Have you ever noticed how liberating walking on sandy beaches without wearing any shoes on your feet feels, or feeling the natural grassy earth beneath your feet while walking in the park? Not only does walking barefoot feel great, but the growing trend of exercising without the support of cushy trainers could strengthen your feet, ankles and legs.
But for those who want to run freely without debris and dirt scuffing up the bottoms of your feet, these new “glove” shoes give you all the freedom of being barefoot while protecting your skin.
You may have seen the sci-fi looking, form-fitting shoes that look like rubber toe socks becoming more apparent on the streets lately. These “glove” shoes are Vibram FiveFingers shoes that mimic the experience of running barefoot, but at the same time protecting your feet from hazardous debris on the ground.
Vibram first started making these alien looking shoes in 2006, but the trend of running barefoot has grown since Christopher McDougall’s book “Born to Run” depicted how Mexico’s Tarahumara Indians have become great long distance runners from running barefoot or in sandals made from tire rubber.
But is running without the support from cushioned insoles and sturdiness of traditional running shoes bad for your bones? According to McDougall, running shoes have done nothing to prevent injuries and some FiveFinger devotees swear that leaving behind their trainers for the glove shoes has lowered their injuries and has strengthened their feet, ankles, and lower legs and improved balance.
There is no scientific study that proves whether or not running barefoot prevents injuries, but it does change running mechanics by landing on the middle or towards the front of the foot instead of on the heel, which results in less impact on the body.
The growing popularity of opting for the barefoot experience has boosted the sales of FiveFingers shoes with the company saying they have a hard time of keeping them in stock. Plus they’re all the rage with celebrities! For more information and tips on running barefoot, click here. Would you ever sport these glove-like shoes?
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