Monthly Archives: May 2011

  • Lots of Barefoot Buzz in Boulder

    This Monday, May 30, the Bolder Boulder 10K will snake through Boulder, Colorado, proudly proclaiming “Sea Level is for sissies.” This course is jam-packed with bands, comedy acts and more along the race route and incorporates a ton of “mini waves” so runners don’t have to fight their way through a crowd of bodies at the start of the race.

    But none of that is why I’m interested in the Bolder Boulder. I’m interested because Boulder has a Barefoot Running Club with over 300 members. How great is that? In fact, there are so many who are going to be racing in bare feet, the race has provided corrals just for barefooters! Interestingly, a lot of these runners are also touting the green benefits of running barefoot; no more running shoes to buy and discard and a closer relationship with nature, to boot.

    In addition to the bare feet at the Bolder Boulder, barefoot/natural running advocate Chris McDougall also toured the area, leading a barefoot run up to an area amphitheatre, the Sunrise Amphitheatre. Of course, McDougall’s experience was a little less than ideal, since he was ticketed for hosting the run to the amphitheatre without a permit (the ticket has since been rescinded).

    Anyway you look at it, Boulder is becoming a leader in the barefoot/minimalist movement. Is there a barefoot or minimalist movement in your area?

  • The Barefoot Days of Summer

    4268068616_c5715fe505[Image credit: heyitsgarrett]

    Now that warmer weather is rolling in, maybe you’re starting to feel like the time is right to give that first barefoot run a try. After all, what could be more appealing than seeing that green spread of grass in the park or that inviting paved trail?

    Here are just a couple things to keep in mind while hoofing it unshod during the summer months:

    Grassy Fields: That grassy patch may seem harmless, but remember no matter how cushy and springy that grass may look there can be a lot of things hiding in it to potentially damage bare feet. Make sure to scope out the area prior to going on that run.

    Asphalt: The soles of our feet can adapt to hard man-made surfaces. Toughening of the soles will require more time and patience however. That said, asphalt is great unshod running surface, however asphalt can get very hot when it’s been baking in the sun. Look for shadier areas, like paved trails in your local park, until your feet begin to get used to the higher temperatures.

    Sandy beach: The beach is a fantastic barefoot running spot. Make sure to find a flat and hard packed beach as running in soft sand will stretch your Achilles and cause real discomfort and possible injury. Remember: Hard and flat is best.

    Running in the rain: While your bare feet will actually be grippier on wet surfaces than a normal shoe, there are a few things to keep in mind. Wet conditions can easily soften your soles, leading to more-than-normal wear and tear to your calluses. Wear minimal shoes in wet weather as your soles are probably not tough enough for all-weather running.

    Aside from just being barefoot, don’t forget these 5 good tips of warm weather running:

    1. Stay hydrated. It’s so easy in the summer months to lose track of how much you’re drinking. 2. Wear sunscreen. Don’t undo the health benefits of running by frying your face or feet. 3. Run early or late in the day, when it’s cooler. Hot surfaces can ruin a good experience quickly. 4. Wear light-colored clothing to maximize coolness. 5. Remember you need to acclimate - your body has to remember how to regulate itself to stay cool when hot season arrives.

    So get out there and enjoy! What better way to connect with nature than through your soles?

    Happy Trails!

  • Design into Reality (Almost)

    Heading into summer, things at SKORA are starting to heat up. We’ve had a really great and busy few weeks and are excited about a lot of things that are coming down the pike.

    We’re moving ever closer to the much-anticipated tester pairs. It’s thrilling to think that before long we will finally be running in the inaugural SKORA shoes - the journey has been long to get here.

    I’ve talked some about design versus reality when it comes to the shoes. Something that looks great on paper doesn’t necessarily translate well to a three-dimensional, usable shoe. A lot of these elements have already changed through the design process, but one feature I’m really eager to try out is one I haven’t mentioned much, and that is the fit when worn sockless. Barefoot running purists, along with many cyclists and triathletes already tend to go barefoot, but most runners haven’t adopted this. From the very onset, I wanted to design our shoes for sockless comfort. This has required creative pattern design and stitching techniques, so that the seams won’t irritate the foot.

    The sockless design is a component that really is impossible to know if it worked until you slip the shoe on and put in a few miles. It’s almost one of those checkpoints where you get to see how well your idea really worked. There’s such a big difference between the way something feels when you’re just trying it on or walking around with it versus when you really start to put in miles. Ask any runner who went from the occasional two or three mile run to suddenly doing seven, eight or ten mile runs. Things that don’t chafe at shorter miles can become really uncomfortable later on.

    When I first discovered barefoot running in 2002 and remedied my severe IT-band injury, I was very much a purist. I was convinced unshod running was the only way. I eventually realized though that barefoot running all the time, in every climate or all surfaces at any distance is not possible for most of us. Heck, as much as I enjoy barefoot running and try to incorporate a lot of unshod runs in my training, I won’t generally attempt to run trails barefoot. It’s not worth risking a possible injury or catching a virus that won’t show up in my bloodstream for a decade or two.

    We’ll keep you posted on our progress towards our testers. Stay tuned and happy trails!

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