Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rethinking Your Athletic Shoes

The ATHLETICS were born of war.
Thousands of years of fighting honed
people into warriors. During most of
the Archaic Period in Greece, every
male citizen of Sparta was required
to train and live as a soldier in the
Spartan Army, no matter if he were
rich or poor. Imagine training with
a big, heavy shield.

When you think of athletic ability,
consider that very few of the athletes
you know were ever motivated by
protecting their own lives. Combat
is the mother of human physicality.

The Olympic Games were born in
776 B.C. The well-conditioned troops
competed against each other
in running races and pugilism. As
competitions became more formal,
technique was developed and taught.
Soldiers became athletes,
and they didn't have no Nikes.

In recent years, the Tarahumara Indians
of Mexico's Copper Canyons have
caused the athletic world to rethink
the concept of shoes. These guys run
120 miles over jagged rocks wearing
nothing but a half-ass huarache sandal.

Gerhard Hartmann, Ph.D., is an exercise
physiologist who says most running-
related injuries are a result of too much
foam injected pampering. He says running
shoes have become so super-cushioned
and motion-controlling, they allow our
foot muscles to atrophy and our tendons
to shorten and stiffen.

Alan Webb started barefoot exercises and
watched his shoes size drop from size 12 to 9.
Says Webb, "My foot muscles became
so strong, they pulled my arches up."

This article on running in basketball is also
very good.

While I can find websites that say running
in wrestling shoes will lead to injuries, there
are others who say running in them is
wonderful once you get through the first
week or two of strain.

I practice martial arts in my moccasins,
and hate to even put on a shoe for concern
it will have some kind of heel lift. At the
top of the page, look again at Perseus, the
slayer of Medusa. He is fine in musculature
and form, and his heel is flat on the ground.


  1. I have always preferred running barefoot. I feel lighter and springier.

  2. I now use vivobarefoot "Dharma" shoes - they have a very thin sole.

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