It’s been more than a year since I started running “barefoot” (and yes, I have to admit it was due to the book Born to Run — one of my first of many, and still my favourite, book on running). I do not quite run “without shoes”, but wear either my New Balance Nimbus or my Skechers Go Run 2.
The New Balance was my first barefoot shoe, and it took a while for me to get used to it (my calves would kill me after each >5km run). I still haven’t fully gotten used to it, and have never gone more than 8km in them.
The Skechers, on the other hand, has a bit more padding, and feels more like a racing flat — wonderful light, responsive, and yet with a subtle bounce. I’d gotten it after giving up on the New Balance as a long-distance shoe, because my legs just wouldn’t adapt.
I fell back to my trusty Ascics GT-2170. Though calf pain was no longer an issue, and running long distance in the Ascics brought no problem, I craved the minimalist feel that the New Balance gave me.
One day, I received a flyer on the GoRun2 by Skechers and was immediately intrigued. But it was only after reading some pretty good reviews in Runner’s World that I was persuaded to see the shoes for myself in the shops. And boy did I fall in love with it. It was really light (much lighter than I’d expected), and really flexible.
Having just changed shoes, I didn’t quite have the change available to spend on new ones, so I decided to wait till my old pair wore out. But after a few months, I couldn’t resist and I got myself a pair. Though the first couple of times I did feel a little calf pain (always an issue when I transition to the more minimalist shoes), by the third time I had gotten so used to it I had to park my much more costly (and padded!) Asics aside because it felt more like running in padded bricks.
I’ve since gotten myself a second pair of GoRun2, and have not been disappointed.
The only issue that I’ve faced running with these more minimalist shoes (as opposed to the padded bricks) are the comments that my family of non-runners give me. “Why do you buy barefoot shoes? It’s such a stupid idea. Just go run without shoes!”
I never really had a good rebuttal, could never really articulate the feeling running in those shoes gave me.
Then I came across this from the book Running with Kenyans (by Adharanand Finn):
The barefoot style of running is less about actually being barefoot and more about the way you run.
And that, I must say, is the perfect response.