Barefoot running

I’ve read a couple of good posts about barefoot running recently, one pro-barefoot from the NYTimes and another, more neutral view on the Science of Sports.

It’s an attractive idea, barefoot; it’s natural, surely, that’s how we used to run and it’s how kids still move for a lot of their early years. And the highly structured shoes we currently run in are a recent invention, less than half a century old. (Witness any number of twentieth century runners run in little more than plimsoles, including New Zealand’s own Arthur Lydiard).

But it ain’t all simple. Most adults in the western world have been in shoes for most of their lives. We’re lazy, we sit at desks, we watch too much tv. There’s not much that’s genuinely ‘natural’ about our lives anymore, whatever natural is. What I like perhaps most about barefoot is the idea that running is light, bouncy and graceful, and not at all macho. Makes running a pretty good antidote to most male sport in New Zealand.

Good stuff to think about, especially concepts of being natural compared to our bodies’ ‘natural’ tendency to adaption. For me, I’ll be buying some neutral lightweight shoes soon to replace my current motion-control shoes.