This Little Piggy

posted by Momo Fali on June 9, 2010

I like to run.

Don’t get the wrong idea, I am not an athlete. I don’t run long distance races or have anything that remotely resembles a runner’s body. I have been away from running for many months and I look more like a blob than something long and lean. I want to get back to it.

But, in recent years I have dealt with a lot of pain in my feet when I take to the streets (or the treadmill, for that matter). I have spent many mornings hobbling out of bed, reaching for my dresser to lean on so I can stretch my calf to alleviate some of the tightness.

The best solution was to ice it, but if you have never rolled a frozen water bottle around under the arch of your foot, you don’t know what uncomfortable really is.

A couple of months ago I read an article in the newspaper about running barefoot. It intrigued me. The proponents of barefoot running say that it’s how humans were meant to run, which makes perfect sense to me.

When you run barefoot, you are forced to stop slamming your heel into the pavement because it hurts too much. You compensate for the pain and shift your landing to the forefoot. While researching it further, I read that the technology in today’s running shoes simply hides the pain of a shoe-wearer’s heel-strike.

I thought about it more. All of my friends who are distance runners have had injuries. Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles pain and aching knees are the norm. I even know someone who lost all of his toenails. Back in the 70’s, when shoes were minimal, I never heard of those things happening.

So, I tried it. Not on the open road, but on my treadmill. My foot fell at a completely different spot, my stride was altered and I had a lot more endurance. After a while I began to feel blisters forming on the balls of my feet, so I stopped and put shoes on. And with shoes on feet, just like that, I went back to firmly landing on my heel.

After my barefoot run I was sore…in a totally good way. My calves hurt because I actually used them, but other than the blisters, my feet were in pretty good shape.

Now my husband would probably rather die than look like a barefoot hippie running down the road, but I don’t care about what people think if it means I won’t be in pain anymore. Unfortunately, I can’t imagine running without shoes on outside. It’s not the rocks that scare me, it’s the roadkill. For real.

So I started looking into barefoot, or minimalist, running shoes. Something without the shock absorbing heel so I will be forced to land the way a human should. From what I read, the best shoe for this is called the Vibram Five Finger.

Only, it’s not five fingers, it’s five toes. Remember how I said that I don’t care what I look like? Yeah. Scratch that. I just don’t know if I have enough self-confidence for these.

    Comments

  • Sadia


    Awesome! My husband trains soldiers, and although he's excellent and not criticizing me when I work out, he's good for a pointer or two. I tend to run on the balls of my feet, even in shoes. (I also take stairs on tiptoe. Always have.)

    My feet were in agony recently. Hubby suggested a callous on the ball of my right foot was the issue. I thought he was nuts. The pain was more akin to bunions. It turns out he was right. It was about 1/4 inch thick, and took over 4 hours of pumice work (spread over a week) to remove, and the pain is gone!

  • Tela


    My friend has those… and she wears them TO THE OFFICE. She's not a runner though.

    Go for it. I never look at a runner's feet when I see them out.

  • the*4*of*us


    ok…I want some of those!!!!

  • As Cape Cod Turns


    Yeah, I might have to laugh at you if I saw you in those. I like the color scheme though!

  • Zoeyjane


    Do you follow @badassdadblog on Twitter or Daily Mile? He first started running barefoot in those, I'm pretty sure.

    I've gotta admit, I'm curious about it too. I have extremely tight hamstrings and calves until I get really warmed up, so I can see that causing issues with heel strike pain after a few kms.

  • Melisa with one S


    OMG, Mr. Weasel has shoes similar to these. Get ready for some fierce ridicule from Weaselmomma, just sayin'. 🙂

  • MommyTime


    Seriously? They look like Hobbit feet. Also? I would TOTALLY wear them if it got rid of my knee pain while running. You should go for it. It's not like you go running through the mall that has a Saks in it, right? There's no fashion parade along your running grounds. I say, if it's comfortable, do it!

  • Tricia


    Have you read "Born to Run"? It doesn't work for me but I've heard of a lot of people who swear by barefoot running.

    http://thesarcasticsoprano.blogspot.com

  • abby


    I sometimes run barefoot in the grass next to the trail. Can't do it if I'm going to be on the road at all, though. Go for it. Running is definitely not about fashion. Nobody's looking and judging out there. Maybe at the gym it's different? Outside, the only people who judge are people who aren't out there busting their butts, anyway, and nobody cares what those people think. 😉

  • unmitigated me


    Some of the folks at martial arts classes wear those, and LOVE 'em.

  • BEAN


    First, I was cracking up about your husband running barefoot. Then I nearly choked to death on rice laughing, since one second prior I thought as I read, "Doesn't have the self-confidence? How bad can they…"

  • Jaina


    A guy in one of my conducting classes always wore those. They took a little getting used to, but they intrigued me. He said they were the most comfortable thing he wore. I think you can totally do it Momo.

  • Momo Fali


    Bean, I think I need to get these just so I can wear them when we go away in September. Tell me my cousin wouldn't pee her pants.

  • BEAN


    Oh TOTALLY! Then again, we'd all be!

    I beg you to get them.

  • BusyDad


    Wear gladiator sandals or something badass. They don't have support, and you can't lose with buckles and studs. And you won't look like a muppet.

  • SurprisedMom


    Intriguing looking shoes . . .

    I don't know anyone who has them or has the confidence to wear them. But, I think you should go for it! bet they keep a smile on your face as you run.

  • Stacey


    A friend of mine was wearing those around the office once. I hate the look of feet, so of course I couldn't tear my eyes away from them. I wonder if she wears them running.

  • Heather


    I'm with Busydad- those are CRAZY lookin and you should go with his idea. hahahaha.

    But the whole running without shoes thing is quite intriguing!

  • Twenty Four At Heart


    You MUST wear these to NY for BlogHer this summer.
    Please?! I will by you a couple Patron shots if you do. Not to mention, think how comfortable you would be walking around NYC? Also? I could take a photo of you posing with Neil and it would be PERFECT! : )

  • Twenty Four At Heart


    B-U-Y
    I really do know how to spell!

  • WeaselMomma


    Mr Weasel wears those for running shoes. I mockingly call them his gorilla feet and actually showed them on Suburban Wow, but you were working that day.
    He loves them, but has now gone to running completely barefoot outside in the open road.
    If you get a pair, you must post a pic.

  • Bad Momma


    For some reason these remind me of Toe Socks (for those of you old enough to remember these knitted marvels).

    I'm still working on the "Running" part of the equation. May have to consider these shoes when I finally get motivated. These babies would help draw attention away from the rest of my out-of-shape body!

  • UP


    I'm a walker, not a runner.
    The in-between the toes thing would drive me crazy for a while. But, I'd like to try them. Maybe a Fashion Friday blog after all!

    UP

  • The Urban Cowboy


    ummm…I'm kinda skeptical about wearing those to run in, but I could be wrong. You will have to let us know how they hold up if you decide to take them out running.

  • Kori


    I was actually reading this in my reader because, you know, I suck, and when I got to that picture I totally burst out lughing and HAD to come tell you that I adore you, and WANT to see your feet in those. Seriously, BEST laugh in a week.

  • Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]


    Those shoes are discriminating against the webbed-toed like me.

    I SAY PROTEST!

  • Mum-me


    I used to jog in old fashioned tennis shoes when I was young – you know the canvas shoes with a thin rubber sole? I tended to run on the ball of my foot. These days I don't run at all, but if I did I'd love to try those toe-shoes. I'd get a kick out of seeing the reactions from other people as I went by!

  • AlisonH


    You know, if they came in 6.5 EE (yeah, fat chance) I would wear them just to embarrass my kids. Except that it probably wouldn't. They'd probably tell me I was rocking those shoes. Go, wear, have fun! (They do need a watergun-y squirting flower as an accessory.)

  • Anonymous


    LOL. Those shoes are just goofy looking.

  • meleah rebeccah


    I would definitely rather run barefoot than in those things!

  • mrsmouthy


    Dude, that's kind of crazy. But if the shoe fits…

  • Rachael


    Those shoes are crazy. I have a friend who has some, she is not a runner, she just wears them around. I say go for it – if it feels good on your feet. I see stranger things all the time.

  • mrs. miss alaineus


    i run barefoot on my trampoline. i started wearing shoes when i messed up my heel playing basketball. i'm hoping to return to regular activity in the next week or two and after reading this, will definitely not be wearing shoes. i never put the added pain = wearing shoes but i tried it out today without my supportive shoes and it was fun again!

    ps came by way of heather.

    xxalainaxx

  • Valerie


    A lady was wearing these in zumba class last night. I kept racking my brain to remember where I'd read about them and remembered your post.

    I was watching her feet during the whole class and was completely intrigued by them.

    I asked her afterward how she likes them, and she said she loves them. She said, "you know how when you come home and take your shoes off after work, and your feet are so relieved? When you take these off, your feet feel the same, because they've been comfy all day."

    My response: You wear them to work?! (it probably came across as rude as it sounds here…oops!)

    She said she wears them everywhere. I say, good for her!

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