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The shoes that mimic running barefoot

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steven johnson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-20-09 07:46 PM
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The shoes that mimic running barefoot
While 'barefoot running shoes' have many claims made, the research suggests that:
"Contrary to Willy's hypothesis, all subjects exhibited higher average vertical load rates, higher tibial shock values, and greater dorsiflexion at foot strike while running in the minimal shoes. In fact, during the minimal condition, several subjects exhibited average vertical load rates and tibial shock values that have been associated with an increased risk of tibial stress fractures. Willy concluded that running in minimal shoes does not appear to mimic barefoot running mechanics as identified in the literature, and it appearsat least in the short termto increase loading of the lower extremity compared with running in standard shoes."

The barefoot running movement has built up serious momentum over the last few years, as followers have raved about the joys of ditching your trainers in favour of your own two feet. The health benefits, they say, are numerous, avoiding such perils as aching knee joints and damaged foot tissue, associated with over-cushioned training shoes. Many, including founder Ken Bob Saxton, even run marathons barefoot.

This all sounds well and good when picturing an idyllic jog across a field or beach, but for city runners faced with pavements littered with dog mess and broken glass, it does not have quite the same allure.

However, help is at hand from outdoor gear manufacturer Vibram, which has developed shoes that make you feel like you aren't wearing any. These aren't the emperor's new clothes; you are actually donning a pair of lightweight trainers when you wriggle into the FiveFinger footwear range.

The sales assistant is quick to reassure me that I'm speedier than most, but it still feels like a game of "this little piggy goes to market" as I manoeuvre myself into each slot. Once in, Vibram claims my new 98.99 footwear will mimic the child-like joy of shoelessness, and aid balance, stability and propulsion.

The shoes that mimic running barefoot

Nike Free series - The first shoe to mimic barefoot running. The best way to describe this shoe to you is, imagine wearing a sock with extra cushion on the bottom. There are no synthetic overlays on top to restrict movement, so the featherlight materials in the upper completely conforms to the shape of your foot. The midsole has deep longitudinal and horizontal cuts throughout, which allow the shoe to flex in every possible direction. The shoe is so flexible that you can actually roll it up. Nike uses a barefoot grading system of 0-10, with zero being completely barefoot and ten being shod. Currently, Nike Frees are made at levels 7, 5, and 3. Beginners are strongly encouraged to start with 7 and work their way down. Advanced runners can go straight to levels 5, or even 3. When you purchase a pair of Nike Frees it comes with a helpful guide for proper training. To learn more, visit .

Vibram Five Fingers - You won't get closer to barefoot than this. Five Fingers take it to the next level by giving you even more foot function than Nike Frees. As lightweight and flexible Nike Frees are, they still have the shape of a shoe. When landing barefooted, the foot flattens and the toes spread. To get true barefoot motion, you must have flexible materials and absolutely nothing constricting the toe area. With individual places to place each toe, Vibram Five Fingers give your foot 100% free range of motion. They even mimic the fat pads and flex points found at the bottom of a person's foot. The materials in Five Fingers are lightweight, stretchable, breathable, and durable. They truly are a second skin to your foot, so you can enjoy the benefits of barefoot running without the nuisance of exposure. To learn more, visit .

Barefoot Running Shoes -

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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-07-09 12:33 AM
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1. Lettow-Vorbeck in East Africa during WWI tried out bare foot as opposed to shows
Lettow-Vorbeck did the experiment himself, first walking along the foot paths of then German East Africa(Later Tanganyika and today Tanzania)(found out he could go miles in his bare feet on the foot paths of East Africa but once he wondered into the grass lands his feet were cut to pieces by the grass. He then went to a native show maker and learned to make shoes as the natives did at that time (we are talking 1914-1915) and used them for himself and his men (He help trained his men in making their own shoes). His supply carriers were often bare footed but never his infantry.

Just a comment that bare foot walking and running is over-rated.

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