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So as I’ve mentioned a time or two around these parts, I’ve *still* not yet read “born to run” (and I’ll say again, sorry Christoper McDougall), the book that seems to be the tipping point of causing people to ditch their traditional sneakers and buy a shiny new pair of five fingers. At the YMCA where I work, at almost any given time of day you can find *someone* in those ridiculous looking things (don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on the VFF’s, they just make me giggle).
I’m hesitant to use the word “trend”, because clearly we were all born sans-shoes since the beginning of time, and barefoot *is* the way nature intended us to be. Even some famous athletes have been running barefoot since before I was born. But regardless, when this more recent “trend” of barefeoot running came to be so popular, I was smack dab in the middle of working on my bachelors degree in exercise and sport science. So I did what any good student would do: research.
And I liked what I read. It made sense. Barefoot running is more biomechanically sound. Sneakers impede natural movement. And when you start to mess with mother nature, you can get hurt. Shins, ankles, knees, hips, lower back, the dreaded ITband…and on and on. Now of course, there are always exceptions, don’t get me wrong. But for the most part, “au-natural” seems to be where it’s at.
And so I personally decided to transition to more minimal footwear a few years back. Personally, I went the route of Nike Frees (I ran a gamut of models, since they seem to change them EVERY TIME I need a new pair) then Saucony Kinvaras, and even Avia Bolt III racing flats. And for me, it worked. The transition to a mid foot strike took some time and mental effort, but it happened. Shin pain was forever a thing of the past.
I was content.
But recently however, in my new status as “gym rat” (partially by default of working 30 hours a week in a really awesome gym, the other part by choice, because I’m digging all of this lifting) I’ve been thinking more and more about going even more “barefoot”. Let me tell you, there is something scary about attempting the 42″ plyo box with clunky sneakers in the way. So I certainly wasn’t going to go foot-naked. But the toe shoes…I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I know, I know, VFF’s are awesome, toe splaying is good, yaddi yaddi ya. I just kept finding myself hesitant to make that leap.
And then I stumbled upon this post on the wonderful world of facebook. I’ve been out of the new-shoe loop for awhile, so I wasn’t surprised that I hadn’t heard of the Merrell Barefoot line. ZERO heel drop shoes, *with* the super flexible Vibram sole, and no crazy toes.
I needed a pair almost like I needed sleep and water (I was lacking on both that day).
I instantly face-booked our local shoe guru Ted from Ted’s Shoe & Sport to ask if he carried these. The answer was yes, and by the end of that day, I was the proud owner of a shiny pink and purple (excuse me, marine/mulberry) Merrell Pace Gloves.
|excuse the dirty soles, I’ve already put them to work 🙂|
And while I’m certainly not going out to put any serious mileage on them (I’ll be running this weekend’s Quincy Historic Half Marathon in more traditional shoes), I will say the pace gloves rank right up there with sliced bread. You know, as in the “the greatest thing invented since…” They are so incredibly comfortable it truly is almost like wearing nothing at all. I find myself leaping up the stairs like a gazelle. Plyo box jumps? No problem. Even the dreaded burpee feels easier, as NOTHING is inhibiting my natural movement. I’ve worn them just about everywhere. In fact, I think I need a pair for the gym, a pair for running, and a pair for everything else…like grocery shopping and kid wrangling.
I’ll do a more in-depth review on the Merrell Pace Glove when I put a few more miles/jumps/etc in them. But for now, I just wanted to share my lust for these new shoes. For what it’s worth, this post was not sponsored by anyone. I just really, really love these shoes and had to share. (you can learn more about Merrell barefoot shoes AND the benefits of barefoot running here. ) So stay tuned for part 2…
what are your thoughts on barefoot running?
|click photo for more pictures/info|