I recently read the book “Born to Run” about the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, and how they KILL 100 mile races running in huarache (i.e., minimalist) sandals. They blow past the finish line smiling at killer events like the Leadville 100. The author, Christopher MacDougal not only documents their running prowess, he also presents very good arguments for avoiding expensive shoes showing how we are evolutionarily designed to run barefoot.
Before even finishing the book I ran down to the shoe store in Laramie, and lucky me, they had just gotten in a new shipment of Vibram Five Fingers (VFF’s). I picked up a shiny new pair of the new Bikila model and left the store with them on. Mostly, because it took about five minutes to wrestle my toes into them, and I didn’t want to have to do it again.
There are other minimalist shoes out there besides VFF’s; Merrell’s Trail Gloves are getting rave reviews. Some say that the old Chuck Taylor’s and wrestling shoes will do just as well.
I ran the next day in them, and I thought I was going to have to turn back after about a half mile, but felt really good by the end of the mile and a half run. My feet were feeling it though. I continued to up my mileage by about half a mile and culminated in running completely barefoot on a treadmill at the end of the week.