Toes in the Grass

As mentioned in another post I am a runner that practises barefoot and minimalist running. I am however not a preacher and feel that everyone has their own path. I feel the best thing is to keep an open mind, and find the way you can run injury free and enjoy the whole experience. I will speak on my experiences and the path I took to get to where I am now, as well as where I hope to go.

As I said everyone needs to follow their own path. 5 years ago I began running cause my future wife Lisa had started while at university. I decided it would be a great thing to do together, and it has been. I began as most would have looking for the most cushioning possible. Some with flash from one of the big companies cause they have obviously been making shoes to make everything better for years, and in some cases that is very true. My case was not one of them, and we will get to that later. My favourites for a while were an Adidas adilite (I think this is the name but it has been many years) and they were great shoes. They were thin and a low heel to toe drop compared to most shoes a the time. But much like other runners I was hooked on the idea that shoes were only good for a few hundred kilometres. So I figured since I could not find these shoes anymore I would get and big cushy pair of Saucony’s. I figured since I had increased my distance I needed some thing to help with the pounding my body had been taking. Everything was going well for the first few months and then one day the front of my shine was sore. I ignored it as it went away quickly after each run. I figured it was part of the putting more distance in, so I would continue doing my set runs and increasing my distance a little each week. But as I know now there are things you can ignore and others you should not. This pain began showing earlier and earlier in my runs to the point that it would arrive after a few hundred metres. So I took time off and let things heal 2 months later I laced up and headed out. No more then a week in and the pain was back. So off to the internet I go, and works to strength calves were tried but did not work. I found new stretches that would help with the pain after the run. However nothing was solving the problem with my shines during my run.

I eventually came across blogs and articles during my search that talked of barefoot running and toe shoes called FiveFingers. The main blog was Birthdayshoes.com, which is an excellent source for information and has a great set of people running the blog as well as on the forum. So he more I read the more I was intrigued by these odd looking toe shoes. (I had see in Men’s Health 2 years earlier, but was sure it was a gimmick or meant for runners with years of experience. Not a large and over weight slow poke like myself.) I eventually decided to just go for it and got a pair of Black KSO from a store called Adventure Guide in Waterloo. My first outing was short only an hour walking around in them. They felt like slippers and got me a lot of weird looks but I was enjoying the feeling under my feet. I felt grounded and free, I so badly wanted to run in them. I didn’t cause I had read enough about the “To much to soon” problem that occurred all to often and I was not going to be a part of that group. I took a few months of just walking and when I finally made day walking around Canada’s Wonderland in my new favourite shoes. I knew it was time to try a short run and t was just about 3 kilometres. It was excellent and the day after was incident free. I continued slowly increasing and wondering would my shines begin to hurt again or something else. Months pass and I was up to 10+ kilometres and nothing, I had found my solution.

I have since bought many more FiveFingers with a new pair of KSO, Komodo, Bikila LS, Classics. All have a use and all preform well. I say I am not exclusive, I have tried vivobarefoot Evo 2 (retired)and New Balance Minimus Trail (still have) and a new pair of Altra Superiors on he way. I tell all those who ask my thoughts and I always say if you try it take your time, even when you think you are ready wait a little more. Also that that it is not for everyone, we are all different and there is no one fix for us all. Though it was the fix for me and I don’t see going back to traditional supportive shoes anytime in the near future.

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