Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Naked Feet

I received an email from my friend who works on her feet a lot saying she wanted to look at getting some better shoes. Attached to the e-mail was a link to a popular mechanics article from April talking about the big running barefoot debate. It's stuff I had heard and read before, but I took some more time and found a few other articles, including this one from MailOnline.
It really does make you wonder - are we wasting money and increasing our risk of injury with the shoes we buy? Especially running shoes?

I remember when I was little, growing up on the farm, we NEVER wore shoes. I could run down the dirt and rock driveway and never blink an eye. My feet were callused and used to the abuse. Mom would fight me to put on shoes to go to school or go to town. Of course as the years moved on wearing shoes became part of who I was. I had to have all the latest styles - including every color in the rainbow of 'jelly shoes'. Remember those things - molded plastic in every shape and color you could imagine? My grandma used to get on to me - telling me I would ruin my feet wearing those things - they didn't have any cushion or support she would say. Now I'm thinking we need a 'jelly shoe' resurrection - it's pretty close to barefoot with the added style and cool colors - lol!!

OK - joking about that - I really don't condone a 'jelly shoe' revival - they are gone and I hope they stay that way! But it did get me to thinking - were they really hurting my feet? My only problems with my feet, legs, hips came after I started spending good money on running shoes - of course I spent more money on good running shoes because I was doing more RUNNING - so which caused what??

The argument that the shoes we wear are making are feet week because they don't have to work makes sense to me. Does this lead to more injuries - it makes sense that it would. Does this mean I'll start running barefoot? Probably not, but I will make more of a conscious effort to wear shoes less. It's already the first thing I want to do when I get home and I don't think twice about heading out to the yard with naked feet. I just think there are still ways I could do it more and if that helps to strengthen my feet and prevent injuries even better. The biggest problem about running barefoot for me is the road debris - the glass, metal, or rusty nails you have the potential of stepping on. I don't know about you, but stepping on those type things is not fun for me and what ends up being worse is the inevitable trip the ER to get the dreaded tetanus shot. I can deal with a nail in my foot and the associated pain, but those tetanus shots hurt for days! :-O

Is there a reason that running in low mileage, cushioned shoes leads to a stress fracture and training in racing flats with little to no support gets you a marathon PR (and no injury)?? I don't know, but I think the possibility exists. There is something to be said for going more natural - be it the food we put in our bodies, modes of transportation we use, to what we wear (or don't wear on our feet).


  1. I remember we'd go the entire summer w/o wearing shoes. I still go out in the yard barefoot but like you I don't think it would be wise to run on the roads in naked feet :)

  2. Road no, track - maybe?? ;-) We shall see - in theory it sounds good!