Acting Natural: Barefoot Running Shoes

Running shoes have been changing and developing every year as shoe companies like Nike, Adidas, and Puma attempt to create the perfect running shoes. However, as the Olympics continue, I’m reminded that the Ancient Greeks used to run barefoot (and stark naked, and they were all men. Just imagine…)

Anyway, I’ve read a number of articles in health magazines and online that running barefoot is actually better for you than running in shoes. Somehow, running barefoot makes the foot hit the ground in a more natural way that does quite a bit less harm to your knees and back. So, as companies strive to create the perfect running shoe, I wonder, will they ever strike perfection? Of course, they will always continue to get business, because very few people want to run in their bare feet, especially outside. And running shoes come in a splendid array of colors and a variety of styles to attract all kinds of different runners and appeal to each individual style. Personally, I own a pair of purple and white Adidas running shoes (that need replacing, what with the tears and all).

In a sort of indirect (and perhaps misguided) homage to the Ancient Greeks, shoe companies have developed barefoot running shoes (an oxymoron, no?) with toes and all. During my time at the gym, I have seen a total of 3 people, all young men, running with their toe shoes. I won’t lie: they looked ridiculous. Instead of looking more natural, they tended to look more awkward and uncomfortable. Maybe they just weren’t utilizing the shoes correctly, or their form was off.


Either way, I still question the practicality of these shoes. If they’re really barefoot, why do we need them at all, when without shoes, we are magically barefoot? I understand no one wants to run barefoot in a gym, but at least it’s not the outdoors. And if the Ancient Greeks did it in the rugged outdoors, why can’t we do it on the track in a gym? I mean really, they’re feet: they’re meant to walk on the ground. Considering the costly price (the cheapest I’ve seen is $64 smackers) of barefoot running shoes, I honestly would suggest imitating the Greek running method (keep your clothes on, though). Endeavor to go all in, and try the au naturel style, or wear socks: close enough to being barefoot. In a gym, the risk for glass shards, rocks, or other uncomfortable walking surfaces are very low, so no worries there. Sure, your feet might get a bit of dirt on them, but you were going to shower after that sweaty workout anyway, right? Don’t worry about it – go old-old-school, take your shoes off, and run your heart out. And forget the oxymoronic barefoot shoes.

Written By: Mary B.

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