Good Reads (part 1)   Leave a comment

I have been reading a lot of blogs about running barefoot lately, and I wanted to share them here (mostly because I might some day forget where they are and this way I can keep track of them).

So for today, I’ll start with a great article from Jason Robillard about the “Barefoot and Minimalist Shoe Movement.”

Here’s a snippet:

Human behavior fascinates me. Human behavior in relation to barefoot and minimalist shoe running fascinates me even more. I have been in a position to observe the progression of this phenomenon for a number of years. The entire movement can be framed within the context of the sociological/anthropological concept of the diffusion of innovations.

 

The concept outlines the progression of any given innovation within a society. It is somewhat odd to consider barefoot (BFR) and minimalist shoe running (MR) as an “innovation”, but it does represent a significant change in our society’s collective thoughts on running. After all, we ran barefoot or in minimalist shoes for tens of thousands of years. The modern running shoe has been around for thirty.

 

The idea of framing BFR/MR within the context of the diffusion of innovation came from repeated discussions with individuals within the running shoe industry. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to discuss BFR/MR with shoe marketers, designers, sales representatives, and retailers. My interactions with the general running public confirms what I’ve learned from the running shoe industry… we are in the midst of a significant paradigm shift.

 

For years, running form took a back seat to shoe design. The idea was simple- runners did not have to bother learning good form, they just ran. If they had serious biomechanical deficiencies, shoe manufacturers would design a shoe to correct the problem. It is through this process of correcting imperfect running gait that we developed the neutral, stability, and motion control shoes that define the current running shoe industry. We developed a set of criteria (wet test, pronation control, fancy gait analysis software,etc.) that allowed retailers to fit runners with their “ideal shoe”.

 

This idea that technology can be used to solve problems is pervasive in our society. In general, if we have a problem we would prefer to purchase a solution than resolve the root cause. If we are depressed, we don’t resolve the underlying issues. We prefer to pop a pill. If we are overweight, we don’t try to reduce our caloric intake or increase our level of activity. We have doctors remove our excess fat via liposuction. If we have a wicked slice, we don’t work on our swing. We purchase a 1,200cc driver that resembles a globe on a stick. Shortcuts are our specialty.

 

Read the complete article here.

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