Archive for August, 2009

Barefoot better? (part 2)

August 5th, 2009 No comments

Lately, I’ve been uncomfortable walking in my big honking old-white-guy mall-walking shoes that apparently mark me as an American tourist in Europe. But they’re walking shoes! And they’re by New Balance! Hm. What to do. So I tried walking about in my little Tai Chi slippers, which kind of look like those water slip-ons. They were surprisingly comfortable, more so than the big walking shoes, despite their sole (ouch) padding coming from the odor-eater insole. 

So, it’s time to change my shoes. You’re welcome.

I’ve decided to forego the Vibram toesy boots for now, mostly because my feet don’t look like those in the photo in the previous post. I now believe that with my longer toes, the Vibram shoes would be uncomfortable, especially for running, which I’d like to try again, to get a regular cardio pattern going.

So yes, I caved to the conventional lock-step foot-mitten oppressive shoe regime. Well, not quite. The path I’ve trod has led me, as you’ve probably read, to believe that we weren’t meant to strike the ground with the heel while running. This means that a mid-foot or forefoot strike is most biomechanically efficient. And that’s all that counts to me, health-wise. If it’s efficient and balanced, letting flexible body parts take impact loads, hey, I’m all for it.

… which brings us to the Adizero Pro.


First, this thing is light. It doesn’t feel like a shoe, but more like a paper mockup of a shoe. But how does it feel? Well, it’s definitely got a forefoot bias, so much that I felt myself lifting off my heels and onto my forefoot in the store. It made me want to run right there. I assumed that was a good thing, so I bought the shoes knowing that I could return them if they showed no wear. Which was fine: no street wear, but the treadmill would be okay.

On the treadmill, I found that my gait had changed. Whether it was the shoes, Tai Chi, Zhan Zhuang or just going barefoot around the house, I found myself landing on the forefoot, that is, the part you stand on when you raise your heels off the ground. I only ran for about 10 minutes (at 6 mph), so it’s not a serious test, but it felt fine. And there was no compulsion to stretch out and strike with the heel. Time for more testing.

Now here’s the kicker: this shoe is marketed to elite runners. Now here’s what Caprice said about that: 

“Elite runners run properly.”

Wow. That makes perfect sense. That’s what makes them elite. It’s not that they’re Lance Armstrong the mutant, but that they run properly. So you too can be an “elite runner”!

I’ll keep you posted. 


By the way, I wore shoes just like these (at left) when running the 1500m and 3000m in high school. Loved ’em. Still have ’em. Let’s see how the Adizeros work on longer distances.

Categories: fitness, interdisciplinary Tags: