These expensive five-toed barefoot running shoes are all the rage but please save your money! Only in America could we take something so simple and basic as barefoot running and turn it into a hundred million dollar business! There are much cheaper alternatives!
The thing I have against these expensive shoes is first, that I fear they cause more health problems than they solve because people dont take time to educate themselves about barefoot running. I see people walking around in them around town and they just use them as normal walking shoes, landing heel first like a jackhammer as they would in their heel-cushioned tennis shoes. Using these cushion-less toed shoes in this manner will result in knee and hip problems. Also, I have seen people running in these shoes exactly as they would with normal running shoes.
The second thing I have against them is that there are much cheaper alternatives! I hate seeing people wasting money on useless fitness devices, be they rocker bottom shoes, toed shoes, or shake-weights. Whats the cheapest way to do barefoot running? Barefoot! First and most important is that you educate yourself about barefoot running, please start by reading my section on my article on efficient running, then find some articles on barefoot running. Now, dont go and start barefoot running on the street, sidewalk or in the grass – recipe for insta-injury! The best place to do this is on hardpack sand at the beach. Best is an ocean beach at low tide because the beach is flat and hard. Running at high tide or along the shore of a lake, the sand is much softer. Running in soft sand is an incredible calves workout but its not barefoot running. Running on the beach has two huge advantages. First, its beautiful and inspires to you run more and second because the hardpack sand gives slightly and is a forgiving place to practice your barefoot running.
OK, so you have no access to hardpack sand – there are some other great alternatives for doing barefoot running. First, a local high school track. Find one that has a rubberized surface. The rubber is easy on non calloused feet and the rubber provides a slight cushion which helps as you learn the barefoot running technique.
So no beach and no rubberized track? Have I got a cheap option for you! My patented split pea technique. Take your favorite pair of running shoes and tape a split pea inside the shoe right under your heel. Should your barefoot technique falter and you start landing heel first, the pea will gently and annoyingly remind you :)
So please, do not waste money on the fad toed shoes! Your money is much better spent on a good pair of running shoes, way cheaper and way more versatile.