So the first part of this post is going to seem a bit irrelevant and seemingly unrelated to shoes, but I guarantee it is of some purpose here. Because it is all part of this overall skepticism I have on anything that promotes better health for people, while in turn is actually taking away their responsibility to pursue a healthy lifestyle. And coming to mind right away is in the area of food, when there are products running rampant in grocery stores (and ‘health’ food stores) that advertise seemingly healthier choices to consumers, but it is by means of introducing something quite artificial into the body. I mean think about it, to make something (like mayo, sour cream, yogurt, cheese, milk, butter, eggs…) be more waist-line friendly in terms of fat and calorie content, you can conclude that some serious engineering has had to be done to make it that way. Whatever the end result of all that extra processing is, it seems to me, an imitation and can’t truly be considered a real food anymore that your body can properly handle; which the thought of consuming something like that just scares me! And I really feel in a sympathetic way that such items are just false enablers of guilt-free eating; they allow people to think they are doing something healthy for their body, when really they are causing harm. But that is just me. And there are probably some pride issues in that reasoning that I need to deal with and I also know that my logic on things is by no means accurate most of the time (just ask Rob!) Still, those are my convictions on the matter and I am sticking strongly to them (well at least until I hear convincing evidence to believe otherwise…)
Anyways, I only mention my thoughts on the area of food because I feel my my guard is up and I don’t usually fall prey to such promotions. But, as I am realizing now, perhaps I am a victim of such propaganda in a different area; one where I think I am doing something good and protective for my body, when really I am doing more harm by its use. And with that, I will finally get to the main topic of this post, which is running shoes. Because I am wondering now if my purchasing and using such hi-quality engineered running shoes (those that claim great support, superb shock-reduction, unrivaled cushioning, insoles for pronation… and a host of other break-through technologies) have been of any true help to me at all in becoming a stronger runner with reduced injuries. Or if it has instead hindered me and made things worse? I certainly have not been without running pains while logging up the miles, as I have suffered much from knee problems, shin splints, muscle pulls, iliotibial band syndrome, oh and I can’t forget blisters and loss of toe-nails (I know – gross!)
But I never found fault with the shoe, I just chalked it up as something I had to deal to with as a runner. Until now…
Because I am very pleased to discover that maybe, I don’t need any extra help from shoes with my running after all. And maybe, my usual injuries can be reduced (or eliminated altogether!) by actually staying away from shoes that boast to enable me (with all these great sounding functionalities) to be a better runner. There is much talk these days of the benefit of bare-foot running (and if you are curious, a quick google on the subject will return loads of information – all extremely interesting!!) And also coming out of this exciting-for-me running news, are shoes that allow you to partake of the advantages from running bare-foot (i.e., they don’t mess with how your body needs to properly engage all the supporting structures of your feet and legs while running) yet they still protect your feet from the terrain.
This information was intriguing to me, for sure! And after spending much time researching the matter and talking with folks that have these new shoes, I was sold! So convinced was I that I ‘needed’ these shoes that I was very willing to throw down a whole month and half worth of my blow/clothing allowance to make a purchase!! Because if these do what they say they do, every penny will be worth it.
They are called vibrams and you can check out the website here: www.vibramfivefingers.com
and this is a quick blurb on their website:
The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised.
Many experts believe the shoes we wear not only cast the foot in a protective form, but also weaken our foot and leg muscles, leaving them underdeveloped and more prone to injury. And while there are many occasions where traditional footwear is essential for protection, safety, and security, it is equally important to stimulate and exercise the foot in a more natural state on a regular basis.
That’s why we recommend wearing FiveFingers for exercise, for play, and for fun. Stimulating muscles in your feet and lower legs will not only make you stronger and healthier, it improves your balance, agility and proprioception.
I know this all could be too good to be true and I am preparing myself for a sad ending with this purchase. Because it could be that my use of these crazy-looking shoes won’t have amounted to anything great. Or worse, there is the chance that injuries continue for me in an even more damaging way than ever before : ( But, I am going to run with what my logic tells me about these shoes, and hopefully this time it wont let me down!!