Running Barefoot?


I was in the middle of running the 2010 Bowman Cup 5K when I looked over to see who was running next to me. To my surprise, I saw two women wearing ridiculous looking “shoes” next to me. The shoes looked like they were made out of wetsuit material and had five toe places, almost like a glove has for your fingers.

It was mid October at this point, and the ground was damp and muddy. I tried to imagine what my toes would feel like wedged into each section, and also if the women wearing these crazy shoes could feel the cold, wet ground beneath them. I remember wearing toes socks as a kid and how awkwardly uncomfortable it had been, now people were wearing these as shoes!

The women seemed to be running normally, without any hesitations and I followed close behind them the entire race. After the race I kept an eye on the two women, who kept their crazy shoes on during the entire award ceremony. The shoes had a velcro strap across the top to tighten or loosen the pressure and they seemed to be made out of rubber.

The shoes were hideous to say the least.

Take a look at how many different styles and colors are available here.

The first and most popular barefoot running brand is Vibram FiveFingers. The idea behind the “shoe” invention is to support, stimulate and exercise your feet. Your foot has 26 bones, 33 joints and 20 muscles and hundreds of tendons and ligaments. The Vibram FiveFingers is designed to make feet healthier by allowing them to move more naturally and freely.

Some other support behind these crazy looking shoes:
1.) It reduces the risk of knee and calf injuries.
2.) It also will teach the runner to run on the forefoot rather then the heel.
3.) It may improve the runner’s balance.

Some concerns about these shoes:
1.) Why fix what’s not broken? If normal running shoes work for you, why change it?
2.) At first, your muscles will feel overworked and sore. It may take some time for your feet muscles to respond to the new feel.
3.) Wearing these shoes almost always causes blisters until calluses are formed.
4.) You will look strange.

There people look weird!

There people look weird!

I guess I can’t totally disown these shoes unless I’ve tried them. But I have no wish or desire to do so. How about you guys, are you fans of these shoes?

4 thoughts on “Running Barefoot?

  1. Okay, so personal preference aside, does anyone have any experience actually wearing these shoes? I really like them. (I like new and different stuff) I’ve been considering getting a pair, but all the photos I see show the kind of shoe that appears to best fit a foot which boasts the big toe as the longest. I happen to have the kind of foot where my second toe is the longest. Anyone have any experience with this?

  2. Haha! I’ve seen these shoes before and think they look awesome! I’ve never worn a pair but am not completely opposed to the idea. In fact, I’m getting ready for the Warrior Dash in June and these may not be the worst idea in the world. The first time I was exposed to them was in PR Publications when a classmate used a company that makes them for a project.

    What I don’t really like is the idea of dealing with BLISTERS until CALLUSES form. There is not one good thing in that sentence! Just not appealing to me after I learned that fact. Thanks for the info!

  3. Well as soon as I saw this blog post I laughed. I’m going to have to agree with you on this one Cassandra. I don’t think I could ever wear a pair of shoes like this but like you said, I guess I can’t knock the product until I try it. The only problem is I rarely run. In fact the only time I do run is to get the mail in morning because it’s cold outside. I guess that would be a stupid reason just to get the shoes. I personally just don’t like the look of the shoes. I think it’s a good idea but to me they just look ugly. Good post though.

  4. I don’t know if the idea for these shoes is similar to the Nike Free shoes, but I think barefoot running is gaining in popularity lately. Personally, I can’t say that I would ever try shoes like this to run in…I’ve gone through many kinds of shoes over the past 6 years, which includes 3 track and 3 cross country seasons in high school. The shoes I’m running in now, which are asics, have been the most comfortable I’ve ever owned, and I probably won’t ever switch. The fact is that running is hard on the body, and I can’t imagine that it’s good to run (especially for long distances) without the kind of cushioning that “normal” running shoes provide. There are specialty stores where runners can go and have their gait analyzed to determine pronation and then can buy shoes that will help correct it. One of my xc coaches was really into this kind of stuff, so we learned a lot about it. I think this whole barefoot running thing is just a fad, and those shoes look ridiculous! I’ll stick to my asics 🙂

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