19:57 Friday 01 March 2013

Barefoot running with Vivobarefoot

Written byGEOFF MERRYWEATHER

Vivobarefoot Evo II

Priced RRP £90, www.vivobarefoot.com

Review by Geoff Merryweather

Over the past few years the trend for barefoot running has been increasing due to the numerous suggested benefits including injury prevention.

The theory behind barefoot running is actually quite simple, with the removal of heel cushioning provided by regular running shoes you are forced to run correctly with far less heel strike and far more forefoot strike, moving runners away from unnatural and unskilful jogging towards a more natural and skilled style of running.

Vivobarefoot, founded in 2003 by sixth generation shoe maker Galahad Clark, believe natural running is a skill to be learned, with the shoes being only a small part of the whole process.

To this end, Vivobarefoot sent me a pair of their Evo II shoes to try, along with a book full of information on how to get started with barefoot running, starting with regular exercises like jumps, squats and walking around as much as possible barefoot.

I decided to start my barefoot running journey in the safety of my local gym, getting onto the treadmill I started by just walking in the shoes getting used to the peculiar feeling of such a thin and uncushioned shoe.

Before long, I was up to my usual running speed and I noticed for the first time how heavily I normally land on my heel, but as soon as my body got used to the discomfort things began to change in a short space of time, with the way my feet made contact actually changing towards the fore of my foot, strangely enough the sound of my feet hitting the treadmill also changed from a heavy thud to more of a slap – something the Vivobarefoot information said would happen.

After I couple of trial runs I was beginning to feel really comfortable in the barefoot shoes, which are particularly well made and feel exceptionally comfortable with obviously no need for socks either.

I soon found also that my running pace was starting to speed up, feeling the need to increase the treadmill speed to avoid catching up with the front of it.

Another benefit of this barefoot revolution means I am now running correctly even in my regular trail running shoes too.

As I finish writing this, I am about to embark on my first set of barefoot runs outside of the gym and plan to report about the Evo IIs again in another month or so to see how both the shoes, and my barefoot running are progressing.

 

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