Saturday, November 13, 2010

Goodbye running shoes, hallo Vibrams

I took a big black trash bag filled with running shoes to the Goodwill store yesterday.  A three mile drive was all it took to get rid of nearly 5,000 miles of running.  Many seasons of exertion, exhilaration, disappointment and achievement, now unceremoniously bundled into a sack.  A couple of days ago I had separated all my old shoes into pairs, made sure they all had insoles, and piled them up in the garage.  There's nothing pretty or exciting about a pile of used running shoes.  Lying there, they lose all sense of function and grace.  Not an ounce of athleticism, a whisper of speed or a promise of victory.  Just 18 sad-looking pairs of old running shoes.  Hopefully in new hands they can find new life.

It was no sudden rush of altruism which led to me gather up the old shoes.  For several weeks now, I have been running in my Vibram KSO's, hoping that the quasi-barefoot style would help with my vexing left knee injury.  The theory being that running barefoot or practically barefoot is more natural with reduced likelihood of a poorly fitted running shoe having a negative impact on  your feet and legs. No more worrying about pronating or supinating or any of a dozen other shoe-related issues.  Just strap on a pair of Vibrams and your feet will find their own equilibrium.  Running in a pair of Vibrams does do one thing for sure: it shortens the stride. With such minimal heel support, there is no way you can bounce along on your heels as so many runners do.  Without the thick padding under your heel, you are pretty much forced to lean forward, take much smaller steps and land more on the ball and center of the foot.

I'm on week 4 of 'Vibram only' running, and so far so good.  The knee issue seems to be slowly fading away despite my mileage having increased to about 30 miles per week.  Hence the decision to take the big step and get rid of all those Asics.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

Wow, you have a huge collection of old shoes in your garage. Or I might as well go to Goodwill store and get one of your stuffs. I, too, have been using Vibram Five Fingers for almost 6 months now and it feels great, I'm using the Classic one. I love barefoot shoes running and I know these shoes are the new trends these days. In fact, I'm thinking of buying another pair of this shoes next month, maybe KSO or KSO treksport, since local and online stores give out huge discount during Christmas Season. Once, I get the new one, I will going to customize it by adding some few designs and colors to it--sort of like a signature shoes. Check out a sample here.