Barefoot running is a new trend in the world of running. Studies have shown that working some barefoot runs into your regular routine will strengthen your feet and legs as well as improve form. Vibram Five Fingers shoes accommodate a natural barefoot experience while protecting feet from the hazards commonly found on urban footways. As I head up and over the Blue Heron bridge, little rocks, broken beer bottles, and rusty fish hooks litter the side walk. Naturally, I sidestep these hazards, but if my eye misses a small piece of glass, the Vibram soles protect my flesh.
These modern day moccasins are fun to wear. They weigh a fraction of my New Balances. I'm reminded of summer time as a kid when I went three months solid without shoes on my feet. My run times drop and my form changes while I wear these. Why? Simple. Without pieces of foam rubber strapped to my feet, my feet cause my body to self-adjust my form and posture. That's how God designed our feet. The arch is the strongest shape in architecture. But man didn't invent it. God did. Man simply co-opted God's design into man-made structures.
Studies show that expensive running shoes with claims of reducing foot injuries actually increase the chance for injuries (Robbins and Gouw, 1991). Sounds logical if the sensitivity of a self-adjusting foot is insulated with rubber.
These Vibram Five Fingers take some getting used to. For close to a month I've been wearing them for three runs a week ranging from three miles to five miles. I've enjoyed measurable improvement. This weekend I'm going to run in excess of ten miles in them. I'll let you know how it goes.