A while back I read an interesting article about the Tarahumara in Mexico and their running style. Seems they are widely reputed for there ability to run for extreme distances. They are known to run hundreds of miles, or for days on end. More amazing than that though, is the fact that they do it all barefoot. No hi-tech Nike’s for them, just the amazing machine that is the human foot.
The basic style is that you run on the balls of your feet instead of landing on your heels and rolling to your toes. Modern shoes prevent running on your toes, unless you are perhaps at a full sprint. Interestingly, the barefoot running style allegedly also helps prevent many common running related injuries. People who run barefoot generally have fewer problems with shin splints, ankle problems and knee problems.
Recently I started mulling over the concept again, and wondered what a shoe would look like that allowed you to run as though you were barefoot, but still gave you some protection. I played with the idea a bit, and then searched to see if anyone had made it yet. Turns out the awesome people at Vibram beat me to it with the Five Finger.
I haven’t been able to jog in about a year, because of back problems that are aggravated by the impact of traditional jogging styles. Wearing these shoes, though, I have been able to run 10x as far and still no back pains. Best. Purchase. Ever.
IANAMD, but if you cannot run because of chronic pains in your ankles/knees/back then perhaps you should give them a shot.