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Old 07-02-2007, 10:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Yay barefoot running!

I went running with my wife the other day (she's much more athletic than I am, although I'm trying to catch up!), and had TERRIBLE foot pain from my running shoes about a half mile in. It was so unbearable that, even though it was rough asphalt and gravel, I decided to run the rest of the of the 2 miles barefoot.

To my delightful surprise, I loved it! Running barefoot is great! It made me think about how I set my foot down, totally changing my stride.

Since then, I've done a lot of research, and found out that running barefoot takes 4% less energy than running with shoes, and many people have correlated running barefoot with greatly decreased running-related injuries. People run marathons barefoot, they run trails barefoot, they run barefoot in the Olympics...now that I'm looking, it seems like barefoot running is everywhere!

Because I'm not totally willing to open myself up to broken glass, tetanus, and pointy rocks and twigs, I'm going to be buying some Vibram Five Fingers Sprints.



They have been reviewed to be 90% of the feeling of running barefoot, and most of the benefits.

Anyone have any experience running barefoot, or with FiveFingers, that they'd like to share? Once I start running with them I'll keep you posted on my experiences!
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Old 07-03-2007, 04:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The single most pleasurable experiences I've ever had while running have all been barefoot. Running barefoot in the grass is fantastic. In college, we used to do barefoot strides (80m building up to max effort at 40m then backing down) after hard workouts. And I have a loop in the Chicago suburbs through a forest preserve that bumps up to the old Lucent campus in Naperville that has soccer fields and baseball diamonds. It's about a half mile on a side, and I used to run barefoot there in the middle of a long run.

Sometimes I miss being in real shape.
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Old 07-03-2007, 05:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Dude, those shoes rock. I would love to hear how they feel (and how much they cost!). I've always been a bit scared to run barefoot for an extended period of time, but come to think of it, running barefoot in the grass at home was one of my favorite summer activities. But if it's gravel or concrete... I don't know about that. I get pretty sensitive feet on gravel.

But you have fun!!
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Old 07-03-2007, 05:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm intrigued, I really am... but here's my question for y'all:
I have an unhappy knee (patella tracks badly) and frequent (tho not every day) sciatica. What do you think about using these in the city? I.e., cement sidewalk walking, every day? No natural substances to be found. Will they help or hurt?
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Old 07-03-2007, 05:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Jess, I think that these will hurt, especially the sciatica. For me, the impact was what triggered my bout with it. I can't imagine your knee being much happier with MORE impact since these aren't shoes so much as foot protectors. The human body just wasn't designed to run on hard surfaces.

Just like the great Bruce Denton said, "You spend years running, turning muscle into steel. But you pound around Asphalt American long enough, a piece of grissle goes 'pop' and suddenly you're a pedestrian."
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Old 07-03-2007, 08:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm not saying that I have the answer to this, but running/walking barefoot is, for me, much lower impact than wearing shoes. Your body compensates for the lack of shock absorbtion and you naturally change your stride to one with much much lowered impact.

An interesting link to read about walking barefoot: http://anthropik.com/2007/06/learning-to-walk/

Quote:
Originally Posted by abaya
Dude, those shoes rock. I would love to hear how they feel (and how much they cost!).
The IT guy at my work has a pair in my size he is bringing in today or Thursday, so I should be able to report back on the feel soon. As far as price, the Sprint (model pictured above) is $80, and there are places you can get it with free shipping. For just walking around, you can get a Classic model (without the straps) for $70.

Manufacturer's website: http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/
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Old 07-03-2007, 08:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't believe in wearing shoes, but unfortunately society makes me wear them (and oddly, I have a shoe fetish...is that weird or what?). I usually go barefoot/in sandals from April-October.

I like to run barefoot on grass and sand, as long as there is some give/shock absorption from the surface. Running barefoot on cement really doesn't help my knees--but then neither does running with shoes on cement in my case.

I would also like to hear how these shoes work out for you. They almost look like ninja shoes.
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Old 07-03-2007, 09:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm wearing a pair of classics right now...they feel really comfortable, it's like i dipped my foot in liquid rubber! I can feel the cracks in the tile, i can feel the texture of the carpet...there's no artificial padding whatsoever, the shoes just kind of melt into your foot.

I'm definitely getting a pair (my wife is, too!), and a couple pairs of Injinji performance toe socks to go with them, just for moisture management in the 120 summers.

http://www.injinji.com/tetratsok/performance.htm

I'll keep you guys posted!
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Old 07-03-2007, 10:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJess
I'm intrigued, I really am... but here's my question for y'all:
I have an unhappy knee (patella tracks badly) and frequent (tho not every day) sciatica. What do you think about using these in the city? I.e., cement sidewalk walking, every day? No natural substances to be found. Will they help or hurt?
I see a chiropractor about that sciatica - or take yoga - or learn some good stretches - but a chiro can fix the actual problem while the other stuff keep it in check. And use a knee strap for that knoee problem. They are amazing when that patella starts giving you trouble. Just grab one at the drug store, Target, etc. It's so simple but so amazing!
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Anyone using the MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) shoes? Ugly, expensive (about $250), but they sound really cool.



According to their press,
Quote:
the shoes are designed to simulate walking in sand. It's a multi-layered, curved sole that accomplishes this by creating a natural but uneven walking surface. This technology is meant to make the core strengthening muscles more active, creating better posture and increasing shock absorbtion for all of the joints....
MBT shoes have been billed as "the world's smallest gym." Since they increase muscle activity, strengthening and toning of the leg, buttock, stomach and back muscles takes place during everyday activities like walking and standing.
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:11 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Jazz
Sometimes I miss being in real shape.
Considering your significant knowledge of running, I'd think that as long as you could set aside a little time to train, you could totally get into real shape.

Edit: did some googling, and the issue of heel striking came up. This type of shoe would train you to stop that quickly.

Last edited by Willravel; 07-03-2007 at 12:14 PM..
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
Considering your significant knowledge of running, I'd think that as long as you could set aside a little time to train, you could totally get into real shape.

Edit: did some googling, and the issue of heel striking came up. This type of shoe would train you to stop that quickly.
Yep, sure does. Compare to something like a Nike Shox shoe, whose core design philosophy centers around encouraging it! Yikes!
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Exactly. I wear cross trainers when I exercise and run (as I use a treadmill at the gym), and I've found that my shoes aren't all that functional. They just keep my toes from showing, and they pad my movement in ways I don't really need it padded. It reminds me of using machines vs. free weights. When you use free weights, you use stabilizer muscles that would go wanting otherwise. Likewise, when your heel is heavily padded and your toes are smooshed into one big toe, you're not using your whole foot, calf, or maybe even leg. It seems counter productive, especially when I pay $120 for a pair of shoes and the VFFs are like $80. My only real question would be, do they come in a size 12.5?
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Old 07-03-2007, 01:54 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
Exactly. I wear cross trainers when I exercise and run (as I use a treadmill at the gym), and I've found that my shoes aren't all that functional. They just keep my toes from showing, and they pad my movement in ways I don't really need it padded. It reminds me of using machines vs. free weights. When you use free weights, you use stabilizer muscles that would go wanting otherwise. Likewise, when your heel is heavily padded and your toes are smooshed into one big toe, you're not using your whole foot, calf, or maybe even leg. It seems counter productive, especially when I pay $120 for a pair of shoes and the VFFs are like $80. My only real question would be, do they come in a size 12.5?
You should measure your feet...they come in a 12, and with this style shoe, since it is stretchy and meant to be skin tight, that might be close enough.
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:15 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Update: Just ran 3 miles barefoot (with my wife), and feel great! I found a place online that has the Sprint's for $65, with free shipping if you buy two pairs (which I will, we both want a pair!).

http://www.northernlightstrading.com...=6&id=W115!755

I'll post another update once I get them. I'm also thinking about ordering the POSE method dvd from posetech.com, a site devoted to low-padding and barefoot running techniques.
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Old 07-09-2007, 05:03 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Well there might be many leading shoe manufacturers and some of them are also destined to absorb all the stress and strains that can be involved while running but I can say this for sure that there is nothing more beneficiary and at the same time pleasurable as most of you have agreed too when it comes to running or walking barefoot. I heard this a lot of time my grandfather saying this, that it helps to walk/run barefooted, now with time I have learned the same.
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Old 07-09-2007, 03:40 PM   #17 (permalink)
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VFFs great but what about the heel cup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedmosaic
Update: Just ran 3 miles barefoot (with my wife), and feel great! I found a place online that has the Sprint's for $65, with free shipping if you buy two pairs (which I will, we both want a pair!).

I'll post another update once I get them. I'm also thinking about ordering the POSE method dvd from posetech.com, a site devoted to low-padding and barefoot running techniques.
Got me some VFFs today. Sprints. Very exciting!

PROBLEM: I was between a size 43 and 44. Went with the 44 when the 43 seemed to bunch in the front at the toes. Normal shoes? A little big is okay. These things? Not so much. I want them to fit perfectly everywhere.

QUESTION: Do your VFFs have a considerable amount (10mm) of empty space in the heel cup? The toes and ball fit perfectly, the instep strap is comfy, but the heel cup is too long on my foot to the point where the heel cinch straps double over each other. I didn't notice any of the people on the VFF page with that kinda looseness and none of 'em had doubled-over heel cinch straps. The other minor issue is that the fabric portion seems to be rather tight despite the extra heel room, something that confuses the heel cup issue. I want the heel cup to fit, but the fabric can't dig into my skin.

Looks like this: HERE

God, picky-picky. I know.

I was told this extra room in the heel is acceptable. The salesperson was actually wearing them and had this issue with her feet in the VFFs, too.

Been walking around the apartment with them on... started obsessing.

I'm thinking about taking them back and trying a size smaller or returning them completely. I'm a real friggin' shoe nazi (my feet are my primary vehicle) and I can't stand to have things be "baggy", especially not for what equates to $80 rubber socks. Having proper room and snugness in both the heel and toe is really important for long distance running.

God, I'm frustrated by my monkey feet. I wanna trade 'em out for the model they use to design shoes.

Any feedback would be appreciated.
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Last edited by Plan9; 07-09-2007 at 04:00 PM..
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Old 07-09-2007, 03:59 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I think the primary difference is length, so try the 43's. I can't imagine the toes being much smaller, and yes, I'd rather have these be tight than loose. I just ordered mine, and the ones I was trying on were Classics with no heel strap, so unfortunately can't help with fit questions.
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Old 07-09-2007, 04:01 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Do yours fit like this?


HEEL CUP NO-NO
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Old 07-19-2007, 03:37 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Here I was coming back to this forum to revive my old barefoot running thread and ask if anybody had used these VFFs, and here you are! I'm thinking of ordering some so that I can incorporate a barefoot run into my weekly training routine after my first half marathon next week, to see if I notice a big difference. (No sense changing things before my first race, though.) The only thing I can't seem to figure out is my size. What the hell kind of sizing is that? Isn't it an American company? Am I an idiot and just missing the page where they give you sizing guidelines?

Last edited by Supple Cow; 07-19-2007 at 04:42 PM..
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Old 07-19-2007, 04:29 PM   #21 (permalink)
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There is a size conversion chart...look for the link. And no, not American, AFAIK.


Edit: Screenshot!

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Old 07-19-2007, 04:37 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Yep, I'm a dope. Don't know how I missed that the first time, but I guess I expected that sort of thing to be in the FAQ.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:38 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I'm a dope. I bought them and took them back because they weren't perfect.

I demand perfection in footwear.
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Old 07-21-2007, 01:44 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Are you at least going to try the smaller size again first?
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Old 07-21-2007, 02:51 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Yeah, I did a good job at finding out that neither 43 or 44 fits my pterodactyl paws. I have some badass heel spurs (shitty non-human-foot army boots x4 years) and my toes are long, so I kinda need a 43.5. This is something they don't offer yet. I refuse to get the "Classic" model because it has no security straps and the "Surge" bootie model is made of neoprene which would cause all sorts of mad sweating, yo. I am forced to wait for the half sizes.

I WANT THESE MORE THAN TEH DOING OF TEH SEX! Annoying, but I'll wait.

I am patient boy. I remember this one time I laid under a ghillie suit in a puddle for two hours in 96 degree Fort Bragg rainstorm. Let me tell you about crotch rot... YIKES.

Focus... FOCUS. Uh, the VFF?

Really... I'd like a better tension mechanism. Velcro is okay for some things, but not combat uniforms (COUGH-ACUs-COUGH) or footwear. The stupid way out. C'mon, people-in-design! I think when I find the right VFF size I'm going to modify the Velcro straps using parachute cord and barrel locks or something. I refuse to settle for Velour Crochet on my rubber socks!

(rambles on, wants these things to fit ultra-bad-he-can-taste-it)
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Old 07-28-2007, 09:19 PM   #26 (permalink)
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oh man I cant believe I've missed this thread untill now...

I've been living barefoot as much as possible for the past year, its awesome.

I do run barefoot, I've had some trouble adapting to the ball-heal-ball pattern, but its getting better.

as for someone above saying the human body wasnt made to run on hard manmade surfaces, are you saying that any of the surfaces in a city are any harder then granite stone, or a hard pounded dirt trail? I've been running on cement and asphalt, and dirt paths off and on without trouble, just have to make sure your landing on the ball of your foot first and have your knees bent enough. If your landing ball heal ball and have your knees bent slightly the impact is absorbed by the arch and the flex of your knees as your body is designed. When you land heal first usually your knees are locked, or close to it. this transfers the impact through the cartilidge in your joints and up your legs to your back and all the way to your head.

http://www.runningbarefoot.org/ is a really awesome resource, talks about form and everything else related to this topic.

I've been thinking about making a pair of Huaraches like this guy sells kits for
http://barefootted.com/shop/
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Old 07-29-2007, 11:54 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JStrider
I've been thinking about making a pair of Huaraches like this guy sells kits for
http://barefootted.com/shop/

My wife is Native American, and it occured to us (after we both ordered Five Fingers) that running barefoot isn't too far seperated from running in moccasins--a simple leather foot wrap with no sole. We're gonna try both.
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Old 07-30-2007, 07:01 PM   #28 (permalink)
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lemme know how they work out. I've made the kits from Tandy leather for when I go into a restraunt or wherever that I have to wear shoes...

but they're too loose to stay on well when running...
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Old 08-01-2007, 08:00 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I just ordered one of those leather kits to try out. It seemed a lot cheaper and more utilitarian than gambling on those Five Fingers' fitting me perfectly. I like sandals with that Spartan look anyway, so chances are (unless I totally fuck up the construction) that I'll wear them a lot even if it's not for running.

JStrider - I wonder if you can tie them a different way somehow to get them to stay on better? Or maybe just pulling them tighter and letting the tops and sides of your feet chafe for a while until they grow tougher skin where they rub? I may be having your same problem in a couple of weeks when I get mine, so I'm just trying to stay ahead of the game with some ideas for fixes.
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Old 08-02-2007, 05:01 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I just ordered a kit also... hopefully it'll get here fast.

I would imagine there are multiple ways to tie them... as long as it keeps the sole against your foot pretty well I would imagine there is no wrong way.

which ones did you order? I went with the elephant bark and braided hemp... figured it was the cheapest and cheap is good for trying them out.
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Old 08-02-2007, 07:28 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Well, I ordered the leather 4mm vibram because this is like a tester to see if I need those five fingers and I want to be able to wear them to work if they don't cut it for running. Black leather makes that okay. It wasn't the cheapest, but still a lot cheaper than $80 for the VFFs. Vibram is vibram, you know?

Apparently they shipped today and so did my running skirts, which I ordered days ago. I like this Barefoot Ted - he runs a quick operation.
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Old 09-26-2007, 04:26 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Barefoot Running

Ok, so I was running in the Omaha Marathon on Sunday, when I got passed by <a href="www.barefootrunning.org">Barefoot Rick.</a>

I started reading up about this, and I think I want to try running barefoot. So yesterday, I went out, took my shoes off, and started walking around the parade ground on base. This didn't seem too bad, and I decided to try a little trot. 1.5 miles later, I was still jogging on the pavement, and passing people that were in shoes. Ok, so it's going to take a really long time to ramp up to where I can do a whole marathon that way, but it took me a long time before I could do it in shoes, too. And here, I have this wonderful opportunity to record my progress, my experiences with this style of running, and the hard-learned lessons that come about from my self-inflicted painful journey.

Tuesday was my first attempt at BR. The websites that I've read have said to take it easy at first, that it takes time to build the callouses that you need. So, I went out intending to just walk a few miles on pavement, to toughen my feet up a bit. When I got out there, however, I decided to see what it felt like to jog. I found that it completely changed the way that I run. No longer was I heel-striking, dragging my toe, or taking really long strides. Also, I watched the ground in front of me like a hawk. I ran 1.5 miles, and then stopped. At this point, I noticed one of my toes was bleeding. Not too bad, but I called it a day. Note to self-find out if I'm using my toes properly when I run.

Total BR miles to date: 1.5

Last edited by mojodragon; 09-26-2007 at 04:31 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 09-26-2007, 12:07 PM   #33 (permalink)
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I started an interesting thread about it a while ago, you should check it out! (maybe we can get a mod to merge them?)

If you want to be a little more cross country, and protect your feet from small cuts and abrasions, pick up some Vibram FiveFingers.

http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showthread.php?t=120466
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Old 09-28-2007, 04:17 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Note: This update actually pertains to 26 Sept. I'm just really slow in posting it.

One of the guys at work gave me a really cool nickname. Shoeless Joe Morris. I think it may stick. Anyway, my toes don't hurt as much today, what should I do about that? I know! Going running again.

Another 1.5 miles, and a few more lessons learned.

First, try not to step into wet mud. Ok, it seems like wet mud would be nice and cool and refreshing, but it actually sucked. Toes were a bit bloody, then mud got in! It also took about 20 steps to get the mud off, so that it didn't feel like I was constantly running on something foreign.

Second, stay out of the grass, especially underneath trees. Grass in the middle of, say, a soccer field is probably all-right. But grass underneath trees, that tends to hide nasty things like pine cones, roots, and little rocks. At least on the pavement, you can see where these things are.

Post-run sensations: the toe damage is there, but it's more of a pleasant reminder of my new hobby. What is really odd is the muscle tightness around the ankles. My achilles is stretching out a bit, and some muscles to the sides of my ankles are a little tight. Also, the ball of my foot, and the heel, are feeling a little bruised. It's not painful, but it's a shock to someone that is used to "gelling". This too, shall pass.

Note: The following is about 27 Sept. The system automerged the two posts

Last night, after class, I decided to get my running in before going home. I drove to the UNO track, and took my shoes off. Tonight, I only ran 1 mile. The track was actually a mix of concrete and some type of rubbery material. It felt really jarring to go from the rubbery stuff to the paved portion. Also, one of the ends was coated in pine needles. No cones, and very few rocks, though. Tonight, I did a little thinking. I think that I decided that I'm going to mix barefoot and shod running, at least at first. I was running 10+ miles at a time before I took my shoes off, and now I'm only running 1 to 1.5. That'll also give my toes an extra day between to heal a little, before I rip the skin off of them again. And, I can keep my distance training going, so that I don't really have to build that up again. I envision getting to the point where I can run all of my runs barefooted, and not bleed when I do it. We'll see.

Total BR miles to date: 4

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Old 09-28-2007, 05:29 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Ahh I know this defeats the purpose of barefoot running but I was wondering if anyone's tried the Nike Frees or other shoes designed to simulate barefoot running?
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Old 09-28-2007, 04:36 PM   #36 (permalink)
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I saw a funny analysis of the Nike free, if anyone is interested. It's <a href="http://completerunning.com/running-blog-mark/index.php/archives/2005/11/23/oprah-winfrey-nike-free/#more-807">here</a>. Anyway, I think I'd like to get the fivefingers, but I'll probably wait until winter draws nearer. I don't think I'm quite ready for barefoot running in the snow.
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Old 09-28-2007, 05:18 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Thanks for that Mojo - I was kind of skeptical.

I'm currently running with some sweet-lookin' leather Adidas shoes - they are good for cross-training but feel like foot armor. Seeing the fivefingers almost made me cream my panties - if anyone gets them, can you post your experience here?
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Old 09-28-2007, 06:50 PM   #38 (permalink)
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I've got 'em. So does my wife. They're great to run in, as long as you can handle barefoot running itself. The strain on your joints and muscles between barefoot and five fingers is exactly the same.

Edit--Here's the wifes feet Vibram clad:

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Old 09-28-2007, 06:59 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Thanks - nice pic!!!

Do you find the strap necessary?

Also.. what's the effect of pounding asphalt "barefoot" - is it harder on the joints or does the muscular shift compensate?
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Last edited by xxxafterglow; 09-28-2007 at 07:02 PM..
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Old 09-28-2007, 07:04 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Gimmie pictures of the side view of the heel cup.
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