I’ve talked a lot over the last couple weeks about where we are with Skora; it’s really exciting to see the progress that is being made, and the momentum that is happening so swiftly. So I wanted to take a step back and talk a little about the why of Skora, why minimalist/barefoot running is important.
At the end of the day, what it all comes down to is running naturally. Our body naturally gives us cues when it comes to how far and how fast we can run, and how it should feel to when we do it. What running shoes have done since the 1970s, when they started to get these thicker, cushier soles, is to sever that sensory connection between the foot and the brain. Normally, the body gives you signs to let you know you’re tired, that you need to rest: heel striking, poor form, tired feet, painful soles. When you’re wearing these over-engineered shoes, these natural cues are eliminated, leading to so many of today’s common running injuries, such as runner’s knee, Plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and so many more.
I’ll take a moment here to say I’m not a doctor—I don’t play one on TV, I don’t play one online, but what I know from experience is it’s common sense when you heel strike and you’re at a locked-knee position, and with every strike on the ground that in a locked, straight position, you are in essence putting all that pressure and compression into your knee. That’s not natural.
When you start to heel strike, especially, it’s your body’s way of saying, “hey, you’re done for today. Go home, relax. Don’t run anymore today.” That lack of mid-foot stride is really indicative of your body’s fatigue.
You have to listen to your body, and the best way of doing that, in my opinion, and in many supporters of this movement is to begin with a barefoot run. Or at the very least, sprinkle true barefoot runs into your training when running on minimal shoes because that barefoot run will reinforce the form and reinforce that connection. Even in a minimal shoe you can fall into the same trap that, “Oh, I can go long because my soles don’t hurt. It’s okay, it’s fine. I can go longer, I wanna do that 60 minute run on Sunday.”
What I’m really trying to get across here is just to remember to listen to your body, to enjoy the feel of the run. For 9 years, I’ve been running barefoot, primarily, or in a second-skin minimal shoe. But I still try to do as many miles barefoot because I love it; it makes me feel connected to the earth, to the nature around me which makes me appreciate my running that much more. It’s really my form of meditation.