, after years of couch-potatohood, go to a gym and do (literally) heavy lifting.

Anyways, the author of the article doesn’t seem to understand that, and he also doesn’t seem to understand the results of various studies that you DO NOT run barefooted the same way you do in shoes.

The clue? Right here in his third paragraph:

On my first run, the FiveFingers sounded odd as my feet slapped the pavement in the thin rubber soles.

He’s slapping his feet? Well, that’s your problem right there.


2 Responses to “Slap Me Silly”

  1. Bob (Downtown Runner) Says:

    There is almost nothing in the whole 4 pages of the article that talk about correct running form. I had the same second metatarsal injury running in a race wearing VFFs. But I was naive. I did way too much too soon and assumed I had already “transitioned” completely. After the injury I wised up. Now I run almost exclusively completely unshod and listen closely to what is going on in my feet. My form is continuing to get better and better. The VFFs are great to wear all day but they mask the important messages that our feet continually send us. And during a race it is easy to get caught up in the adrenaline and excitement, let the form deteriorate, and ignore the feedback.

  2. Wolfstepper Says:

    [sic] I landed on an angular rock concealed in the dirt, which felt as if a needle had been thrust into my heel. [sic]
    …which is a testament to the fact that you _have_ been running heel-first. Considering this was done on the very first day of wearing non-supportive shoes without any preparation whatsoever and for a couple of km every day afterward, it is hardly surprising that the weak muscles could not save the bridge bones.

    I switched to _walking_ in canvas shoes about 2 months ago and still forget myself occasionally, slamming down like in usual shoes. Especially when in a hurry. That hurts 😦 I have seen ads of super-cushioned shoes and people running in them. That also hurts, just looking at them 😦 Combining both with a rock… Twice in 10 minutes… Persistent guy, to keep it up for 2 (probably similarly accident-prone) months after that!

    To be fair, though, he had trained to run this way for a loooong time. Old movement habits die hard even when one works on them, when one don’t know there is a problem, its even worse. Easier to blame it on the shoes.

    I wonder, what’s better? Start with practice and ignore the theory (hopefully picking it up as you go) or start with theory and maybe never get to practice? A Zen question…

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