Monthly Archives: September 2009

  • The beginning (Part II)

    wetgrass [Image credit: Mouldfish]

    I spent days pouring over what little barefoot running content was available online.  Remember, this was 2002. Before Vibram FiveFingers, before Nike Free and before hundreds (probably thousands) of media articles and blog posts about barefooting.

    I couldn't help but feel betrayed by the footwear companies.  Lied to by my favorite running magazine.  Saturated with a renewed knowing of how I should run, I planned my inaugural barefoot run the following day.

    It was a mild mid-Spring day in Calgary.  I suited up and walked out my front door, barefoot. Well, okay, I took a pair of dusty old aqua socks with me - just in case.  I walked to a nearby greenbelt, marked my starting line by tossing the aqua socks on the dew soaked grass and began to run.

    I've always enjoyed being barefoot, but the sensation of running unshod was surreal.  I not only ran for 30 minutes that day (longest run in nearly a year) but I run pain free.   This was it! I found the Holy Grail of healthy injury-free running. No need for therapy or orthotics or cushioned shoes.  Just a return to natural human movement.  I took it slow at first, listened to my body and feet. Rested when my feet felt tender, ran in aqua socks in the rain as to not shred my soles, and generally relearned how to run.

    I ran on grassy fields, sidewalks and on the street.  I began to play with the environment.  Testing my body and my feet. Over the coming weeks I made new friends with neighbors and fellow runners thanks to my naked feet.  Sure, there were times I felt uneasy running barefoot.  Early mornings made it difficult to see the path ahead - and my patience for aqua socks was, well, drying up.  They were slipping around my foot constantly and stretched too easily to depend on to stay put.

    It was then I knew that I needed a minimal 2nd skin to protect my feet once in a while.  But there was nothing available commercially.

    The idea for Skora was born.

    David Sypniewski

    Founder/CEO, Skora Athletics | Chief Blogger & Instigator | t: 904.252.0704 | 14286-19 Beach Blvd #373, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250 e: |

  • The beginning (Part I)

    2001 | 10K Race

    I was never the fastest runner. Quite honestly, I rather disliked running all throughout school. It wasn't until my early twenties that I discovered the pure joy of the sport. Granted, I initially got into running for the sole purpose of losing a few pounds. Within a few short months I became faster, trimmer and more confident. I was a runner.

    My 2001-2002 running season was improving thanks to running 100+ kms (62+ miles) per week and several 5k and 10k races under my (hydration) belt.  My first 1/2 marathon, Calgary's Harvest Half, placed me in a respectable 38th place. I was on track to run a strong marathon mid 2002.

    And then, disaster struck.

    Seemingly overnight a severe iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) injury made running impossible.  For the next 8 months I tried everything.  Cross training, chiropractic adjustments, expensive orthotics, deep tissue massage and stretching.  No luck.  The pain was now a constant.  While driving or sitting at work.  I began to stand in front my computer, that helped a little.

    It turned out a weak hip abductor muscle was the cause. But what caused the weak muscle(s). I was in the fittest shape of my life. How could this be? I was puzzled.  I did everything that a runner '"should do".  I was fitted for the right running shoes to "correct" my gait, replaced them regularly as instructed and kept my running schedule busy.

    But now, after nearly a year of little running - I lost my endurance - and gained anger and confusion.  One day my frustration peaked when a 10 minute light run caused me to hobble home with a throbbing burning on side of me knee.  I jumped online and started researching. I read everything I could find about natural and injury-free running.  And like many fellow barefooters, it was Ken Bob Saxton's barefoot running site that opened my eyes.

    Barefoot running.

    Yes, it made perfect sense.  Our bodies have evolved over millions of years to walk and run.   But modern running shoes have broken this is a short 40 years.

    In the early 1970’s Bill Bowerman, a track coach turned entrepreneur, created a cushioned running shoe that allowed runners to take longer strides.    By cushioning the heels and tilting the runner slightly forward, the gait of the average runner was changed to a heel strike stride rather than the more natural mid or forefoot strike.  Mr. Bowerman, and his business partner, Phil Knight, marketed the new shoes under the brand name of Nike.  And so began the industry we recognize today. An industry plagued by injuries that affect 3 in 4 recreational runners.

    Coming in Part II : My first barefoot run...

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