"Elite Runners Wear Shoes"
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Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
"Elite Runners Wear Shoes" on 05/05/2010 21:16:05 MDT Print View

Interesting article.

http://running.competitor.com/2010/05/features/but-is-it-faster_9784

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: "Elite Runners Wear Shoes" on 05/06/2010 05:40:59 MDT Print View

Great article and I completely agree. Going minimal certainly is the way to go but all of these people slapping 5fingers on their feet are in for a surprise. While it may work well for some people, for the masses it is too much of a jump.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
""Elite Runners Wear Shoes"" on 05/06/2010 07:08:50 MDT Print View

Very interesting Nick! Thanks for sharing this articles insight into the recent barefoot running hoopla. You threw this idea out in an old thread a few months ago about how the elite runners are all wearing shoes, considering they're the most accomplished and attuned to their bodies needs as a runner it's pretty clear shoes are necessary in many cases and become more necessary as a runners speed and distance increase.

So much emphasis has been put on the barefoot/injury prevention side of the argument but not many have considered or seem to care how much it makes your performance suffer as a runner. I say performance in regard to speed sustained over a certain distance, in this case, runs of marathon length and beyond. If you look at the marathon times of people who run in VFF you'll be grossly disappointed in many cases, 5hr marathon times are pretty common.

I'm no elite runner by any stretch of the imagination but I have yet to run in VFF and don't plan on it anytime soon, I think they're very very cool and can be incorporated into training and weekly running routines for some people or for various outdoor recreation but for me simple racing flats and trail flats are my go shoe because they're the appropriate shoe for my activity and my body. My racing flats are about as thin as you'll find, yet they still allow me to run trails with gusto and confidently with no fear of injury, there exists a healthy balance of minimalism and protection. I don't need much but I do need some shoe. VFF wouldn't compliment my runs in any way and would actually force me to run slower and less which directly results in loss of fitness, cardio and endurance. That's not something I'm willing to consider right now.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: ""Elite Runners Wear Shoes"" on 05/06/2010 09:10:04 MDT Print View

I completely agree Eugene. I bought a pair of VFF 3-4 years ago and never found any real advantage running in them. In fact I once did a side by side comparison with whatever Inov8 shoe I was wearing at the time and found no need for the 5Fing's. The Inov8's gave the best combo of speed, protection and underfoot feel. Now are they still a cool tool to play around with? Yes. But are they a practical solution that everyone will be wearing in 10 years? Probably not.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: ""Elite Runners Wear Shoes"" on 05/06/2010 09:23:45 MDT Print View

I don't think going barefoot/minimal is necessarily all about being a "better" or faster runner though.

I'm dealing many aspects of this question right now. I use minimal footwear and I have been increasing my barefoot mileage. (I'll typically run the first and last 1.5 miles of a 10-12 mile trail run barefoot).

Barefoot/minimal footwear has it's benefits- it's taught me to run right and has saved me from knee issues by changing my stride.

But there certainly is the other side- I can't run as aggressively or as long while barefoot or while wearing minimal shoes. I think I max out in my MT100s at about 20 miles, barefoot FAR less, maybe 6 miles tops- and this is running real slow. Beyond that, I need more cushioning/rock protection. I'm looking into buying some Cascadias for 20+ mile runs...I just wish I could find something without ridiculous heel lift.

There's nothing wrong with barefoot/minimalism being somewhat limited. It's not an all or nothing game- you do what works. It's comparing apples and oranges- each sttyle stresses different things.

As for elite runners racing in shoes, why wouldn't they? Try running at your absolute fastest and furthest while worrying about stepping on sharp things or stubbing a toe. But that doesn't mean that barefoot/minimalism can't play a role in training.

I don't think going barefoot or minimal is about becoming an elite runner- I'll certainly never be one. It's about minimalism, learning a better form, and a certain childish freedom on the trail.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: elite runners on 05/06/2010 09:37:06 MDT Print View

To a large extent the experience of elite road runners just doesn't apply (imo) to trail running and backpacking. The uniform, hard surface provides a categorically different sort of stress.

Plus, the author's definition of ressentiment is wrong. For Nietzsche it's an internal phenomenon (a person having retroactive loathing of their own choices, which it seems like the author himself has).

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: re: elite runners on 05/06/2010 10:05:20 MDT Print View

There are elite trail runners ... and elite fastpackers.

Anton Krupicka just won the Miwok 100k in near record time.
pretty sure he was wearing NB 100's, not running barefoot.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: "Elite Runners Wear Shoes" on 05/06/2010 23:31:06 MDT Print View

I thought it was an interesting article, and I don't support either camp 100%.

Sort of like the posts we see here on BPL, "What is the best ________ ?" There is no best. Some things work well for some people, but not neccesarily all the time.

There is a place for barefoot running, VFFs, racing flats, trail runners, etc.

I enjoy the posts with different points of view though. And I always adhere to the fact that "we only know, what we know."

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: re: elite runners on 05/07/2010 04:16:00 MDT Print View

> The uniform, hard surface provides a categorically different sort of stress.

And How!!!

Cheers

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
""Elite Runners Wear Shoes"" on 05/07/2010 07:06:31 MDT Print View

There is a place for barefoot running, VFFs, racing flats, trail runners, etc.

Absolutely Nick. The problem I see with the current buzz over minimalist footwear is all the misinformation out there, countless newbie runners and experienced runners alike are jumping into minimalist footwear and barefoot mimicking footwear prematurely or even at all. It's difficult to know the proper time and place for footwear when there are so many facets to both arguments and each one is claiming to be right. How does one know? Alas, Run your own Run.

@ David,

To a large extent the experience of elite road runners just doesn't apply (imo) to trail running and backpacking. The uniform, hard surface provides a categorically different sort of stress

I think I understand what you're saying. Can you clarify regarding your statement about the experiential differences between elite road runners and trail runners? Are your referring to machined pavement vs. trail? I'm not sure why backpackers apply here though, that is an entirely different activity altogether. Backpacking is hiking.

Edited by Eugeneius on 05/07/2010 07:22:18 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: ""Elite Runners Wear Shoes"" on 05/07/2010 09:21:49 MDT Print View

I find the marketing in this movement- especially for 5 Fingers- very strange. A company pushes the idea of running barefoot...but then there's nothing to sell...so we have to create a $99 "barefoot" shoe so you can more comfortably run "barefoot"...

So now we have "barefoot" vs. barefoot. I actually mentioned to a friend that I was running barefoot more often these days. He then asked if I was wearing those "toe shoes".
So now Five Fingers "toe shoes" somehow equal barefoot.
Brilliant Vibram!

I think your just as well to run in a pair of $7 aqua socks from WalMart if you're just looking for a little rock protection. They're lighter than Five Fingers anyway.

In all honesty, I have no idea if barefoot is better for any reason. Perhaps it's completely illogical. But I tend to like the challenge of illogical things.
All I know is that every time I go for a run and these days, swearing I'll keep my shoes on to give my feet a rest, I end up pulling off my shoes, feeling a bit like a mischievous kid. I guess it's the anarchist 14 year old in me. It's just something your not "supposed" to do, especially in the mountains. Aren't mountains are for burly men with big boots and serious gear?

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
""Elite Runners Wear Shoes"" on 05/07/2010 10:10:35 MDT Print View

In all honesty, I have no idea if barefoot is better for any reason. Perhaps it's completely illogical. But I tend to like the challenge of illogical things.

Here! Here! I'm with you Craig, the anarchist 14 yr. old of my youth surfaces far too often in my ripe young age of 26! There is something illogical about running trails barefoot. The current influx of feature creep in the form of added insoles, outsole material, shoelaces and lugs with the new Vibram Bikila and Speed models is head scratching.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: ""Elite Runners Wear Shoes"" on 05/07/2010 12:40:58 MDT Print View

Yeah, the Bikilas trip me out. Pretty soon they'll be adding air soles.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
""Elite Runners Wear Shoes"" on 05/07/2010 14:34:24 MDT Print View

...and webbing between the toes.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: ""Elite Runners Wear Shoes"" on 05/07/2010 18:28:24 MDT Print View

> I have no idea if barefoot is better for any reason. Perhaps it's completely illogical.

Guys, logic has nothing to do with it. It's all marketing: you just have to buy the latest fad.

> The current influx of feature creep in the form of added insoles, outsole material, etc

Creature feep is precisely what you expect to get when something is marketing-driven. There's probably very little real need in the market place for any of this.

Cheers

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: ""Elite Runners Wear Shoes"" on 05/07/2010 20:28:22 MDT Print View

Roger >> "very little real need in the market place for any of this"

Creating a perceived need that leads to a sale is the game.

There is very little real need in the market place for most things.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: "Elite Runners Wear Shoes" on 05/07/2010 20:34:12 MDT Print View

Nick

enjoyed the article

good stuff

"...latch onto barefoot running as a sort of sacred truth that allows me to feel superior to the unsaved shoe-wearing runners who kick my butt in races."

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: ""Elite Runners Wear Shoes"" on 05/07/2010 20:35:53 MDT Print View

" The current influx of feature creep in the form of added insoles, outsole material, etc"

And what do you eventually end up with? Running shoes.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: "Elite Runners Wear Shoes" on 05/07/2010 22:06:07 MDT Print View

"...latch onto barefoot running as a sort of sacred truth that allows me to feel superior to the unsaved shoe-wearing runners who kick my butt in races."

What is the author basing this perception on? Who?

I think it's a pretty lame statement, actually.

So do overweight, slow, or otherwise feeble UL backpackers latch onto UL as a sort of sacred truth that allows them to feel superior to the traditional backpacker that is far more fit and can log more miles or days in the mountains?

Come on. You can make up baseless pseudo-psychoanalytical statements for anything.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
road v. trail on 05/07/2010 22:41:28 MDT Print View

"Can you clarify regarding your statement about the experiential differences between elite road runners and trail runners? Are your referring to machined pavement vs. trail? I'm not sure why backpackers apply here though, that is an entirely different activity altogether. Backpacking is hiking."

Eugene,

My primary thought was that the primary stress on the body running pavement is stress on connective tissue. Little variation in the stress makes overuse injuries the main concern, and the joint and supportive muscle strengthening which I (perhaps wrongly) see as the main virtue of minimal shoes does little to address road running injuries. Hence the articles references to marathon runners finding cushier shoes less fatiguing.

Trail running (and I agree that lumping hiking in here is problematic) features a softer surface and more importantly variation in stride length, foot placement, and cadence. This means that overuse injuries are less dominant, and strains to joints due to terrain variations are much more likely. Minimal shoes can provide enough cushion from the impact on the joints while still requiring ankles and knees to strengthen and work regularly through their full range of motion. Stronger supporting muscles for joints mean fewer strains and sprains, and thus happier, healthier, and perhaps faster runners.

All strictly speculation, of course.