Monday, February 2, 2009

Recover Your Feet: The Vivo Barefoot Shoe

Last summer I came across a New York Magazine article called "You Walk Wrong: How We're Wrecking Out Feet With Every Step We Take" by Adam Sternbergh. I was intrigued by the article because it related to footwear and going minimalistic with your shoes. I have found that I run best in racing shoes or even shoes like the Puma H-Street, which looks like a track spike upper but has a low, thin, and soft sole to it. I like having a feel for the ground and letting my foot do its own thing as I run. If I wear trainers my feet tend to pronate more and I have a rougher time with my running.

This article talked about how shoes can be bad for you and that we should walk barefoot if we want to use the muscles in our feet properly and to keep them strong. While I know some runners advocate barefoot running it is not for me, although I will do my strides barefoot on grass if I am able to. However there are shoes that mimic barefoot walking. This article talks about a few of them including the Nike Free which I like to walk around in when I have a pair. It mentions the Masai Barefoot Technology (which I tried out at the Boston Marathon Expo), the Vibram Five-Fingers, and a shoe called the Vivo Barefoot.

Since the summer I heard a few more good reviews and recommendations of the Vivo Barefoot shoe and I though I would like to try them but there was only one store in the US selling them, and after the New Yorker article they sold out, plus they were very expensive at $160. So I put it on my list of things that would be fun to try out but that I would probably never get a chance to buy. Last month, after another recommendation I decided to look on eBay. I found a green pair in England for about $40 and decided to shop overseas. They came in about a week and a put them on with great expectations. Fortunately they fit. They were like wearing slippers. The Vivo's have a 3mm flexible kevlar bottom so they are thin and flexible. The toe box is wide so that your toes can spread out and they are very comfortable. It wasn't a shock to my feet to wear something so thin as I am used to walking around in the few pairs of H-Streets I have left (those things never wear out). They may look dorky- I don't know- I am fifty- I can be a bit weird. The kids at school thought they were cool though!

Here is an article "Feet Hurt? Stop Wearing Shoes" on NPR about Adam Sternbergh's article. It is funny to find out why high heels were first used. You can listen to more on NPR here

I wear them all the time except when running or shoveling snow and I will definitely buy more of these shoes. I haven't gone for a long walk in them yet, but it does give me a better walking stride and I feel my toes trying to do more work as I move around. I have been wearing them for about 3 weeks. I don't think so, but I do wonder if my hamstring problem is related to the shoe as I may have changed my balance as I walk. I think the hamstring is more related to my keeping that hip more flexible and free.

Or it could be that I I hurt the hamstring running in some trail shoes I was trying out. I have never used Trail Shoes before but I got a pair of GoLite Sundragons on sale for less than $30 and decided to try them out. They are so much bigger than what I am used to in a shoe. They had a comfortable "suspension" system for the foot and I like them. I ran in the for 5 miles and then the next day did the Feel Good Farms 7.2 K snowshoe race using them with my snowshoes. That is when my hamstring started hurting. It could be the sliding in the snow or the way the shoe positioned my feet. I am not sure what caused this problem and I guess I will never know.

I am just as thrilled with The Warrior's Diet. I wasn't hungry at school at all. I ate my fruit, nuts, and cheese. I had a great dinner again tonight. I feel wonderful and was barely hungry at all through the day (usually I am hungry most of the day. I was thirsty however and had to drink a lot of water. Sarah is following along with the diet. She is not so sure about The Warrior Diet, but is losing her sugar cravings on it. I told her if I called it the "Princess" Diet instead it just might be more apppealing to her!

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