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Barefoot, Marathon, Road Running, Trail Running

Comparing my natural sole with a manufactured barefoot sole.

Okay, so I have been doing some research.

Essentially I live in a very hot part of Australia, (Perth) and summer is going to be rather hot.  Last year I actually had melting tar stick to my feet.   Also I love trail running and am keen to continue this barefoot.  However as in all things one needs to be sensible and run on trails that can be done.  I do not want to shred my feet!

So I thought I would research the “barefoot shoe” market and see what was available.   Very interesting issue.  The Manufactured “barefoot” sole really surprised me in the claim that it closely related to the barefoot feel and provenance.  Oh – and added perfromance enhancement?

Please continue to scroll down and follow this research, I do believe it will make you think!

baby

This is a picture of baby barefoot soles courtesy of Google Images.  the Interesting point here is that these are very smooth pink little feet with cute toes and a slight pale foot arch.  No special grip or callus pads, but the very foot in its rawest form.

footprintsThis is a google image picture of a footprint in the sand, clearly unrelated to the smooth soles baby foot above.  Notice how smooth the base of the impression is? A fully formed adult foot (flat footed to by the looks of it)  Actually this might even be an Inov8 footprint?

So this is the sole of my foot, with 5 days left till the marathon.  Note the thorn in my heel.  Lucky I do not really use my heel much in running.

The above is a photo of my own foot sole after well over 1000 km’s (625 miles) of barefoot running in a period of less than one year. – no traction pads or calluses or things.  My foot is wrinkly as it is bent up on the bed and I actually have a high arch, but in correct position this foot sole is smooth. (as in previous posts)

  Now this is a random Google image of another female barefoot runner.  Notice her natural foot.

 trail feet

So the next thing was to look for a male foot, again courtesy of Google image take note of this foot solerunning

  • okay – so I think you are all getting the point I am making as to the shape and slip resistance of any foot, the many features of the appendage at the base of our legs that enhances our active mobility as an upright human.   Now to look at the barefoot shoe sole.
  • Please kindly take note of the special features proudly highlighted on these various shoe soles of “optimised” barefoot running – to enhance the barefoot experience – “to bring the barefoot experience to the wearer” and so on.   See the extra grip features in each of these?   Funny I never saw that on any of the above natural bare feet.
  • See the additional re-enforced sole pads of thicker material for added comfort/protection or other hype?  The additional ribbing for traction and turning?
  • The deeper spike ridging for grip and protection?   Not sure what happened, but these features are not on my feet!
  • Personally in my opinion, I actually cannot see any resemblance of the sole of these “bare foot/minimalist” style shoe that resembles the bare foot! (aside from the basic sole outline and five toes…)
  • Now do not get me wrong, when running, especially with wrinkly wet feet on the roads, and you turn a sharp turn about, one would certainly appreciate the option of optimised comfort grip super traction ribbing on the forefoot outer edge (foot sole below the baby toe)..

vibram sole 2vibram soletrainer sole 1

 But all is not lost.   I like to run on the beach and sand dunes, and return back via the trail and road, but it is a good 25km stretch, and if my feet have been wet and I hit hot rock or burning hot sand,  I may find myself in a spot of bother. I was looking for some thing a little more suitable that can really mimic the ability of the raw foot and yet afford me that small comfort barrier to reduce the direct connection of my precious sensitive skin with mother nature.   I have my New Balance Vibrams, but they fill with sand on the beach, and of course get wet in the sea, which made me think of looking more for a second skin imitation rather than an engineered and sophisticated performance enhancing platform.  And I found  Inov8 Evoskin  shoes.  For some reason they do not appear readily on the market and looks like they have not been a marketing hit.  I have a pair coming over from the UK, so cannot wait to give them a try.  Now lets look at these and see how they compare with the foot!  Not overly excited about the toe separation going on – not my style, but will not knock it until I have tried it!

Inov8 Evoskin- silicone product, reviews state is really sucks onto your skin, which is what I am interested in trying

Inov8 Evoskin- silicone product, reviews state it really sucks onto your skin, which is what I am interested in trying

The sole of the Inov8 Evoskin .  I like how it very closely mimics the actual sole pattern of the barefoot human. (me)  The silicone should represent the elasticity of the skin.

The sole of the Inov8 Evoskin . I like how it very closely mimics the actual sole pattern of the barefoot human. (me) The silicone should represent the elasticity of the skin

My soles.  Look remarkably like the pattern of the Inov8 (except for my high arches of course)

My soles. Look remarkably like the pattern of the Inov8 (except for my high arches of course)

High pressure point of my sole on the forefoot.

High pressure point of my sole on the forefoot.

The plaster shows a good guide of where my feet land when running and clearly highlights the working zones of my ground strike.

The plaster shows a good guide of where my feet land when running and clearly highlights the working zones of my ground strike.

Here is an interesting article from Functional Running:

http://www.functionalrunning.com.au/run-basics/barefoot-running-bare-essentials/

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About Dale-Lyn

Hi, I am in my mid forties and run barefoot. Mostly really barefoot, sans any form of foot protection. My claim to fame for this blog, is that I have run my first full marathon completely and really barefoot, in a respectable time of 4:16. Scroll through my posts and enjoy them - all with a good sense of humour too. My story is simply my story of running barefoot, brought about by all the various questions people ask me. I am not a specialist of any sort or any particular athlete or doctor or guru. I am an average woman who runs barefoot, enters a few club runs and a few fun runs. I run races from 5km to marathon. I love trail running, and include chats about my trail adventures. To date, although I only started running end of August 2013, I have done nearly 2000km, of that at least 1500km in barefeet. Real barefoot. No minimalist shoes. Although when I do run in shoes I use my zero drop mimimus ones (haha - they are my ONLY pair of running shoes..) The blog tells of my journey through life, on the road, barefoot. The journey my real barefeet go through when they connect with the road. The emotions my real barefeet bring out - in me, in passers by, in fellow runners. The aggressive reactions and debates as to the well being of the real bare-feet I run in. The passive acceptance of my real bare-feet and their exposure to the elements. The humour to show those real bare-feet of mine are not just a piece of running equipment, a statement, a leftie or a rightie, but real flesh and blood feet with real issues. An interesting post note..I commenced my first active run in August 2013 progressing sporadically. But it really was only from May 2014 that I started running on a consistent and slightly more serious note and slightly faster than walking pace. I am scheduled to run my Comrades Marathon in May 2015..that is a massive progression from walk/shuffle er um excuse me look at me run.. to aiming to run a World famous Ultra. Some one pinch me please!

Discussion

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