Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Primal Barefooting Experience in FiveFingers

I have to admit, FiveFingers taps into something primal--something closer to an innate foot intelligence--that probably all animals have. We humans seem to muffle this foot intelligence by distancing ourselves from the earth underfoot. We put padding and layers and stabilizers and contours and an endless array of stuff between us and the surfaces on which we move. Lots of reasons to do so--protection being the main one. But when you strap on a pair of FiveFingers, it's like throwing your hair in the wind, sending out a joyful "Whoop," and dashing through space just for the sheer joy of it. Like the way riders feel on their motorcycles, with disdainful looks at the cagers (folks in enclosed vehicles)--it's hard not to feel smug toward toe-squishers (folks who wear all-toes-in-one shoes) when you are wearing your toe-liberating FiveFingers.

Now back to running in the Sprint, I am surprised at how much of a difference my legs and feet experience in them. And how much the liberation of a few measly, humble toes can make such a difference. Most noticeably, my feet feel like they are enjoying the workout too. Every toe gets a little action in the whole symphony of the pace. When I tread on an uneven surface, my foot takes charge, and adjusts before I can even think about it. And unlike running in standard running shoes, I am surprised at how much more work my calves are doing--they talk to me at the end of each run and are responding quickly to the new demands.

There's a genius to the design of the FiveFingers and I don't understand all the ins and outs of it, but I like what I feel and I look forward to each run with a childlike exuberance.

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