For a long time I hated running. I’ve tried many types of shoes, gone to specialized stores, had my feet stared at or recorded while running at thread mills. I’ve been standing on glass boxes and being told I was pronating and need specialized shoes made for compensating for that. Another time someone told me I wasn’t pronating and that was why I got blisters from my shoes.
However I tried I could never find a pair of shoes that didn’t give me blisters or hurt me after five kilometers of running. I also seemed to be getting pains around the inner part of my knee joint and in my ankles. Typically I would be all muddy on the inside of my chins after running, hitting them with my shoes repeatedly. After a while I just gave up. It was no fun, only getting blisters and pains every time I went for a run.
Jealously I was listening to my friends, talking about the wonderful feeling while running marathons and what not. I wanted that too!
And then, a year ago, the barefoot shoes came into my life! I hung around with a friend that basically wont walk in anything else.
I was quite skeptical to begin with, even though I was used to training bare foot or in socks in my Martial Arts. And it took a while, quite a while, to get used to them. The first session lasted five minutes in the store, and then my arches were cramping.
A month later I could actually make a short walk and yet another month later I could wear them for a whole day.
In the beginning of this summer I made the big step and started running with them.
I made som big changes in my life and thought “what the heck – it’s time for me to pick up the running again!”.
It was like a dream! Floating ahead on the track, silently. My feet were flattening and contracting all by them selves, my posture was good, nothing hurt and I felt like I could run forever!
Luckily I held my self down and settled for the 3 kilometers that was the initial plan, my shins were sore for two days after that. But no pain in my knees, no hitting my self, no blisters.
That’s when I got really curious. How come we make all these specialized shoes, making people believe that our feet can’t do what they are designed for? That evolution so brilliantly built up for us, to enable us to walk and run and move around upright.
Because when you think of it, what’s the best way of breaking an arch? By pushing on in from underneath, of course!
And that’s exactly what we are doing with our arch supports, extra cushioning and what not they put in the shoes.
All that cushioning also takes away the normal way of putting your foot down while running. Instead of letting the front of your foot land first and spread out the weight through it’s normal arch, you’ll be starting with your heel.
Putting all of the impact on the heel will take away the natural cushioning of your foot and the knee will be trying to soften the force going through your leg, something it’s not designed for.
The impact will travel through your leg and up into your hip, which can tilt your pelvis forward and your lower back will be forced to arch more to soften the impact.
Running bare foot or with uncusioned shoes will allow the fron of your foot to take up the impact and your body to adjust according to the tension put into it.
There is evidence pointing toward less injuries when running bare foot because it allows the body to react to the forces naturally. (1) (2)