Tynan loves his barefoot sandals

Posted by | Posted in Barefoot Running Shoes, Running Sandals | Posted on 23-09-2010

This just in from Tynan:

I stumbled upon a company called Invisible Shoe. They send you a rectangle of 4mm thick Vibram sole material, some rope, and you get to build your own shoes, called huaraches, according to the directions on the site.

So, one rainy afternoon about six months ago, I found myself huddled on the floor of my RV, using my Ryobi drill to bore holes in the rubber to feed the rope through. The resulting sandals looked ridiculous, and I somewhat timidly made the two block walk to Samovar. But, six months later, I now think they look pretty cool. I’m willing to concede that I might just be influenced by how enjoyable they are to wear, though.

The shoes basically fade away, and you feel like you’re barefoot all the time. Unlike regular sandals, they have rope around the heel, so they stay on well enough to run comfortably. I’ve put hundreds of miles on them, both walking and running, and have never wished for another shoe. I don’t really expect many people to give up all other shoes for these things, but they also make a great secondary shoe. They’re so small that you can easily stash them in your backpack. Or in your pocket, as I did when skiing last year. I’d walk to the Gondola in the sandals, then put on my socks and boots on the way up to the mountain, rather than robot walking the whole way there.

For now, these are the best barefoot shoes you can get.

(Needless to say, we agree ;-) )

Barefoot running isn’t just running barefoot!

Posted by | Posted in Barefoot Running | Posted on 14-09-2010

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending the Naked Foot 5k barefoot race. Actually, it was a series of races including a kids race and a 1mile race and the 5k.

It was a beautiful Colorado day, the course was wonderful, the organizers did a great job… but the runners scared the crap out of me!

Of the 45 or 50 runners, a handful were barefoot (including Michael Sandler, author of Barefoot Running, who put in a FINE performance), and many wore VFFs.

But regardless of whether they were totally barefoot or minimalist, the majority of the runners had one thing in common:

They ran exactly like they were in shoes!

Frankly, I’d never seen anything like it. Heel striking, over-striding (reaching your foot out in front of your center of mass), pulling against the ground instead of placing your foot under your body, pushing off with the toes instead of lifting the foot…

It was watching people land on their heels that really blew me away (aside from the fact that the sound of their feet slapping on the ground just plain scared me).

The point of barefoot running isn’t to simply take off your shoes and do the same thing you were doing in shoes. It’s to LISTEN to your body, to adjust your stride so that it doesn’t hurt when you run. And, trust me, running barefoot as if you’re in shoes HURTS.

And you could see it in the runners — the ones with good barefoot form finished the race and were tired from running but they had no problems with their feet. The ones with bad barefoot form had blisters and tears and abrasion. Their feet were hurting.

A number of those runners came up to me after the race (I had an Invisible Shoe booth) and showed me their battle-scarred feet, some with a sense of pride (“Look what I endured!”) and others with resolution to “toughen up their feet for next time.”

I did everything I could to explain how running barefoot is not a matter of pushing through the pain, or developing callouses. That it’s an opportunity to naturally find a light, easy stride that you can maintain without harming yourself. It’s about being kind. It’s about listening. It’s about learning to make adjustments. It’s about becoming your own coach.  It’s about more than just the fun of being out of shoes… it’s about FUN for its own sake.