Barefoot running

The hardest part of joining the gym for my husband was buying shoes…

Several years back my husband got on the barefoot running kick after some program he heard on public radio. He ordered the book Born to Run about a tribe of elite super runners that ran barefoot. He decided to give it a try.

I thought he was crazy.

I learned at a young age not to walk around barefoot. With three younger brothers it was dangerous to go to the bathroom at night without shoes or slippers. I don’t even like the feel of grass under my feet.

Then there’s my husband…running around the neighborhood without shoes oblivious of broken glass, gravel, or what people thought of him. At first, his feet looked like raw beef, all red and speckled. He had to wrap them in large bandages. It was gross. After awhile, his feet grew a large layer of callouses over them. The bottoms of his feet looked and felt like leather.

People stopped him while running on the road. They asked him if he was hard up for money. They offered to buy him a pair of running shoes. They said that they couldn’t stand to see him run like that because it seemed so painful. People were doubting his sanity.

Then winter came and he couldn’t run barefoot anymore.

At the beginning of the next outdoor running season, he had to go through the painful raw meat stage again. His feet were cracked, bleeding, and blistered. They shredded up the sheets at night.

Paul said that barefoot running felt so natural. He ran differently without shoes, the way he was meant to. He said that he had less pain in other parts of his body.

But after the second winter rolled around, he didn’t want to go through the painful raw meat stage again. So, he broke down and bought minimalist shoes. They looked like water shoes with a separate area for each toe.

The minimalist shoes lasted forever. His one pair lasted as long as about 15 pairs of mine. After several years, they started to finally wear out. I won’t even tell you about how they smelled.

Once we got a gym membership, Paul had to buy some new shoes. Sadly, extreme minimalist shoes aren’t the in thing anymore and he couldn’t find another pair.

Paul really loved barefoot running. If we lived in a warmer climate, I know he would still be doing it today. He doesn’t like his wide feet being confined in a tight shoe.

I don’t know about you, but as for me, I will stick to my Saucony’s.

But sometimes I have to wonder….if Paul has such a high tolerance of pain, then why isn’t he running marathons with me??

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