Every Crayon in the Box

Every Crayon in the Box

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Revisiting the Camel Toe: in SHOES, that is

May 3, 2012 , , , , , ,

Well, it looks like a lot of people are still checking out my old Chicago Now post : a quirky opinion about running shoes via my manufacturing background. To THAT I have to say THANK YOU. Mille Grazie.

Yes, there are soooo many types of running shoes out there now, and Vibram Five Fingers are still going strong.

There are more shoes that speak to the barefoot running movement even still, and it looks like Nike has created a few hybrids of the original “camel toe” shoe that look a little nicer.

One of the shoes that Nike has “upgraded” from its original camel toe version is called the Nike ‘Air Rift Basic’ Sneaker. There’s also the Nike ‘Free Gym’ Training Shoe. Both of those have the original “split toe” design.

Then they still have the Nike Free Run which boast a “super natural ride.”

Sidebar: when I first got on the training wheels for triathlon training (and I STILL am), the sides of my legs were the first to be impacted. When I worked with my trainer, probably the SECOND best thing I did was work on a square rocker board. When we first started out with it he asked me if I grew up bow-legged. I was like, ummm no…but right away I could see what he meant: I was working the board on the sides of my feet.

Then in another session  he mentioned how his track coach in high school told him to remember to run like his feet were like a pterodactyl’s, meaning, making sure three points of contact on the bottom of your foot were touching the ground, forefront first:

After that, I spent weeks in training working on my feet, watching how they landed during the run. Even walking to work I was thinking “tripod tripod tripod” to make sure my big toe and both sides of my feet were making contact with the ground.

It totally worked.

Then of course I started getting plantar fasciitis which I could live with because I felt like I was correcting my running technique. Eventually the PF disappeared.

So what’s the point? Other than we’re not Pterodactyls? Running shoes are extraordinary. I’ve seen industrial designers first hand go to work on different creations. I’ve seen prototypes of some amazing design at work in the sporting goods industry and witnessed the finished product. The amount of thought and energy that goes into the design of these running creations is pretty spectacular.

What I’ve learned as a beginner in this triathlon adventure is that picking out the right running shoe is important. You may be able to run in Vibram Five Fingers, or FOOTWEAR HAVING INDEPENDENTLY ARTICUABLE TOE PORTIONS or you may not. For me I think they would cause more harm than good. Although I run in a neutral shoe I didn’t start that way; I needed much more stability at first and I went through a handful of Saucony STABIL’s until I got to my Karhu Fluid’s.

Now my precious Fluids are going obsolete and the last two pairs are cutting into my ankles. It’s time to try something new. So many brands have captured the barefoot and / or the “natural” approach; I think I might go to REI and try out a pair of the new Merrell Barefoot Run Dash Gloves.

The “Camel Toe” post has been good to me but it’s time to move on to more evolved breeds.

We shall see what happens next.

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