Barefoot Running Shoes?

I noticed that when I’ve been running lately, I’ve been having a lot of heel pain. I went to the doctor, who told me that there was nothing structurally wrong with my foot and suggested that I make an appointment to see a podiatrist. He also mentioned wearing different shoes when I run. I guess sometimes the cushion in shoes breaks down faster than we realize and only comes to our attention when it gets painful. I felt like my running shoes weren’t all that old, and I do wear different shoes for work and the weekend, so I didn’t think that was the problem.

However, because he has a medical degree and I don’t, I decided to take his word for it and order different running shoes as well as a foot callus remover to tidy up my feet. After doing a bunch of research, I decided to try some barefoot running shoes. Yes, those funny looking ones with the toes! They seem to encourage more of a toe/front foot style running instead of a typical heel strike. I wondered if that was actually causing my problem, so I ordered a pair. I chose the purple because I figured people are going to look at me weird anyway, I might as well give them something to look at! I also ordered some toe socks but wasn’t sure if I would end up wearing them.

The shoes came and then there was the whole sock/no sock dilemma. I tried the socks on and hated them. They just felt super weird. The shoes are supposed to be antimicrobial so I might be able to get away with not wearing socks. It took several tries to get the shoes on. They were super snug. I finally managed to get them on and just stared at them for a while. I looked weird. But the shoes, now that they were actually on my feet, felt more like a glove than shoes. I test-walked around my house. It felt super odd at first because my brain knew that I had shoes on, but I could still feel the floor. Then I decided to go on a little walk to try them out.

Walking on the sidewalk also felt odd—like I was wearing shoes but not wearing shoes. It’s hard to explain. After I had walked all the way around the block, I decided to try running. This is going to sound strange, but it reminded me of running when I was a kid. I had this vision of me running barefoot across the grass with my cousins. That’s what it felt like. Running barefoot. I did find myself putting more weight on my toes once I got my bearings and tuned in to my body. I ran the same lap around the block I had just walked and then stopped. I could tell that I was using muscles in my legs and feet that I don’t typically use to run and I didn’t want to hurt myself.

They are definitely different, and I can see how they could either be the answer to all my problems or I’ll end up hating them. For now, I think I am going to continue to work with these and see how I do. I’ve also got a podiatrist appointment in two weeks, and if I have anything to report from that visit (or if he tells me to stop wearing the barefoot shoes), I’ll let you know.