A month ago I came across a study calling out for runners to take part in the largest, first of a kind research program on the benefits of different running shoes, being conducted by my local university – the University of Newcastle. Science plus running?, I thought, sign me up! Plus I like the idea of myself as a ‘runner’. I met their criteria as a runner based on the kms I log which was a bit of a boost.
Part of the study includes random allocation of participants to a running shoe, provided to participants at a large discount (large part of the appeal of taking part in the study I’ll admit). Participants then monitor injuries and pain experienced as a result of running through journal entries. Apparently there are no peer reviewed studies which actually show the benefits of any specific type of running shoe and anyone who says otherwise is just investing in the marketing hype rather than real data.
Today I was allocated one of the 10 different shoe types which include both ends of the cushioning spectrum from basically barefoot to running on a cushion. I was very excited, there are so many cool looking shoes on the list and great discounts on shoes not even available in Australia. I thought there was very little chance of being allocated the extreme ‘glove’ shoe which I have seen before and thought were ridiculous.
But of course, that is what I have been allocated. The glove. Also known as the ‘Vibram Fiverfingers Seeya’.
Another wordpress blogger has reviewed it relatively recently here, however they appear to be a committed barefoot runner, not a novice like me.
I know I signed up for it, but I really didn’t want to test that ‘shoe’. I am apprehensive about how it will effect my running and know they will be painful to break in as I build the different muscles in my legs, but most of all they LOOK SO STUPID. It looks like I will have to be one of those try-hards who run around thinking they are too cool for proper shoes. I may need to have a t-shirt made up that says:
‘Experiment in progress – I realise these look stupid.’
I could pull out now with no consequence but to be honest I am actually really interested to see how they feel and I would never have normally given them a go, but for the sake of science…. Should make for some interesting blog posts in any case. Barefoot running is the way humans were supposed to run, landing on the ball of the foot is MUCH better for your feet and legs (so they say. Maybe my data will contribute to changing the common thinking…). I just worry what people will think and how they will judge me. I’m already quite self-concious when I run and wearing these ridiculous sock-shoes would be adding another level of insecurity. Admitting that makes me perversely want to do it – why should I care what anyone thinks? Where is my sense of self-worth and accomplishment? In how I look? In what strangers think about me? Nope, not this little fat duck.