Trial Run!

Warning! If you don’t care about running, you may want to stop reading…now. Okay, confession time: those Merrell shoes below were not the only ones I ordered. Since Zappos has free return shipping, I like to pick out a few pairs, try them on, and then send back the rejects. This is an imperfect system, since it usually results in me keeping more pairs than I intended to. Oh man, I love Zappos! But the Merrell’s were way too wide for my feet, and did not feel “barefoot” to me. I also bought a more sneaker-like pair of New Balances, and went running in them last night on the treadmill, for it was dark, cold, and rainy here.

First of all, they were nothing like being barefoot, and I could still run on my heels very easily. So I opted for 2 minute sprint intervals (the length of one derby jam), trying to run on my forefoot, stand up straight, shorten my stride, and increase foot turn over. Man, I felt like a dork! Anyway, the run wasn’t that bad, but I disliked the shoes. My old cushiony Mizunos fit me perfectly, all narrow in the heel and roomy in the toes. These low-profile New Balance have freakishly high arches and frustratingly loose heels, so my toes were sliding all the way to the front of the shoe. It made me long to actually be barefoot. Do you think I’d get kicked out of the gym for that? I really thought about doing it. And then I thought about how I have no idea where I could actually go barefoot. The path by the river here is gravel, and the roads are just dangerous. Le sigh.

We had another excellent derby practice tonight, though, and plans are shaping up for the weekend, so there should be some exciting blogging coming up. I’ll give you a hint. It involves very large men with fancy hair-dos wearing lion cloths…


  1. Oh no! What will you try next? I have a wide foot/toe box but a very narrow ankle. Did you also order the vibrams in the picture?

    1. Yeah, the shoes in the pictures are New Balance with a Vibram sole, and they are the ones I tried out. Since my feet are shaped like skis, I think my next move will be to head to the PX to try some on, but I’m actually thinking of just running barefoot on the treadmill. Worst thing that can happen is they ask me to put on shoes, right???

  2. Interesting you saying that you could still heel strike in the New Balance shoes. This was on a treadmill right? Something that has give in it, do you feel you would still be able to on concrete? Great post and happy shopping!

    1. Thanks! Yes, I felt the heel was definitely cushioned enough to run on pavement with a heel striking gait. Maybe because I’m used to wearing very flimsy ballet flats and converse, both pairs of shoes still felt really cushioned and contoured to me. It’s also worth mentioning that I have narrow feet, high arches, and have never really been injured from doing lots of running and also never once thought about my foot strike before. I’ll keep at it! I’m really enjoying your blog, as well, btw! Happy running!

  3. Amateur advice, presented with an unwarranted voice of authority:

    Running barefoot in the gym seems like a good way to get invited to leave. If you really want to pursue running on the balls of your feet, maybe you want to fully commit and get a pair of FiveFingers?

    Going fully barefoot isn’t something you want to do overnight, by the way. The reason none of the areas outside look inviting for barefoot running is that your feet have been pampered your whole life. You might want to consider continuing your normal running regimen and start with some barefoot walks to toughen up your feet.

    Things to remember if you do this: your feet are going to get pretty gnarly. When it comes to barefoot walking/running ‘conditioned’ feet actually means heavily calloused. Callouses can and will form cracks, and when this happens, you can use superglue to seal them up. Regarding social protocol, be polite by keeping your feet down wind of anyone you ever want to like you, and never, ever ask anyone for a foot rub.

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