I’m really not one for trends. I’ve never been called a “trendsetter” and I usually catch-on about a year after the craze has passed. Not so with minimalist running shoes. I knew about them around 2008, I just thought the whole idea was ridiculous and definitely not for me. As if Vibram’s weren’t bad enough, people were actually showing up to races barefoot! What about all the debris in the streets? How do these people’s feet not look like John McClain’s in Die Hard after they “shoot the glass!”
In this country we have shoes stuffed on our feet before we can even walk! A thousand years ago, when I was a baby, the “walking” shoes all looked the same. You remember them. Perhaps they’re even bronzed and on your mantle. They were white, stiff and the laces never stayed tied. They resembled something John Gotti would strap onto a snitch before throwing him into the Hudson. My point is that we learn to walk with shoes on. We learn to run with shoes on. We live our lives with shoes on. Why am I taking them off now? Will I magically run like a Kenyan because its gotta not be the shoes? I freakin wish!
When it comes to running, I have far from perfect biomechanics. Some people are blessed to just walk out the door in any old pair of sneakers, run 15 miles and not end up with IT band syndrome or plantar fasciitis. Not me. My feet and my running gait need all the help they can get. Fleet Feet hammered this point home when, 12 years ago, they put me on their treadmill and analyzed the hell out of my severe pronation.
Needless to say, when this minimalist running shoe thing happened I stayed far away. I wasn’t even willing to try it since I thought I needed all this extra support and I tend to not mess with my running. Ever. Until one day about a month ago I glimpsed these babies in a running magazine:
They looked way to cool and I just had to have them! I ordered them up (they were on backorder of course since they were featured in a running magazine!) and when I finally got them last week I couldn’t wait to try them out!
Well, with the first step I thought it was trouble. I mean they really felt as if I had nothing on my feet. Remember my post about people wearing flip flops to a fitness class? That’s how I felt…like I was running in freakin flip flops. I was using ankle muscles I didn’t think existed! My legs felt different. I couldn’t really relax and fall into a natural stride for at least a mile. I slowed down and starting actually thinking about how I was running. I haven’t done that in a very long time! It was cool.
I ended up running 8 miles which was way too much for my first run in flip flop shoes. But I felt good! Did I mention that because of the split toe I wasn’t even wearing socks? I was getting crazy y’all. See? I’m from the Northeast and I’m saying y’all. Look out world, five years after they became mainstream, I’m becoming a minimalist runner! Maybe I should try twerking next. Hmmmmmm
What’s the last thing you tried and the outcome surprised you? Do you run in or have you tried minimalist shoes? What do you think?