Stewards of a lost art: born to run barefoot

CoverThe Tarahumara are stewards of a lost art. For centuries, the reclusive Mexican Indians have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles, rest-free, and enjoy every mile of it. They’re healthy and serene and immune to diseases that can plague modern existence. But how?

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen asks this very question. And one answer the author came up with is… drumroll please:

They run barefoot. Well, almost barefoot. They craft simple sandals from old tyres – no pillowy soft air cushioning, no dynamic cradles that can be found in over-priced running shoes.

People were designed to run. Barefoot. This is the theory established in Born to Run. Barefoot running strengthens the foot and creates  a solid foundation for the body. Running shoes  force the foot to rely on the shoe for support, weakening the foot, which can lead to injury. When ‘proper’ running shoes were introduced in the 1970s, so too were running injuries. The more expensive the shoe, the higher the rate of injury!

So what is a lover of running to do? Likely we don’t want to wear old tyres or risk naked feet when there’s glass and rocks to contend with. There is an answer. It isn’t pretty. But it is oh, so comfortable. It’s a barefoot running shoe. I first read about them in Born to Run and now  I wouldn’t run in anything else.

Like to run or thinking about starting? Born to Run will psyche you up. Read on! It might just change everything.

Check the Christchurch City Libraries website for great running resources.

4 thoughts on “Stewards of a lost art: born to run barefoot

  1. robertafsmith 15 November 2010 / 9:16 am

    Zola Budd was a South African runner who broke the womens’ 5000 metres track record twice in 3 years. She always ran barefoot. In South Africa black taxi’s were called Zola Budd’s – mainly because they drove very very fast with no tread on the tyres! Very interesting book B, I think I will have to read it – in my armchair – with slippers on.

  2. B 15 November 2010 / 6:43 pm

    This book is a great read…with or without slippers! Get in the queue, though. There’s been a waiting list on this book for over a year now! But it is oh, so worth the wait.

  3. mj 16 November 2010 / 10:21 am

    This was one of my standout reads for 2010. Fascinating stuff. I agree, it’s well worth the wait.

  4. Odie Rüegg 16 November 2010 / 10:16 pm

    I read this book as well, definitely one of the best books I’ve read last year. I wasn’t much of a runner before but have also bought the “barefoot running shoes” (Vibram Five Fingers) and have started running. Well worth the read especially if you need to be encouraged to take up running.

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