Another great teleclass about barefoot running and minimalist footwear

Posted by | Posted in Barefoot Running, Barefoot Sandals, Barefoot Shoes, Barefoot Walking | Posted on 01-12-2012

Thank you barefoot fans!

We had 25 people on today’s teleclass about barefoot running, walking, footwear and more, including a number of people who called in from Europe (I scheduled the call so that Europeans would still be awake and could join us).

If you missed the call, or were on it and want to hear parts again, here it is. Enjoy (click on the arrow, below):

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If you want to download the audio, right click or Ctrl-click on this link: Barefoot Teleclass

On this call, we had a great chat about everything from:

  • Transitioning to being barefoot in cold weather
  • How to walk barefoot
  • The correct foot strike for barefoot walking
  • Becoming your own running coach
  • The difference between barefoot running and running in sandals
  • Getting rid of “slapping” sounds when running in sandals
  • Dealing with objections that schools have to minimalist shoes and, especially, sandals
  • Great cues to eliminate overstriding
  • Is there magic in the idea that your stride cadence should be 180 steps/minute
  • How Xero Shoes have ruined some people’s lives ;-) (it’s not what you think)

I really enjoyed this call and was given one suggestion that I’m going to follow up on, namely, making this a monthly event.

As soon as the new website is up and running (soon, I expect), I’ll include a page that announces when I’ll be scheduling an ongoing Q&A call.

Let the fun continue!

Barefoot Teleseminar

Posted by | Posted in Barefoot Running, Barefoot Walking | Posted on 26-11-2012

Last night (November 25th), we had a teleseminar about all things barefoot, from running to walking to hiking to, well anything else that came up.

It was an open format call where I just answered whatever questions came up. We discussed:

  • Distance running form vs. sprinting form
  • The proper way to walk when barefoot
  • “Front side” vs. “Back side” mechanics
  • Which muscles you should be using when you’re barefoot/minimalist
  • Confusion about foot strike (and clarification about what’s correct)
  • Barefoot running injuries and what’s the best kind of injury you can get (seriously)
  • Why comparing sole thicknesses of minimalist shoes is meaningless
  • What makes Xero Shoes (formerly Invisible Shoes) different than other minimalist footwear, including other sandals
  • and a LOT more…

The call ran about 42 minutes and, no doubt, we’ll be doing more of them in the future. It was a lot of fun.

You can listen to the teleseminar here (click on the arrow):

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

… or download the audio. Right click (or Ctrl-Click) here: Barefoot Teleseminar

If there’s a question we didn’t get to, feel free to ask it in the comments section or on our Forum. I may answer it here, or I may wait and schedule another barefoot teleseminar and dive into it on the call.

Vibrating insoles, bare feet, and balance

Posted by | Posted in Barefoot Shoes, Barefoot Walking | Posted on 03-07-2012

The Wall Street Journal online published an article describing the research of James Collins from Harvard. James wondered why people get less steady on their feet as they get older.

His conclusion: They get less feedback from the ground and lose the ability to balance.

So far so good.

His solution: An insole that provides random vibration to stimulate the nerves in the feet.

Can anyone here think of another way of doing the same thing, but without all the electronic bells and whistles? Anyone? Beuler? Beuler?

If you said, “Take off your shoes!” you win any prize on the second row!

If you said “Take off your shoes! And if you don’t want to step on unpleasant things, wear Invisible Shoes!” you get a prize from the TOP row! ;-)

I discussed this idea with Dr. Michael Merzinich last year. He, too, thinks that the continued lack of sensation that comes from wearing shoes — especially the big orthopedic shoes they put on elderly people who can’t balance! — results in the brain map of your feet “de-differentiating.” In other words, your brain thinks you have a big paddle at the end of your foot, rather than a highly flexible and strong appendage.

And it’s hard to balance a paddle.

If you think about this, it sheds light on another bit of research on balance and the elderly: Studies have shown that Tai Chi can help elderly people regain their balance. But it’s probably not the Tai Chi that’s causing the effect (BTW, I have nothing against Tai Chi… I did it and taught it for years). It’s the time spent barefoot, FEELING the ground.

I hope that someone does a study with Invisible Shoes and balance sometime. I’d place a bet on the outcome.