Sunday, 1 July 2012

Switching to barefoot

When I bought my first pair of Vibram FiveFingers, the Missus had to suspend her embarrassment somewhat to join me in the Run and Become shop in London. Because I could not wait to test them, I went for a couple of breakfast-runs to the Pret store close to our apartment at that time, wearing my black-and-orange KSO's. Those were my first steps in barefoot-type shoes. Before buying these shoes, I had been figuring out the dos and dont's of barefoot-style running and I knew that going cold-turkey would only result in serious and long-term injury.

Like many runners, I am serious about keeping track of my runs and I find much pleasure in keeping my records up-to-date (on my smart-phone for portable reference, in Garmin Training Center on my home PC for storage purposes, in Garmin Connect for reference on the go and sharing with running friends and in my paper calendar just for fun). Still, I will not bore you with the details of the switch from my heavily padded and seriously heavy Asics Kayano 15 to my FiveFingers. What I liked about the transition is that it more or less forced me to do strange stuff such as bring my clunky Kayano's in a bag and switch shoes after increasing distances. I loved to finally be able to leave my regular shoes at home and to slowly start re-building my distances wearing only my FiveFingers.

Switching to FiveFingers was a process of discovery and watching many, many YouTube movies on form, stride, landing, distance and protection while running barefoot. Long before I bought my first pair of FiveFingers, I had been reading up on the subject for two years. In this time, I also hoped to strengthen my own reason for taking the plunge by boring others to pieces with stories of how I would love to try it.
Among the most useful resources were the pointers given in the VibramFivefingers Training Schedule (click here: and the video on the three golden rules of minimalist (and any other type running for that matter) running by Lee Saxby (see below, source:

No purchase is done without at least six months of planning and research (or is that just insecure old me?). I read up on the various models of VFF's on many sites. Justin Owings maintains the Birthdayshoes blog and does very elaborate reviews of all types of minimalist footwear. His work proves to be a great help with each purchase of the type. Additionally, he posts a great number of stories by and about users and their experiences with the different types of shoes. Should you be playing with the idea of getting some minimalist footwear (or are just curious), go visit his blog.

Now, several years later, owning three pairs of Vibram FiveFingers and three pairs of other minimalist shoes, I am beginning to get the feeling that barefoot or minimalist running has become mainstream. Even the Missus has become the proud owner of a pair of Fresca's. Yet, this feeling might be because of the news-sites and twitter-feeds I follow.

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Bernard Baruch

No comments:

Post a Comment