Posted by Barefoot Running | Posted on 18-05-2010| Posted in
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).
Ah, well… next time
Anyone else see the show? What did you think?