Fitness Guy, Al Kavadlo gave his review of Invisible Shoes huarache “barefoot” running sandals on his popular blog.
Says Al, “Invisible Shoes are the closest thing that I have seen to actual barefoot running. They’re based on the famous “huaraches” that the Tarahumara Indians wear when they run. Putting them on made me feel like a Native American warrior!”
Al also emailed me to let me know, “I’ve found that the I-shoes are great for my strength training workouts as well as running. Check out this youtube clip of me working on muscle-ups in my Invisible Shoes!”
This week’s (5/18) HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel did a feature on barefoot running.
Did they get it right, or not?
Well, overall, I’d say they were right on… with one exception I’ll mention in a moment.
They repeatedly pointed out that there are no studies that prove barefoot running reduces injuries, nor are there studies that show running in shoes causes them.
They emphasized that if you want to make the transition to barefoot, you should start slow — run for a short amount of time and distance (and build up slowly) to let your body learn to handle the new demands
Chris McDougal repeatedly qualified his statements with “I believe…” And it’s true, those of us who have moved to barefoot have our anecdotal evidence that we use to support us.
What they missed:
The point that Olympic athletes wear shoes is, in certain ways, irrelevant. Why? Because 99.9% of us are not Olympic athletes putting in the mileage they do, or running the speeds they do. And because if you look at their form, it’s closer to barefoot than your average heel-striking jogger.
The Nike Free is far from being a “barefoot shoe.” Sure it flexes really well (and, full disclosure, I have 3 pair that I used to love wearing… but it’s been a year since I last put mine on), but it has a big, padded, wide heel.
Ditto on the Vibram Five Fingers (I love how they pronounced it correctly — VEE-bram!). The VFFs have a lot more structure and support, plus a thickened sole on the ball of the foot and heel.
And, of course, the biggest thing they got wrong was right in front of their face! HUARACHES! They talked about the Tarahumara running in huaraches, but when they gave advice about protecting yourself from things you could step on (or in!) in our modern world, they neglected to mention huarache running sandals (let alone Invisible Shoes… even though they had some film of runners in I-shoes).
Sonja came up with this novel way to tie your huarache running sandals that doesn’t involve a cord coming up between your toes. As she points out, one potential drawback is that your foot can more easily shift forward on the sole compared to what happens when you have the cord between your toes… but, especially for people who have real trouble with that toe cord, or with the knot, you may want to try this out.
I LOVE that people are getting so creative with huaraches!