Barefoot Training Part-3

Hi guys,

I hope you had a chance to read parts 1 and 2 of this series;

http://ericbeard.com/2011/07/05/perform-better-show-review-barefoot-training-mark-verstegen-part-1/

http://ericbeard.com/2011/07/29/barefoot-training-part-2/

If not dive in anyway! I am continuing on with the topic of barefoot training. I am in the middle of sharing my experience sand will dive into the anatomical adaptations that take place when transitioning from a supportive to a minimalist training shoe, or if you even should.

As the bottom of my foot got better, (I of course kept with my joint mobility for my lower extremity issues and core stability work etc.), I transitioned to the Vibram Five Fingers KSO model.

My feet and low back rejoiced instantly! I felt better in my KSOs than I did barefoot because to the proprioceptive feedback that my toes were receiving from being individually wrapped. I wore them inside and outside, at work and when working out, for hours on end. Then….they started to smell. You can machine wash them and air dry them, which is nice, but if you don’t use something like Dr.Scholls’ Odor Destroying powder, they smell can be a bit much. Mind you that I was wearing these shoes 8-10 hours a day. If I were wearing them just for workouts, this probably wouldn’t have been an issue. I did all of my workouts in them, unless I forgot them and just had my Chucks with me. I even brought them to China where I did some work with the Swing for the Stars program that is associated with the Chinese Tennis Association. This was my fourth time working with them. I worked with them twice in the US and twice in China. I am excited to head back again this October. Anyways, I wore them all day everyday on the tennis court with them and felt great. I even played soccer with the coaches for an hour with them on.

Yeah...it was like this when I kicked it....when I actually touched the ball that is...


I mean a full on game on a grass soccer field. My foot wasn’t even sore from kicking the ball or cutting and changing direction. I was in love a quick word about agility work in these type of shoes, it might be a bit much for the 1st MTP and the nail there. Depending on the volume and intensity of agility work, you may want to training in something other than the Vibrams for that. Adidas has model out there that I have not tried but Verstegen was touting…but he is sponsored by Adidias He didn’t give the hard sell, he just shoed the shoe and talked about suing some mid level performance shoe for agility training. Something more than a Chuck and less than a traditional cross trainer.
The Chinese tennis players and coaches were intrigued by my Vibrams. Someone over there even offered to buy them right off of my feet…that was a little gross, but they wanted them for research purposes, not to wear themselves. I agreed and bought myself a new pair when I got back to the states. I still have those black KSOs and use them if I am doing some sprinting outside on grass or gym based workouts. I have done some light running in them on the pavement with no ill effects but I feel as though I would not tolerate to much running on pavement with this model. The Vibram Bikila is what I wear when I present, the KSOs are too ratty now.

I will also work out in them when I am on the road, but try to keep them looking sharp since I wear them “on stage”. They are more built up on the bottom than the KSOs so you have more protection from the pavement, rocks, sticks and other unpleasant things to step on. I like how much more I can feel with the KSOs, especially on grass. I remember playing fetch and chase on a soccer field last spring with the KSOs on and I swear it was pure joy to run on grass with theses things on. I would through the dog’s toy in one direction and as he went to chase it I would sprint the other way with one of my son’s. The dog would haul down, get the toy, then chase us down. A great workout for all of us and a ton of fun. I can’t ever remember feeling so good running before that. I always had football cleats on in high school or college or some sort of cross trainer holding my foot together into an inflexible block instead of something letting it move free.

I actually thought something that I never thought I would….I am enjoying running. I don’t tell too many people this since I usually give runners a hard time by poking fun at them. I have even started doing some sprints outside or inside on a treadmill once a week. I told my wife a couple of weeks ago that I was going for a run at 9:30 at night and she looked at me like I had three heads and said “Why? I thought you hated running?”. My response was… “I’m going to do some sprints.” Of course I ran to the field after I did my flexibility and core stab work at home.

So what else do you need to consider when transitioning from an over-built, pronation control shoe to a minimalist trainer? I need to dive into some anatomical adaptations and I am just out of gas for the night.

Thank you for reading!

Eric Beard
CEO A-Team
Corrective Exercise Specialist

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