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.