Thanks to barefoot running coach and Vibram FiveFingers fan Paul Mumford for this month’s blog. All about the perils of running in the countryside. How many of these hazards have you come across?I’ve spent many years and covered many miles running in Vibram FiveFingers. I can often be found running around the country lanes near my home but that can sometimes prove difficult. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are many hazards for the road runner. You need to be ready for anything! Traffic ... those pesky, and sometimes distracted, car drivers! I live and work in rural Essex. That means spending lots of time barefoot running on roads where there are no pavements. I remember as a child being told that it’s better to walk or run on the right hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic. This can sometimes be a safer bet and I’m always ready to dive into the nearest bush whenever necessary. However it seems no amount of reflective or fluorescent apparel is enough to alert some oncoming motorists to my presence. I could be 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide, covered in fairy lights and still not get noticed!. It’s even worse if I dare to time my training around school kicking out time or rush hour. Taking out a few runners seems to be a competitive sport for some motorists! Pedestrians Oh, and don’t even think a pavement is going to be any safer. If I’m using a pavement that’s occupied by even a few other people I need to be prepared for anything. While I appreciate that barefoot runners can be stealthily quiet on our feet even a polite 'excuse me' or subtle cough often appears insufficient. Instead, pedestrians seem to take great delight in suddenly walking very slowly right in front of me, stopping at a moment’s notice, or changing direction without indicating first. As for those bystanders who do notice me, the odd word of encouragement can be nice but there’s only so many times in one run ,before calls of ‘have you forgotten your shoes’, goes from funny to irritating. Horses! and their offerings Horses are a real problem for the rural runner, or rather the stuff that comes out of their bottoms. When I owned a dog I used to take a small bag out with me. Then, whenever he had a call of nature I could clean it up rather than leaving it on the ground for others to enjoy. Why then is it OK for horse owners to allow their animals to do it anywhere? Please have a thought for the weary runner who is struggling to make it through his 18th mile. Focus and attention starting to suffer, not noticing that large deposit right in front of … oh, too late. Dogs and their enthusiastic welcome Early Sunday mornings running through the forest near my home is one of my favourite times of the week. That peace and tranquillity, being one with nature. Unfortunately, the journey there means navigating a few roads and often coming across the odd dog walker. If the dog is on a lead I’m usually safe but the road to the forest rarely sees a car at the busiest of times, so often there are dogs on the loose, ready for action. Even the most intelligent of canine can turn into a disorientated mess when he or she confronts a runner. We’re like the catnip of the dog world. If I’m lucky they might head straight for me armed with a mouthful of enthusiastic slobber. If I’m unlucky they’re armed with half a tonne of wet mud from the forest as well. But I'm not put off! Don’t get me wrong, I love running and doing it in my Vibram FiveFingers makes it a double pleasure. However, have sympathy for the rural road runner. It’s not as safe as you might think. Best shoes for running? Road Running - Vibram FiveFingers V-Run Running Shoe. V-Run shoe features an 8-mm thick sole and provides the right amount of cushioning and protection for running on pavement. It’s also a solid option for runners who are used to traditional running shoes and want to transition to barefoot running shoes. Your feet stay cool and dry, thanks to the polyester Lycra stretch mesh fabric. Designed to be worn barefoot, but can also accommodate toe socks when running in colder weather. Find out moreTrail Running - Vibram FiveFingers V-Trail Runner. If you plan on hitting the trails in barefoot running shoes, you need a shoe that offers the right amount of protection from rocks and other debris. The Vibram FiveFingers V-Trail barefoot running shoe delivers in that area, and also provides enough ground feel for a minimalist running experience. It features an extended rock protection mesh under the sole that helps reduce the shock when you run over stones or roots. With padding around the heel, toe bumpers at the end of the toes and an aggressive tread design, these shoes are sure to keep your feet comfortable and protected on the trails. Find out more
People are seeking out the best Vibram FiveFingers for winter – and we’re here to help you find the perfect choice.
Jill Cliff has been running since she was 11 years old. Plagued with injuries she began searching for a solution so she could continue her passion for long distance running without pain. After discovering Vibram FiveFingers she hasn’t looked back and at nearly 50 she’s running better than ever and has even qualified for the 2020 London Marathon.
Why Vibram Fivefingers?
Those Weird Looking Toe Shoes? It always makes me smile when people use yes ‘that phrase’. I can’t help myself and without know it I’m interjecting in defence as if defending a family member. The question I always throw back is ‘What looks weirder, a glove or a mitten?’...........Ah and then thepenny drops. I then add in ‘if I was to offer you a mitten. It’s designed to squash your fingers together but this is to keep your fingers warmer. Would you buy them?’ Of course, the answer is always as you would expect ‘No’. Can you see my point yet? I have many bones of contention with what the industry call conventional running shoes but absolutely the most glaringly obvious mis-demeanour is the shape. Yes let that sink in. The shape. What shape is your foot? Does your foot taper in from both sides? Does it culminate with a longer toe down the centre? I’m guessing not? (Apologies for any offense if it does) Which shoes look weird now? Ones which mirror your foot or ones which dress them up to not even resemble a foot shape? My next question then...... Why? Surely at best it makes sense to make a shoe designed for sport to at the very least resembles a foot, after all they want us to spend a lot of time hitting the tarmac, trails, gym floor or hills in these bad boys (no apologies for that phrase). My best guess is it’s a cocoon that is intended to stop the foot spreading and moving around and to collectively support the collection of tarsals, metatarsals, joints, ligaments and tendons from the forces that the act of running sends through the feet ? Hmmm. In effect stopping the feet from acting naturally and adapting. It’s a sorry state we find ourselves in yes? These amazing tools of human design, built for a purpose and we look at ways to stop them doing what evolution built them to do so well. There is a saying use it or lose it? The most obvious example of this is if you or someone you know suffers the misfortune of breaking a leg. The cast which has a very specific job to keep the bone set in place and prevent movement of muscles as much as possible until the bone has time to heal. Remove the cast weeks later and what has happened to the muscle? Yes, it has atrophied and you find yourself with one thin leg and one of normal proportion. Take this same principal to your feet. Every time you fasten your shoes which in effect are cast for your feet.The human foot and ankle is a strong and complex mechanical structure containing 26 bones, 33 joints and more than a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments. What effects are we having on how these work by negating their function? I have to point out here that I am not a medical professional but it seems to me to be glaringly obvious. For the health of your feet. Let them walk, let them run and set them free in all their glory. Bearing in mind all the above it is safe to assume we western shoe wearing humans will all have differing but collective weaknesses in our feet. As we should do with all weaknesses before we exert to much stress is work on strengthening. This is where I urge caution when wearing shoes that free your feet. Take it steady. Wear them to walk in only for the first couple of weeks then gently introduce them into different activities and longer periods. Take note of the instant synaptic responses you get and you will in no time start to feel the benefits of strengthening your body’s foundations. Your glorious feet. By Dan Hume - Vibram Fivefingers wearer and Barefoot Junkie