Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I bought some new ‘barefoot’ running shoes the other day. I know this sounds like an odd joke but its true. They’re running shoes that are ‘barely there’ (reminds me of bra adds) since the shoes are light and don’t really provide arch and foot support. If you’ve seen them you would probably remember since they usually have the individual toes cut out so they stand out as rather peculiar looking.

I’m always looking at new inventions and ways to waste my money and I’ve had my eye on these for a while. The theory is that you don’t need all the support we currently use and your feet and legs will adjust to the barefoot approach. This seems to go against the current belief that you need loads of support for all the pounding and impact. I did a lot of reading up on the two schools of thought and neither really seems conclusive so I decided to find out for myself.

It’s actually quite interesting in my case since I love to go barefoot or in flip flops when ever I can. But when I buy running shoes the store employees always tell me I have pronation issues really badly and needed some highly supportive shoes. They always bring out extremely old lady looking shoes that I would never wear. Thankfully they always seem to have one or two that look ok. So now I have extremely padded shoes and almost the exact opposite barefoot shoes.

One of the first things I did with my new shoes was show my neighbor. He was excited and a wee bit jealous since I had the new lace up type which weren’t even available in North America until a few weeks previous…or so he informed me. He’s a big fan in case you haven’t guessed that.

The barefoot shoe company recommends a 90-10 split so you can get used not having support. I assume this was provided for some kind of liability issue. Since I hardly ever run I wasn’t sure this applied to me but I used them for working out at the gym, some off road running and a recent ropes challenge/zip line day. They were comfy and a great conversation piece. They worked well on the ropes challenge since I felt like I could grip better until I got to a metal cable I had to walk across. That one hurt a bit as did a root I stepped on when I was running in the woods.

I don’t run often and the jury is still out for me on these shoes…much like all the articles I found about barefooting. I guess they just want everyone to decide for themselves. But my next challenge for them will be rock climbing.

Cat “Ten Toes” Cathy

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