Just back from another week in Dahab, mainly spent barefoot. I love doing that, spending time in an environment where one can go around without shoes, also for long walks, without worrying too much about injuries. As my normal running wear is five-fingers, it did remind me though of the silliness of the barefoot label for anything that is a shoe.
It’s certainly true that five-fingers feel much closer to bare feet than any kind of shoe, but the feedback from your bare soles is still a world apart from the what gets through the 3.5mm of very flexible vibram. Move up a notch in the shoe department, as I just did with the acquisition of a pair of 5.5mm soled merrell barefoots (for the Mustang Trail race, and the planned recce’s preceding and following it), and the qualitative difference is again as big. Calling this barefoot is indeed going for an oxymoronic concept. Minimalist is fairer label for anything getting away from what these days is seen as traditional running shoes. The irony of it all is that thin shoes with minimal padding…is what people wore for thousands of years before the 1980s when the “modern running shoe” was invented. An impressive feat of shoe company marketing I would argue.
Let’s finish on an upbeat note with sounds from the days these companies were successfully surfing their former trick wave: