Barefoot and Minimalist Running is catching on…

Posted: December 14, 2011 in Barefoot, Fitness, Health, Life, Primal, Running, Shoes, Society, Weight loss
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Morning minio…eherm Puffins,

Today we are going to discuss the letter J…OK, now I’m channeling too much sesame street and Mr. Rogers. But in all seriousness we are going to discuss the paradigm shift in the running community. Let’s face it, barefoot and minimalist running has become all the rage and all the cool kids are doing it. However, conservative members of the running community still feel like we are crazies who don’t understand the harms we are doing to our bodies by not wearing the orthotics and cushioned shoes that these conservatives are peddling. A fellow blogger, Katie Kift, wrote a post recently on this very topic, and I’d like to voice my opinion. HEY, it’s my blog so I’ll do as I please.

In her post, Katie identifies a particularly conservative running store  that wrote a recent article with some slightly anti-shoe remarks. They weren’t saying ditch your shoes like the cool kids, but rather they were saying, or at least the doctor that wrote the article, said that they aren’t sure that overly cushioned shoes are doing anything to prevent injuries. They also said that they didn’t know if running barefoot/without cushioned shoes would solve injury problems either. Very middle of the road and politically correct of them. To some of you, this might not seem like anything important at all. However, to some of us, namely those that like to get on our soap boxes and PREACH BROTHA PREACH, this was a very interesting turn of events. One that we are seeing more and more often. Running stores and podiatrists are beginning to understand or at least flirt with the idea that maybe their corrective orthotics and motion controlled foot coffins aren’t doing what they thought they have been. They are starting to see that maybe there is something to this barefoot thing after all. This is encouraging for us.

As you are aware, I’m not only an advocate of barefoot running, but an advocate of barefoot living as well. I’m a very big supporter of organizations like the Primal Foot Alliance and the work that they do. They have been making great strides in the civil rights of your feet for quite some time now. However, it’s still not accepted in mainstream society. Sure, you get those places up north, which are already barefoot running hot beds, that accept that you are barefoot as you do other things as well. Then there is the south, where I’m from, that find the fact that I’m running without shoes odd, and that I’m walking around without them, in public, down right horrendous. I’m okay with the looks/comments. Doesn’t bother me. My wife and family accept it. Good enough for me. However, I have noticed more and more that running stores are often times more skeptical or reserved than people outside the running community. Why is this? Do they not want our monies? Is barefoot money not as good as shod money? I get to thinking about it to much and my head explodes like the guy from Men in Black.

I don’t think that’s the reason. I think it’s a lack of need to change. They don’t need to accept the minimalist community because their big product producers, Asics/Nike/Adidas/etc, haven’t truly embraced the minimalist movement. Sure, they’ve cobbled together a couple of piss poor attempts at a minimalist shoe. But they are just that, piss poor. They sell because of the brand not because they are good. This is where a change must occur. One of the big companies needs to STRIVE to make the best minimalist shoe on the market. Not one that competes with Merrell, but one that outright beats Merrell. I use merrell as my example because I believe they are the closest to the best barefoot shoe possible. Plus, they recently won the highly coveted Grovie award. That’s the exact same as an Oscar if you ask me. All controlled by one person, and given regardless of what the rest of the world thinks. Amirite? Just kidding Christian, seriously though that’s a pretty schweet trophy they won.  Why? Because they are TRYING! They listen to their consumer base. They has a heart. At the same time, I’m cussing my super wide feet because I can’t get a pair of Merrells to fit. Try as I might, I just can’t do it. Rest assured, I’ll be trying again when their road comes out. But that’s neither here nor there. I still think they are the company to beat, and MOST mainstream running stores that I go into don’t have Merrell, or they carry 1-2 of their shoes. However, you and I see ROWS UPON ROWS of brightly colored nikes and pumas and adidas and what not. Yet none of them are brightly colored minimal shoes. Oh the shoemanity. For the conservative running community to take us seriously and treat us with the respect that I believe we deserve as consumers of product, I believe one of the big guys needs to make a shoe to beat all other minimal shoes. This has to happen. Until then, these conservative running stores will still treat us as outlyers. To me, that’s a problem. I’ve been arguing as of late that we should all be seen as runners first and foremost. Not barefoot runner, not shod runner, not clydesdale or athenas. As runners, regardless of age, sex, color, speed, distance, etc. Running is running. We should all be treated the same, and products should be made readily available for us because we are runners. Just runners who prefer less on our feet. Less is more…More expensive. But that’s a whole other post.

 

What do you guys think?

Until next time,

Puff

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