When I ran the San Antonio Half Marathon in November 2009, I spotted a man in front of me at the start line that had these weird five-fingered sock-like shoes. They weren’t your traditional running shoe, they were flat, lightly padded, went up to his ankle, and, well … weird. He got a few stares and some people asked him about them but I was too focused on beating the front-runner in the race to listen to his response (the front-runner who crossed the finish-line just about the time I crossed the START-line).
Many of you are probably hoping that I’ll go out and test the waters for you, give you my own perspective on whether or not you should pick up the sport (or sock shoes). Well, don’t get your hopes up. I just spent too much money on New Kicks, and more importantly, it just doesn’t seem safe. Is it just me, or is no one worried about the glass or rocks on the road and sidewalks? The article mentions that your feet toughen up, but … I don’t think any “toughened” foot, coming down on a piece of glass at twice your body weight could avoid the pain or inevitable cut. And frankly, I don’t think callused or “toughened” feet are all that attractive on people, especially if you’re female (or male; we’re open on this blog) when you’ve got a pretty little pedicure going on!
The other option is to go the minimalist shoe route, which is what my running friend above was sporting at the half marathon. Again, nope. I can’t be seen wearing that thing!! Thats’ a fashion road hazard!
But seriously, it just seems like a fad to me. It may work for some — and more power to them, I’m all for everyone finding a running method that works for them — but intuitively, rationally, it just doesn’t seem like our feet were meant to run with little to no support. In truth, were we really meant to run at all?
Note that the study they reference in the ABCnews.com article, on the benefits of barefoot running, was partially funded by a minimalist shoe maker. Imagine that?