Barefoot Running Convert

by Theresa Renner on May 27, 2010

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“Wow! You must have strong feet!” The elderly lady in the wheelchair, and her caretaker, gaped as I ran past them, barefoot.

I grinned over my shoulder and said, “Well, God made feet perfect the first time, right? Why screw things up by putting shoes on?”

I’ve always been a minimalist; I’ve always looked for the simplest, most natural way of doing things. When I learned about barefoot running making a “comeback”–as described in this New York Times article–it made perfect sense to me.

When I found out about “barefoot running shoes,” I was ecstatic. I live in North Idaho, and we use gravel and sand, not salt, to melt snow, so our roads are covered in gravel year-round.

I love my Vibrams, the “five-finger” barefoot shoe. I was only running barefoot to give it a try, and I discovered I definitely prefer to have a layer of rubber between me and sharp rocks. After I started wearing the Vibrams, I went back to my regular running shoes a couple of times, but I felt like I had 2 x 4s strapped to my feet. Miserable.

I think the defining moment for me was when I was doing a 9-mile run, my longest run up to that point. In Mile 8, I suddenly realized I was running UP a hill, and I hadn’t even noticed. The non-shoe shoe allows such natural movement, the hill was nothing. Barefoot, or almost-barefoot, is definitely the way to go.

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