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Tuesday
Jun042013

Learning from shoes

Last night I tried to run in my huaraches for the first time. I've been wearing a pair of Xero Shoes for the last couple of summers, and they are supposed to be running sandals, but I've never felt up to running in them.

I lasted about 1.3 miles. My left foot was totally fine, but my right foot was having some issues with the string cutting in on my second toe. I would stop every 0.2 miles or so, straighten the shoe out, start running again and it would shift. I've been thinking about it, and I think that means I'm landing on my foot with it pointing out slightly. Not a lot, but enough that I then twist it back in when I pick it up and that tightens the string to make it uncomfortable.

Would it be a problem barefoot? I'm not sure. But it seems like that it is a fixable thing, so I'll experiment a bit more and see where I get. I don't anticipate running a really long way in these, but I'd like to be able to do 3, 4 miles comfortably.

It seems like every time I've reduced my shoe I've learnt something and tweaked it. Initially it was calf strength. Starting with the Vibrams and then the 500 miles in Vivo Barefoot Evos, I thought I'd got it cracked. Then I switched to my Soft Star Shoes Runamocs, and learnt that I was still pushing off. Now I'm down to the sandals, and it seems like my alignment isn't quite there.

shoes

Has it been worth it? I've dropped so much off my pace without doing much speedwork at all, I can't quite believe that it's just practice. I know my form has changed as well, and some of that must be due to the change in shoes. Sometimes though I wonder if it would be easier to stick with more conventional shoes! I have 400 miles on the Soft Stars now, and need a pair to do the marathon in January in (oh, did I admit that? I'm doing Disney again). Conventional shoes are more widely stocked, and it would be easy enough to walk into one of the running stores in town, pick a pair and start running. Instead of which, I'm taking a wild punt on yet another quirky-looking shoe - meet the Freet Footwear 4+1 Barefoot Shoe.

(Side note on the name there. Yes, a barefoot shoe is an oxymoron. I prefer the term minimalist. But what are you going to do?)

On the other hand, who wants to be conventional anyway?! I'll write a review when I've worn them a bit. Let's see what they have to teach me!

(Speaking of unconventional, I've just bought a pair of Rainlegs... Hopefully it'll be a while before I can review them, but you never know!)

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