Saturday, March 12, 2011
Barefoot 'round the Park
Perhaps I can be forgiven, because my (sort-of) malapropism did indeed occur because of a sighting at the theatre.
After one of our Into the Woods performances, the cast was greeting its stage-door public and I noticed that one audience member seemed to be straight out of a Flintstones episode.
From head to ankle she was Ann Margrock, but her feet were pure Fred:
By this I mean that she was wearing what looked to be a pair of rubber bare feet over her own feet. Curious, I asked her about the provenence of her "feet," and she informed me that they were for "barefoot running," which she had been doing for the past six months and loving it.
I am a long-distance runner, but have not been able to perform anywhere close to my favourite mileage for years because of foot injuries: my high arches may be pretty for ballerina-type points, but are dreadful for impact.
An Olympic-marathon-training acquaintance of Mr. C told him that she felt all runners had twenty really good years during which to run. I had those from 14-34 before my heels began feeling sharp pains.
So for the past decade I've been toiling away on elliptical machines while pretending that I am feeling the breeze and sunshine on my skin, or tempting fate by jogging around soft soccer fields, being conscious of running heel to toe.
Barefoot running, however, as I'm learning, uses a forefoot strike instead, as practitioners insist that landing on one's heel first increases the possibility of heel injuries. Apparently the forefoot strike is a more natural impact.
Truly, though, I'm not about to run barefoot, except on a beach, for fear of landing on a painful pebble or a shard of glass, but I am considering trying barefoot shoes.
The Flintstone shoes from the above anecdote are by Vibram FiveFingers, and I will not select them because they look too silly and would call unwanted attention to me:
Nike Free is one possibility:
as is New Balance Minimus:
And here is a one-stop-shopping site for barefoot runners. I like the Newtons, pictured below:
However, I am concerned about inviting a host of new injuries with the new gait that comes from barefoot running. Have any gentle readers tried this activity, with or without shoes?