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happy feet

April 24, 2008 by jjosh


(shoes painted directly onto feet, from the below ref’d NY Magazine walking article)

Last Summer when we moved to NYC I started running again. I wanted to do it right, so I went to a running specialty store to get the best shoes I could find. They had me run on a treadmill and videotaped it from 4 different angles, and then analyzed it on a computer — very hi-tech! It turned out that I was seriously "overpronating" (or something), which means that my ankle was hitting out over my foot…they recommended a shoe that was super-corrective for that. It was a big, clunky, heavy, running shoe called The Beast. The Beast!!! When I first ran wearing The Beast, it felt like lead weights, but I soon got used to it and figured that when I switched to lighter shoes later it would feel so freeing.

After a few months of running, I developed really painful shin splints. I did some online research and tried to do everything they suggested — various strengthening exercises, running on the softer ground instead of pavement, spending extra time warming up and cooling down — but nothing seemed to help. It completely shut down my running for the whole winter and into Spring. I would try to run every now and then but it would be too painful. Finally I went to my doctor and she suggested that maybe it was the shoes. The Beast?!?! Could it be?

Well, I just bought new, lighter, neutral, shoes and so far so good ( knock on wood). It seems so obvious in retrospect.

Then I just read this great article from NY Magazine on how shoes by their very nature are bad for us. I’m a believer! Sign me up for the barefoot world!

From the article:

"Epidemiologically speaking, it’s been estimated that, by age 40, about 80 percent of the population has some muscular-skeletal foot or ankle problem. By age 50 to 55, that number can go up to 90 or 95 percent.” Ninety-five percent of us will develop foot or ankle problems? Yeesh. Those are discouraging numbers—but wait. Are we talking about 95 percent of the world population, or of North America? “Those are American figures,” he says. Which makes me think, North Americans have the most advanced shoes in the world, yet 90 percent of us still develop problems? We’ve long assumed this means we need better shoes. Maybe it means we don’t need shoes at all.



  1. Marc says:

    have you ever looked into “barefoot” shoes? i own a few pairs and don’t wear them very often. i don’t think i did a good job acclimating my feet and ankles to wearing them. thinking about trying again this summer.

  2. dan says:

    running is stupid.

  3. Marc says:

    Should’ve read the article before commenting! It talks about the shoes I mentioned.

  4. Mike says:

    Last year I too had a nasty case of shin splints from running. It got to the point where I’d have to get messed up on Ibuprofen before I’d run which felt really weird. I finally stopped going for about 2 months, bought new shoes, and now am fine. I am ALL ABOUT running barefoot.

    by the way, this is bart. I’ve decided to start blogging/reading your blog.

  5. Clockwatcher says:

    I really enjoyed that article too. I was recently talking with an old friend of mine about how excited we used to get around May because we would start going barefoot as often as we could to get on our “summer feet”. I miss summer feet. *sigh*

  6. jjosh says:

    @Marc, I’m gonna try and get some of those barefoot shoes after reading that article…they sound so interesting and great…the yoga studio we go to also offer a class in walking, but it’s $150!!!!

    @Dan, no you’ve gotten mixed up, it’s not running that’s stupid, it’s you.

    @Bart, nice to see you White Bert. Your blog rocks, where did you get that skull image??

    @Clockwatcher, I also remember summer feet. At the beginning of summer it would hurt to walk on gravel, or to walk around the concrete by the pool. By the end of summer we’d be running through the woods with no problem. It reminds me of Huck Finn…

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