I was at our monthly children’s clinic last year when I noticed half the room of osteopaths were wearing very similar shoes, they looked really comfortable and kind of cool. On asking I was told these ‘Vivobarefoot’ shoes were ‘the best shoes!’, super comfortable for everyday wear and additionally a great sprint running shoe.
How I was soled!
I was certainly interested in barefoot shoes. I had at this point been to the ‘great footwear running debate’ – where barefoot running shoes were certainly favoured over ‘big soled shoes’ for performance by the presenters and I had purchased my first pair of New Balance ‘vibram’ soled running shoes which I was transitioning to very slowly, but these vivobarefoots are even more barefoot than those.
The idea behind the barefoot shoes is to increase proprioception – or to increase awareness of our body in our environment which is involved in balance and movement. By being able to feel the ground under our feet, neural feedback from our feet to our brains is increased and therefore our proprioception is increased. Among other things this helps to improve our posture and decrease injury.
When do I wear these?
So as everyday shoes these are great, I can feel the ground under my feet. You may be thinking that this sounds uncomfortable but seriously, it feels as if it should be this way! It is like being barefoot but having a puncture resistant sole in place to avoid injury. I was Ireland last year with my husband and son and we went into a Cathedral and it was like having a 4D experience, we could both feel the mosaic tiles under our feet which was seriously amazing.
As running shoes… well I would recommend getting appropriate advice from either where you purchase the shoes or better still Soled in Hampton are involved in running clinics to help with your new barefoot running technique. The technique is totally different to running in ‘big soled’ shoes. In big cushioned shoes we tend to heel strike because we can – due to the substantial cushioning. It could be very painful to heel strike in barefoot shoes, in your running style, like heel striking in barefoot, we just wouldn’t do it. Running barefoot should be fluid and we should forefoot strike. As most of us have spent our whole lives heel striking when we jog we need to take lots of time to transition to avoid pain. I ran 2km first up and had pain for 3 days afterwards because my calves were so tight. It took me about 6 months to comfortably run my usual 5km mixed-surface track in the barefoot footwear but I must say I haven’t put my asics back on since I started, these shoes just feel right.
Kids are most pre-qualified to wear these thin soles!
Barefoot shoes are fantastic for kids, they love being barefoot and these shoes allow them to feel the ground, and develop good proprioception. A great deal of kids’ shoes have thick rigid soles which don’t allow for optimal movement and prevents the muscles from developing in the best way possible.
Vivobarefoot shoes are available from Soled in Hampton, Suey and Gary have a great team who are very knowledgeable in barefoot shoes.
If you would like more information on barefoot running jump onto this website: www.vivobarefoot.com
If you are unsure just try a pair of casual shoes to start, you won’t look back!
Also check out Soled FB Page at https://www.facebook.com/this.is.soled.shoes?fref=ts