Tag Archives: Nike

Barefoot Running – Yay or Nay?

After my experience with Skechers GOrun shoes yesterday…I was reminded of this article from Dr. David Rudnick’s Chiropractic & Sports Rehabilitation Institute’s August – September 2012 Newsletter. It’s all about barefoot running. I’ve included the article below – but it’s also available in its original format here. (Read more about Dr. David Rudnick in our expert resources section.)

Barefoot Running – Yay or Nay?

“If you want to follow the fad craze these days, just look to companies like Vibram, Merrell and Nike. Vibram is the company that has brought you the soles and treads of many of the shoes you have worn over the years and of course Nike are the people who first brought you the “running shoe” as we know it today. Nike first brought us the waffle bottom trainer, cross trainer, air pockets, “shocks,” Air Jordan, and now its barefoot minimalist series—the Nike Free.”

What initially stymied us when these “barefoot” style shoes first came out was the obvious question: “Why would the same brands that sell us the shoes and offer so many varieties to choose from, now be advocating that we train barefoot, or close to it? “ But are they? The Nike shoes have light-weight, thin, flexible soles and thin vamp top cover material to hold the shoe onto the foot; the Vibram version is more simplistic—a rubber sock with compartments for each individual toe.

So why would Nike and Vibram both go against their own creations and advocate that we begin walking and running barefoot, or at least become “shoe-minimalists” after decades of building shoe and sole lines? There appears to be sound moral reasoning if you delve into the research, but you have to look closely; and if you’d like to try one of the creations, you have to be aware of your personal foot type – but that’s for another day.

Current research has been conducted showing the following:

  • Plantar (bottom of the foot) sensory feedback plays a central role in safe and effective locomotion;
  • More shoe cushioning can lead to higher impact forces on the joints and risk of injury;
  • Unshod (without shoes) lowers contact time of the foot;
  • There are higher braking and pushing impulses in shod versus unshod running;
  • Unshod running presents a reduction of impact peak force that would reduce the high mechanical stress that occurs during repetitive running; and
  • A bare foot induces a neural-mechanical adaptation which could enhance the storage and restitution of elastic energy at ankle extensor level.
  • These are only some of the more significant findings. These issues will not only support injury management benefits for the barefoot runner but increase speed, force and power output.

“Stepping backwards in time a little…during caveman days things were very different and the foot was left bare from birth until death. As a result the foot both developed and appeared different. The sole of the foot was thicker and callused due to constant contact with rough surfaces; the foot was more muscular; it was probably wider in the forefoot; and the toes were likely slightly separated due to the demands of griping the ground. Overall, the foot simply worked differently; it worked better; and it worked more like the engineering marvel it truly is. However, as time went on, man messed with a good thing and took a foot that was highly sensitive with a significant sensory and motor representation in the brain and he covered it up with a slab of leather and/or rubber. Further, man then flattened and then paved the world and his home with cement, wood, pavement and/or tile and successfully completed the total sensory information deprivation of the foot. Not only did man take away critical adaptive skills from himself, he began the deprivation of critical information from which the central nervous system needs to develop and function effectively.”

As a result, we now affix a shoe to a child’s foot before he or she can walk. When the baby begins to walk, all propriosensory information necessary for the development of critical spinal and central nervous system reflexes is virtually absent. Therefore, is it any wonder why there are so many people in chronic pain from postural disorders related to central core weakness and inhibition? Is it any wonder why so many people have flat, incompetent feet and arches? Man has done it to himself. But thankfully man has proven he can undo what has been done. There is much modern medical research that has uncovered the woes of our ways. And as a result, companies like Nike and Vibram are developing devices that will allow some protection from modern day offenses like glass, plastic and metal, but also allow for the slow, gradual return to caveman days.

There are many shoes available that have potentially serious biomechanical flaws. We are happy to discuss our sound reasoning regarding these shoes and their impact on your condition during a consultation. Shoes need to be specifically chosen for your foot type, activity type, walking and/or running style and muscle weaknesses. The wrong shoe choice can in itself be a cause of pain or problems and lead to abnormal mechanics or physical problems.

Potential Harms of Barefoot Running

  • Suddenly going barefoot or wearing a minimalist shoe can be quite a shock to the foot. But that isn’t the only concern one should have when starting a shoeless workout. Runners and walkers alike should keep the following in mind:
  • Why Fix What Isn’t Broken?
  • If you have no problems, no pain, do you need to change anything?
  • Little Foot Protection
  • Shoes offer a significant amount of protection from road debris such as glass, nails, rocks and thorns. They also offer insulation in cold weather and protect us from frostbite in ice and snow.
  • Achilles Tendinitis and Calf Strain
  • Most of us aren’t used to running barefoot, so a minimalist shoe will be a shock to our feet. Also, our muscles will feel overworked. In some cases, this can lead to injury (e.g. Achilles tendinitis or calf strain).
  • May Increase Plantar Pain
  • The bottom of the feet (plantar surface) for most people is soft and tender. Going without a stiff-soled shoe may initially cause plantar pain, or increase the risk of plantar fasciitis.
  • Get Ready for Blisters
  • Almost everyone who switches to a minimal shoe or starts going shoeless will find themselves battling blisters for the first few weeks until calluses are formed.
  • You Will Look Strange
  • Face it: People will notice and they may stare!

*Parts of this article were from a research paper “Thoughts & Research for the Shoe Minimalist” by Dr. Shawn Allen, Dr. Ivo Waerlop, Chris Korfist.

Study by Harvard University on barefoot running.

New “Golf Ball” Inspired Track Suits

High-Speed Nike Running Suit Inspired By The Golf Ball 

Nike just unveiled the TurboSpeed suit that can supposedly shave off 0.023 seconds from an athlete’s time in a 100-meter sprint. With the world record for men in the 100-meter currently 9.58 seconds, 0.023 seconds can make quite the difference! The “superhero-like” full body suit has small dimples covering the arms and and along the shoulders and back. These holes are inspired by the texture of golf balls that provide more aerodynamic movement and speed. This is much different than the current speed suits that fit athletes very tightly and leave a lot of skin showing!

According to an article in Runner’s World, the new suit will be worn by runners from USA, Germany, Russia, and China at the London Olympics. And Nike is predicting that the high-tech sportswear could break personal best and world records.

See more photos of the track speed suits here and here.

So what are your thoughts? Will this be like the swimsuits from a few Olympics ago that were banned from competition fin 2009?

If you recall, Jan 1 of 2010, record-setting bodysuits or swimsuits were banned. Before being banned, the swimsuits had led to 108 world records in 2008 and many more in 2009. According to experts, some suits were suspected of creating “air trapping” effects that enhance speed. Read an article on the banning here. Not to worry, the USA swim team at the Olympics (the women at least) will be wearing a new design by an Iowan – the same guy that designed the banned ones four years back…Read up on it here.

What To Buy The Runner “Mom” In Your Life

It’s Mother’s Day this weekend and because there are sooo many moms out there that are now running (casually and competitively alike) I figured it was a great opportunity to recommend some fantastic gifts for the active and/or running mom in your life. Here’s the list, which ranges in price, as well as activity level and interests.

  1. Fruit or vegetable delivery from a national chain and/or local stand. I’ve seen a few of these offers on Groupon lately as well as advertised via email. This is a great option for the healthy mom in your life. Add some color and unique vegies/fruits with this convenient and thoughtful gift. Options include: Harry & David’s Organic Fruit of the Month Club or here in Florida Annie’s Organic Produce Buying Club of South Florida. Prices depend on option you choose.
  2. The Nike+ Fuel Band is brand new and a pretty interesting concept. The device is worn snug on your wrist and tracks your activity for the day…turning it into “Nike Fuel.” You start off with a goal of how much movement you want and the lights turn red, then yellow, then green as you near that point of desired exercise. It’s $149 but if even if it just serves as a reminder to start working out and moving, it’s worth it!
  3. AdvoCare Products: Is the running mom in your life looking to tone up and lost weight? Get her on the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge program – and better yet, do it with her! It’s amazing what someone can accomplish in just 24 days. Help motivate the mom in your life by getting her started on a quality lifestyle, diet program. The 24 day program (complete with recommended add-ons) can cost around $250.
  4. The ultimate gym bag! The Gaiam Everything Fits in the Bag is eco-chic and can keep anyone organized. Just $60, this is an easy gift for the active mom in your life!
  5. Who doesn’t love leggings?! They are comfortable yet cool; light yet covering; and useful for whatever activity or non-activity someone is doing! For under $30, these Yoga Foldover Leggings can be yours!
  6. EA Sports Active for Wii! So much fun yet hard and great for working out in the home and burning calories! It’s under $33, but remember, you still need the Wii!
  7. A 60-minute massage! Yes, how could I forget. Dr. David Rudnick of the Chiropractic & Sports Rehab Institute in Boynton Beach offer regular massages as well as Raindrop Massage! I’ve had the latter and it is truly amazing! Learn more here.
  8. And no running mom gift list would be complete without the jogging stroller! So here is just one option. Of course, do you research as there are many out there and it’s important to find the right one so you actually use it!

Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Running!