There’s all this talk about choosing the right shoe for running. But, what do you wear when you’re NOT running? Most runners don’t realize that their everyday shoe plays a big part in the health of their feet and overall running performance.
I’m a big believer in barefoot running. (I think I’ve said that here more than a handful of times.) Barefoot runners prophesize that keeping your feet free from all the support and cushioning from shoes will actually strengthen the tiny muscles in your feet and make it stronger. Some run barefoot all the way, while others advise runners to practice this only once or twice a week.
While I haven’t mustered up the courage to run with my naked feet on the road nor grass (still waiting for my Vibrams, hubby!), I’ve at least gone as close to barefoot as I possibly can when it comes to my everyday shoes.
For the past months, I’ve favored wearing these three pairs of shoes that I hope will strengthen my floppy, flat-feet:
Nike Free 5.0
The Nike Frees are designed to simulate barefoot running by allowing the feet full range of motion. For running, one is advised to gradually break in the shoe and cover short distances first.
At this point in my training, I use no other shoe than my ever reliable Nike Lunar Glides for running. I’ve ran as much as 2km in my Nike Frees (and thoroughly enjoyed the new, barely-there feeling), but running in longer distance in the Nike Frees will have to wait till after Singapore.
However, the Nike Frees have been put to good use on non-running days. These are the first shoes I pull out on dress-down days to the grocery, picking up the kids, casual meetings, and even for traveling (they went with me to Oregon to visit their birthplace!)
I’m flat footed and there is definitely not enough arch support in there. But, that’s the way it should be when it comes to barefoot technology. So far, I haven’t felt any pain nor injury.
My only problem with the shoe is that it gets dirty easily due to the material. But, it’s easily washable.
Web: Nike store
Available at: Nike stores
Sanuk Sidewalk Surfers
“Sanük” in Thai means happiness and balance, and that’s exactly how I feel when I wear my Sanuks. Harping on their “barefoot un-technology,” Sanuk says that they’re sandals (they don’t call them “shoes”) are like natural footbeds that allow your feet to bend naturally when you walk.
My Sanuks have much more thinner soles than the Nike Free; I almost feel the road I’m walking on. Yet, it is very light and comfortable. May I say that it looks cool, too. I feel like a cool surfer runner dudette when I’m wearing them. Yeah right.
Available at: R.O.X.
Fit Flop sandals—“the shoe with the gym built in”—was engineered with barefoot technology in mind. They say it helps you imitate the gait of barefoot walking and gives your foot and legs (and butt!) a workout with each step. I first heard about it on Oprah and when I saw them at R.O.X. I just had to get my hands on them.
Walking in Fit Flop sandals is definitely a different experience. I use the wobbleboard and bozu at the gym to improve balance (an essential in running) and I have a somewhat similar experience when I’m wearing my Fit Flop sandals, of course, to a lesser degree.
The sandals have excellent cushioning, they come in various designs and colors, and best of all, they can be worn with shorts, jeans, and casual dresses. They’re a bit on the bulky side, but surprisingly, they’re very light on the feet. Fit Flop sandals for men are available, too.
Click here for research behind Fit Flop which includes reducing Plantar Fasciitis pain (an injury I suffered from earlier this year.) How cool is that?!
Available at: R.O.X.