Having always trained in bare feet wherever possible, I have recently become fascinated with 'barefoot running shoes' as an alternative to trainers. As my style of training is predominantly outdoors, having exposed skin whilst running through woodland has been a bit restrictive and the cause of a few mishaps!
I must say that the latest throughput of contenders in the shoe world (Vibram, Merrell and Vibro) are absolutely terrific and I wish that I had taken the plunge earlier. Not only has my safety been enhanced but I am able to do things that real bare feet or trainers simply wont allow. Balancing, climbing, leaping and running itself have become an absolute joy and I feel like I have a new toy rather than simply a pair of trainers!!
For those of you new to the concept of 'bare foot' then I would advocate taking it slowly as, like most things, rushing in can cause injury. The transition from a heel strike run to a forefoot strike run places all sorts of strains on muscles that have been supported by modern footwear all of your life. It is recommended that you increase your usage by 10% per week until you are up to full time use - this will obviously vary depending on how good your proprioception is currently and how strong your arches and forefeet are.
Anyway - enough babble - get out there and try it. My shoes of choice are the Merrell barefoot trail gloves - especially for a beginners. They work wonderfully and don't look as 'out there' as the 5 Fingers which are without doubt the 'best' but take a lot of getting used to as well as jibes by the uninitiated!
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