Monday, November 02, 2009

I have a problem

It's November in Illinois, and I hate shoes.

As many of you know, I started running in the spring of this year. I did a sorta "couch-to-5K" method and ran that 5 kilometer race on July 4. I ran it in 36 minutes and change, and was not dead last. Apparently, not very many people actually train those 12 weeks and actually run a 5K on the first try, so I'm proud of my accomplishment.

But it all came at a price: shin splints. I iced them, I stretched my calves, I reduced mileage, but every time I ran, I had pain. I had lumpy hurty shins and nothing seemed to help. So I googled for three straight weeks and ended up looking at the testimonials of barefoot runners for whom doffing the shoes was the magic cure-all for running injuries.

Now me, being a pretty moderate sort of person, thought "ehhh, that's kinda weird and radical." But the more hippy-dippy, trust-in-nature side of me won out, and I gave it a shot. On August 10 I took off my shoes and ran a 1/4 mile around the high school track in my socks after my normal shin-paining run. It felt good enough to try again.

In pretty short order, I just stopped wearing shoes for running altogether, and aside from some achilles issues (fairly typical "Too Much Too Soon" injury after having spent years in shoes with elevated heels), I'm making progress.

But now it's getting cold. Over the last weeks, I started looking for some minimalist shoes to keep my tootsies warm this winter, thinking myself not tough enough for winter temperatures. But after trying on countless non-normal running shoes, I cannot find any that don't feel like foot coffins (as some of my favorite barefooters like to call them).

For now, as long as I run when it's sunny and dry out, I can count on warmish streets, even when the air temperature is undesirable. But be on the lookout here, dear readers, for makeshift running "shoes" that will let my feet feel free yet protected from the chilly monsters. I have years of crafting knowledge and the whole Internet at my disposal. It promises to be a ton of jury-rigged fun!


  1. do you have a gym in the area with an indoor track? or you could try picking up some of the leather slipper soles at jo-anns, and knitting or crocheting a top on them, then they are more like moccasins..

  2. what about surf know the ones you wear in the water?

  3. My cousin is a barefoot runner and she wears Vibram Fivefingers. She swears by them.