Hero to Zero: My adventures in minimalist shoes (Day one)

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Ouchouchouchouch. Well, that was weird. Not unpleasant, but certainly unusual.

I’ve just got in from my first outing in the Skechers GoBionic, a steady-paced couple of miles just to test the water. The first thing I realised about minimalist shoes was that, contrary to what I’d allowed myself to imagine, they don’t magically transform you into a forefoot striker. No, what they actually do is highlight just how bone-jarringly awkward a heelstrike can be so that you do everything in your power to run more on the mid or forefoot. I should really point out that landing on the heel isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as the foot lands under the hips rather than way out in front (or in the hungry bear enclosure of your local zoo). But in terms of injury prevention and efficiency of movement, the consensus seems to be that forefoot is the cat’s pyjamas. Anyway, back to the run…

I’ve read quite a bit recently about good running form and correct forefoot technique. But this was all forgotten the very instant I tied my laces and headed outside: “I don’t need technique” I thought to myself as I hurtled clumsily forward, “I have magic shoes”. The next 20 minutes involved a degree of physical awkwardness so severe that it almost went all the way through awkward and out the other side into flawless grace. Almost, but not quite. Rather than the effortless glide I’d hoped for in my minimalist imaginings, I found myself bounding along on my tiptoes, my knees occasionally sproinging (real word) up around my ears with the force of the rebound. I’m eternally grateful for the lack of mirrors on that short route; I must have looked like I was clumsily trying to sneak up on someone a long way away.

Two-and-a-bit miles later I returned home, sweaty but alive. I’ve now taken my first few steps in minimalist shoes, and my legs haven’t fallen off. This might just work.

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8 thoughts on “Hero to Zero: My adventures in minimalist shoes (Day one)

    • I really wanted to do that, but none of the stockists are close enough to make it worthwhile. I think Mr Brooks needs to send me a box crate of stuff to review 😉

  1. Pingback: Hero to Zero: My Adventures in Minimalist Shoes « Born to Plod

      • First time I ran barefoot was on the beach – I frolic’d like a beachcomber, up and down the surf. Felt absolutely ace, no problems at all. Next morning, got out of bed and failed to stand up. 🙂

        It gets better quickly – just start small, half mile or thereabouts and work up. You can increase the distance fairly quickly, in my experience, but that early bit will ease your poor pins into it.

  2. As above, go easy to start with cos your self admission of clumsily trying to adapt to forefoot landing is gonna really say hello to your calf muscles!

    • Cheers Vic – I appreciate the advice.

      Actually been running in them for a couple if weeks now, but only just got round to doing the blog. I think that to begin with I was putting too much emphasis on forefoot, to the point where I was running right up on my toes like a velociraptor. Settled into a lighter gait since, allowing the heels to touch the ground now, albeit briefly and after the forefoot has landed. Feels more natural, but not sure if I’m doing it “right”.

      (I don’t know much about velociraptors)

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