Towards the end of last year, while training hard for the Berlin Marathon, I unfortunately suffered a stress fracture to my pelvis. This was diagnosed in November last year and promptly put me in the pool aqua jogging instead of pounding the pavements on my usual 90 mile a week training programme. Since then, the week after Christmas I started back out jogging on the roads, slowly introducing myself back into the running mechanics and building leg strength however I have lost my competitive running mojo and so I thought maybe a new focus might help me get back into the swing of things.
My thoughts turned to the natural running and barefoot shoes that are currently available and thought may be they would be worth a go and maybe what they say about reducing injury risk might be worth the transition.
There are many 'natural' running shoes available, but you have to be careful when switching from standard trainers to these types of shoes. The structure and whole support of your foot is different and your muscles and bones need time to learn the new way of running. With this in mind, I was cautious to go the full way down the line of the Vibram Five Fingers shoes and so settled on the Brooks Pure Flow shoes. These are a natural shoe but still have some of the cushioning to help with the transition.
First impressions are great, the look of the shoe is fantastic, and on holding the shoe box it felt as if they had forgotten to put the shoes in there! They are so light so I was keen to put them on and try them out.
My session in them was actually a gym session, I wanted to get my calves use to the different feel before stressing them during a run as well. They feel great, the width of the shoe is good, the most cushioning is under the toes. When you wear them and stand still it feels like you are about to fall backwards, but that is to encourage you when running to remain on your toes (unlike normal trainers which encourage mid foot strikes). I then took them out on an easy, short run of 30 minutes. They were as light as a feather and felt great, no complaints. And surprising my calves the next day felt fine too. I am wearing them to do 2 of my shorter runs a week and also during a gym session to build up my lower leg and foot strength using the new technique. But I have had no niggles since starting to wear them.
I really have no complaints about this shoe, they look, feel and run great. They are a great midway shoe between the normal trainer and the Vibram's barefoot shoe. So if you are thinking of going down the barefoot running route but are cautious about making that full step in one go, these are definitely the shoe for you!