Barefoot Running Shoes Are Awesome
Minimalist Running / Barefoot Running Shoes Rock!
I remember how, just a few short years ago, my knees were in really bad shape. Some days I had trouble walking and the pain compromised a good deal of my life. Everything from hiking to gym workouts was less pleasant than it had been years before. I figured I was doomed to a life with knee pain. Then I read an article in Men’s Health about barefoot running.
I had one big takeaway from that article – my shoes might be the cause of my knee pain. It made sense to me. After all, the human body developed in one way and here I was trying to change it with my shoes. I noticed the dramatic difference in my stride when I walked barefoot versus walking with shoes. I didn’t know how much of an impact the difference could have, but I knew it was worth exploring.
I spent the next few months reading and researching shoes – barefoot running shoes and other types. That’s when I found out about Vibram Five Fingers shoes. You’ve probably seen them, the shoes with the individual toes. There were no retailers near me, and the closest one at that time was actually a four-hour drive.
After a few weeks of considering these silly looking shoes I had cause to drive to Maine. I stopped by the retailer and purchased them. They felt strange, but somehow right. It was almost as if I was…barefoot. I spent as much time in them as I could, which didn’t prove to be a lot. As a business owner, I need to maintain a level of professionalism. Crazy looking toe-shoes certainly don’t help that image.
The next two steps came from the release of the New Balance Minimus and my joining a CrossFit gym. The gym allowed me to workout barefoot and the New Balance shoes, while being a good barefoot running / minimalist shoe, look like a regular sneaker. I was able to start wearing them most days. The change was amazing.
Over the course of a few months my knees improved. It’s now rare for me to experience knee pain, except for when I have to wear other shoes. I love my New Balance shoes and if I’m not wearing them, I’m probably barefoot. I truly believe shoes are one of the worst things we have done to our bodies.
As my feet have readjusted I’ve noticed that “normal” shoes don’t feel as comfortable anymore. In fact, I had to get rid of most of my traditional shoes because they knee pain when walking. This is my big caution when I speak to someone about barefoot running shoes – if you’re not ready to give up your regular shoes, don’t jump in. While most people don’t have the extreme reaction I do, it’s a risk.
There you have it. I’ll never go back to regular shoes. In fact, I’m exploring other brands of barefoot running shoes and plan to put together a review of the three pairs I am wearing now. The Vibram Five Fingers KSO, New Balance Minimus and Zem Ninja Split Toe Lo. I hope to have that written in the next few days. [Took much longer than a few days, but it's available here]