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Gingersnap
09-09-2009, 11:39 AM
Trend with toes
Touted as safer, barefoot running gains in popularity

September 8, 2009

BY KARA SPAK Staff Reporter/kspak@suntimes.com

No shoes? No problem.

At least not for Owen McCall and a growing number of like-minded local runners who are pounding miles of pavement in their bare feet.

Recreational runners ditch their shoes

"I do trail runs, on the street, sidewalk, anywhere," said McCall, 56, of Highland Park. "If it's freezing or above I can run in anything -- snow, sleet, rain, anything."

Inspired by nature, fellow runners or the recent release of the barefoot bible Born to Run, barefoot runners claim the shoeless way is pain-free, prevents injuries and naturally aligns their bodies into fluid, efficient strides.

While serious barefoot runners are only a small segment of recreational runners, the idea of cavorting barefoot appears to be gaining a foothold for many moving on two feet.

In fact, Nike has a shoe called Free, which is marketed as giving runners the barefoot advantage. Another shoe is Vibram FiveFingers, which looks like a foot glove. Its sales have been "phenomenal," said Peter Hanig, president of Chicago-based Hanig's Shoes.

"I'm seeing people wear them every day," he said. "The barefoot running thing is starting to take hold."

Arturo Ospina, 34, of Lincoln Park plans to run October's Chicago Marathon in FiveFingers.

An avid runner and former Marine, he read about barefoot running but was hesitant to try it. Early one morning while suffering shin splints and knotty calves along the lakefront trail, he slipped off his shoes and ran barefoot.

"After five minutes of running the pain went away," he said. "It just felt so natural. I kept on running and picked up speed like it was nothing."

Ospina said his feet become too tender after running barefoot for more than five miles, so he switched to the Vibram shoes for distance runs. He expects to finish the marathon in under four hours.

"Barefoot" Ken Bob Saxton, the Southern California guru behind runningbarefoot.org, has completed 73 marathons barefoot. The key is to start slowly and listen to your feet.

"Tender feet are the best teachers," he said. Like McCall, he said his feet are not callused but tough enough to run over most surfaces.

"I run over broken glass all the time," he said. "Basically, it's just like gravel. It rarely punctures my skin anymore."

Interesting but pretty scary.

Suntimes (http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/1758084,CST-NWS-barefoot08.article)

stsinner
09-09-2009, 01:07 PM
I go without shoes so rarely that I can barely walk across carpet barefoot!

Shannon
09-09-2009, 02:06 PM
As children we knew to kick off our shoes for a race but there is no way in hell I would go running barefoot now. That's just weird.

Rockntractor
09-09-2009, 02:20 PM
As children we knew to kick off our shoes for a race but there is no way in hell I would go running barefoot now. That's just weird.

Woman between the ages of 18 and 35 that are not fat should be allowed to legally run barefoot and naked!

Jumpy
09-09-2009, 07:05 PM
Yes!!! I am almost always barefoot inside, and outside ,(weather permitting) and in my teens I would forget to take shoes with me when I went places. It was always fine though, because my area was accustomed to the Amish wearing no shoes during the week... in stores and such.

I easily walk across gravel roads, stones, rocky lake bottoms, etc. I love having my feet tough enough for that.

Bubba Dawg
09-09-2009, 07:31 PM
Woman between the ages of 18 and 35 that are not fat should be allowed to legally run barefoot and naked!

Allowed or required???....I know requiring it would seem Draconian but, we're talkin' art here.

Purity of sport.

35 would be pushin' it. Maybe 32.

Rockntractor
09-09-2009, 07:39 PM
Allowed or required???....I know requiring it would seem Draconian but, we're talkin' art here.

Purity of sport.

35 would be pushin' it. Maybe 32.

Finally another that appreciates fine art! Their a a handful of hard bodies at 35. Perhaps after 30 would require an inspection sticker!

Bubba Dawg
09-09-2009, 07:48 PM
Finally another that appreciates fine art! Their a a handful of hard bodies at 35. Perhaps after 30 would require an inspection sticker!

Brilliant idea.

What a pair of artistes we are.

noonwitch
09-10-2009, 09:07 AM
My mom didn't let us run around barefoot outside of our own yard. She said it was a good way to get hookworms.

Gingersnap
09-10-2009, 09:32 AM
My mom didn't let us run around barefoot outside of our own yard. She said it was a good way to get hookworms.

It is, too. Growing up on a ranch, we never went barefoot outside (and not often inside). You can dose your stock all you want but there will still be some worm issues. While most don't find humans congenial, enough do. If you think treating a colt for worms is unpleasant, you can imagine how treating an 8 year old human would go. :p