Are Barefoot Running Shoes an Oxymoron?

So I am going to run barefoot, and yet I bought a pair of Barefoot Running shoes? What gives? Are Barefoot Running Shoes an oxymoron?

From www.dictionary.com : Oxymoron – a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in “cruel kindness” or “to make haste slowly.”

My short answer is – Yes. Today in fact, I went to www.oxymoronlist.com and submitted “Barefoot Running Shoes” as a new oxymoron.

By the way www.oxymoronlist.com is a really fun webiste that lists 100’s of oxymorons.

If the point of running barefoot to get away from running shoeswhy would someone wear Barefoot Running shoes?

Great question!!!

To know why you might want to get away from running shoes see my posts Running Shoes Damage Your Feet – Run Barefoot (Insanity! or Maybe Not) and Why Might Barefoot Running be Better For Your Feet.

My Vibram FiveFingers “Running Shoes”  www.vibramfivefingers.com are really more like gloves for my feet than they are shoes. They even have spaces for my toes like gloves have spaces for fingers.

I have loved running in them and I got them for #3 reasons –

#1 Because that guy who ran barefoot in the book Born to Run (Barefoot Ted) wore them .

#2 REI carried them. Right when I got back from vacation I received in the mail my membership rebate from REI and I was able to use my rebate to buy them.

#3 I looked them up online and what I read resonated with me.

Since then I  have done a lot of research on Barefoot Running and I am very glad that I bought the brand of Barefoot Running shoes that I did.

The reason to wear Barefoot Running Shoes when running barefoot to have something on your feet to protect your feet from glass and little rocks etc.

There is not much to FiveFingers and they do a great job of protecting my feet from Glass etc and they do a great job of helping my feet to feel the ground. (see my post Why Might Barefoot Running be Better For Your Feet to know why that matters)

It seems that a number of shoe companies think that if they throw a Barefoot Running shoe label on a shoe that people who want to run barefoot will buy it and sadly hey are probably right.

If you want to run barefoot and you want to get a barefoot running shoe, get a barefoot running shoe that is as little like a traditional running shoe as possible. In this case less is more.

The key word is minimal. Get  a minimal shoe.

Remember according to Barefoot Running theory-  thick padding is bad. supporting an arch is a good way to weaken it, Thick heels on running shoes can hurt you.

From Harvard Science :http://www.barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu/5BarefootRunning&TrainingTips.html

“Minimal Shoes A great way to learn to forefoot strike is to try it first barefoot on a hard but smooth surface like a tennis court, a track or even a smoothly paved road. Your body will quickly tell you what to do! But until you develop good form and build up calluses on your feet, you’ll want to wear minimal footwear to forefoot strike. There are many minimal shoes with several features that allow you to forefoot strike:

  • No built up heel. If the heel is too large, then you’ll have to overpoint your toes, which might cause pain and damage to the foot.
  • A flexible sole and no arch support. A stiff sole and arch support will prevent the natural flattening of the arch, preventing the muscles and ligaments of the foot from functioning as they were meant to. If you can’t easily twist and bend the sole of the shoe, then it is probably too stiff. At first this will work out and tire the muscles of your foot, but eventually with progressive training the muslces will strengthen.”

My other Barefoot Running related posts are

Born to Run – Book Review

Running Shoes Damage Your Feet – Run Barefoot (Insanity! or Maybe Not)

Barefoot Running Websites  – 5 Interesting Ones

Why Might Barefoot Running be Better For Your Feet?

Barefoot Running Shoe Options and Barefoot Running Tips

This entry was posted in Barefoot Running, Sports and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Are Barefoot Running Shoes an Oxymoron?

  1. chestahkiwi says:

    Hey I bought vibrams myself. I ended up tearing my ACL, of no fault of the barefooting, but I just started running minimal again. I love it. I do my crossfit workouts in them as well, and they are great. I am blogging about it as well. “Big Man Goin’ Barefoot”. Good luck, and keep it up. Born to Run is an amazing book by the way.

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