Standard #2 – Flat Shoes

Q: Do you wear flat shoes? 

“This standard is as uncomplicated as it is robustly effective: When you wear shoes, wear the flat kind. If you’re walking the red carpet on Oscar night, fine, go ahead and wear a shoe with a heal. Once in a while is ok.” (Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally)

This is a standard that I score well at, but it has not always been the case.  I was a chronic heel striker, wore out the heels of my running shoes first and was told by a fellow runner that he could hear me coming/slapping from a mile back. I vividly remember finishing the 2010 Gold Coast Marathon in motion controlled shoes and could hardly walk at the end. I had chafe on the inside of my knees where they had rubbed together (not good) and it took me weeks to recover. This experience lead me to read books such as “Born to Run‘ and follow guys like the Sock Doc and Dr Nick Campitellie. I slowly made the transition to a zero drop shoe and have not looked back. I now spend most of my time in a minimalist shoe, such as Altra’s Adams, and whenever possible, especially around the house, get about barefoot and love the feeling of being grounded/earthed, which has many benefits.

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Key Motivation

“It may seem like a minor deviation that your running shoes (for instance) have half an inch more cushion under the heel than the forefoot , but this seemingly minor tweek is like messing with the springs or a race car. It screws up the whole system, and at some point, the wheels are going to burn off’.” (Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally)

Other tips I got from the chapter

  • Heel striking is aided by wearing a running shoe with a big fat chunk of cushion under the heel.
  • Small children don’t heel strike until early on in school when they spend hours sitting and wearing shoes with a heel. Put them in a flat shoes early on and keep them there (Barefoot Power & Children’s Shoes: 7 Crucial Guidelines for Parents).
  • Barefoot Saturday – spending one day a week barefoot as much as possible – is good for both you and for your kids.
  • Flip-flops? just say no.
  • Change is going to take time – there is no overnight fix.
  • Include running drills/skill work and mobility exercises into the transition process.
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