in The Netherlands

Paleo nostalgia: minimalist running

vibram five fingers, running in CulemborgI bought minimalist running shoes. Throughout human history, running barefoot was the natural way to run. Athletes ran barefoot until the 1970s. But then something interesting happened. The conventional running shoe was invented, heel cushioning, stiff sole and arch support would increase performance and reduce pressure on your feet. A claim that is unsupported depending on which source you ask. In 2009, Barefoot running was on the rise. Largely due to the Vibram Five Finger shoes, which offer protection but no real support, and you are supposed to run almost exactly like you would when you run barefoot. My friend Marc bought some Vibram five fingers and enjoyed them. I had just bought new expensive conventional running shoes. I decided to wait. I ran several half marathons on those conventional shoes, without injury. Until last month, they were up for replacement so I could decide again. This time I bought Vibram Five finger shoes. I was told to start slow on my five fingers, so I did. The first week after purchase I didn’t run. I just walked around the house with them one hour a day. The week after, I made a small run (3km). But at home I discovered I had a lot of blisters. I left them alone until the next weekend and ran 6 km with them. No problems. Today I ran 8km and enjoyed the run.

Image from buildlean

Besides running I have been wearing them during table-tennis as well. With both, the shoes felt very light and I felt flexible. When running, with conventional shoes and a vehicle is approaching towards me, it would be troublesome to jump on the sidewalk and continue running but with my minimalist shoes, I feel I have better balance. Putting the minimalist shoe beside the conventional shoe, the size and weight difference is staggering. I’m still getting used to my new minimalist shoes and running without socks but the vibram five finger shoes seem like a really good purchase.