Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Is there a threshold turning point?

I've been running in Luna sandals (and barefoot) exclusively for over 1 week and I'm feeling great. The Luna sandals are the least restrictive of any shoe I've run in (of course nothing equals the barefoot experience). I've put the Luna's to the test including yesterday's hard track session (this was after a morning 40 min. easy run as I doubles on Tuesday) of 4 sets of 400x300x200 at paces in the low 5:00's.

I usually gauge the workout by how sore my feet are the next day, including paying close attention to my plantar and Achilles. The next day I felt great and in fact I did a short 30 min. recovery run this morning and that's as good as I've felt for my Wednesday morning recovery run, which is usually a tough run having completed a double on Tuesday.

What I've noticed by increasing my barefoot and Luna running, which is consistent with what I experienced in the past when I've gone 100% barefoot, is that's it coming more difficult to wear traditional running shoes and even racing shoes. My toes are starting to expand and widen as they did when I ran exclusively barefoot. Additionally, anything other than the most minimalist amount of cushion negatively impacts my sensory feedback system and I lose the level of control I have while barefoot or in Luna's (I would add the Ultra to the mix but I'll give a slight advantage to the Luna which I'll explain).

The Luna is allowing my feet to move much closer to how they would move while barefoot with no toe box or restriction around the ankle to allow free movement of all the muscles and tendons in my foot and ankle. This is why I give the Luna a slight advantage over the Ultra because while they both have about 6mm of sole, the Luna provides a firmer sole which is more consistent with the actual ground but, more importantly, the freedom of the toes and ankles gives it the slight advantage.

With that said, I'm wondering if there's a point where after so much barefoot and barefoot-like running, do you pass a threshold where you feet start to return to their natural state thus making 99% of current market footwear uncomfortable? We know current shoes are "not" designed with the natural functioning of the foot in mind otherwise we wouldn't have narrow toe boxes and elevated heels, and that's the obvious.

If the concept of shoes is to protect the foot from the elements, such as the terrain and/or weather, then putting cushion to the side as perhaps cushion is fine or at least not the primary focus point, but how do you explain restricting the toes with narrow toe boxes and elevating the heel above the base of the foot? I suspect I've reached a point where both of those features are untenable.



  1. Hello.
    After a couple of months using huaraches, and mainly the las two months that I've been testing products for a running sandals startup, I've come to similar conclusions. Running in huaraches is the closest to running barefoot, and finally I've got rid of some Achilles soreness I was suffering even running with VFF or Neo. I feel now that my running form is far better.

    My next test is to use the huaraches on hard stoney trails, and see if my form let's me deal with this kind of terrain.

  2. I would agree, at least in my experience, that huaraches are the closest to the barefoot experience even when huaraches have a bit more sole and cushion than other minimalist shoes because of the freedom the construction of the huaraches provides by not restricting the toes, plantar or achilles. The only other footwear that would come close would be traditional mocs.



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