“Running was the superpower that made us human-which means it’s the superpower all humans possess.” I just finished the book, Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. This book has brought to light so many incredibly aspects of running, but one thing it unveiled stands out to me and makes me mad. There is a whole running shoe industry created to protect our feet, when in fact the running shoes do nothing but hurt us and out feet. I have just learned that two million years of natural selection can not be beat by thirty years of running shoes and cushioned pads.
“The New Balance… excels with its… responsive ride combined with the support of the dual-density midsole and a plastic bridge under the arch.” (Runners World). This is a summary of the favorite shoe of 2015, but its “dual-density midsole and a plastic bridge” actually make our feet weak leading to multiple running injuries. I have learned three important things about running shoes from McDougall’s book born to run. First of all, people who wear the most expensive running shoes are actually a 135 percent more likely to get injured than someone wearing cheep running shoes. Secondly feet instinctively want a solid stable surface to run on, so, when you add a spongey surface to protect them in the form of a shoe, your feet then pound down harder to find a solid surface, therefore putting more stress on your body. Finally the modern running shoe actually makes our feet weak, it is similar to a cast in the fact that all of the muscles in your foot become weaker from the unneeded support, leading to a weaker arch, or a flat foot. The running shoe has turned out to be an accessory that is not only unnecessary, but makes injuries more likely to happen.
Of course running shoes does not help humans since we evolved to run barefoot and free just like our ancestors evolved to do. Influenced by McDougall’s born to run I have started doing barefoot runs down the beach with my family, and wearing minimalist shoes who’s sole job is to protect your feet but still let you run naturally. At first “barefoot” running felt strange, but after a couple of weeks I stopped feeling any of the knee pains that have recently been plaguing me. The freedom and benefits I get from running barefoot has motivated me run with minimalist shoes, and spread the idea of barefoot running to my friends, cousins, and cross country coach. By spreading the idea of barefoot running I hope to help everyone find the joy in running. One step at a time is all it takes to bring running into our way of life and hopefully everyone else.