Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Just Keep Running

Yesterday I grabbed my new Puma NightFox TR running shoes, and headed towards the gym. I bought these visions of green and blue Puma technology in January and have kept them in their own special carry bag since then. I like to keep my running shoes in pristine condition and only wear them during actual running. This of course, makes me one of those nerds walking into the gym with a bag of shoes slung over one shoulder.

As I drove to the gym, ready for some quality time with a tread mill, I started to mull over why my “strictly running” shoes were not the answer to my shin pain. Even with all the support and cell technology built into these shoes I was having the same problem. Heel strike. I have never been able to really change my stride. It has improved; my crippling shin splints have decreased dramatically with training how to run on my forefoot instead of smacking down on my heels, yet after any amount of running I still had soreness and pain in my lower legs. This is due to the tendons and muscles surrounding the tibia being unable to absorb the shock I force this muscle group to absorb in my bad running form.

When researching how to correct my stride and relieve my pain, I found that proper foot landing during running was critical, but improper footwear, including worn-out shoes can also contribute to shin splints. This is when I started treating my heavily padded Pumas as if they were my children. My new kids were disappointing me. I thought back to an article in Runner’s World* about barefoot running. Proponents of the barefoot movement argue that barefoot running is healthier for feet and reduces risk of chronic injuries, notably repetitive stress injuries due to the impact of heel striking in padded running shoes. Figuring that I would try anything, I stopped off at my local REI store. After no less than five associates warning me to break them in SLOWLY, I strapped my new Vibram FiveFinger shoes on and headed to the gym.

The United States Army recently banned the use of Vibram FiveFinger toe shoes for image reasons* I can see why, they… take awhile to get used too. On my walk from the car, through the locker room, and to the treadmill I had four people stop and ask me how they felt to wear. In spite of the friendly sales associates at REI warning me that if I didn’t break them in slowly my feet would fall off from pain, I hopped on the treadmill and took off.

I would like to report that my feet did not, actually fall off. Today, they feel… amazing actually. My normal feeling of shin splints is non-existent. The barefoot feeling forced me, without me knowing, to land correctly on the treadmill’s belt. Yes, these shoes force unwanted attention down to my toes, but with the help they give me running I’m okay being a toe exhibitionist.


Anonymous said...

I really cannot believe they have not come up with a Tow Modesty Panel.... such an improvement that would be! cn

Daemon Ἴκαρος~ Δαμων said...

I love all my Vibrams. Bought my first pair a few years ago when they came out. Now am anxiously awaiting their new snow boot!


Daemon Ἴκαρος~ Δαμων said...


Wonder Man said...

A lot of students wear them here

Erik Rubright said...

I Love my Five Fingers. I wish Vibram would work with Converse and make some that looked like Chucks though.

Blobby said...

I could not get Vibrams to fit me comfortably enough. I couldn't separate my little toe to get it into its own compartment. But a work-around was the New Balance minimal shoe - the sole made by Vibram, but without those fingers.

They have helped immensely with a tendon problem when I do cardio. It's not the end-all, be-all, but they help.

cb said...

I LOVE my Vibrams... but can't get used to running in them. Oh, probably because I hate running and only do it once a week or so.