16 August 2012

Cracking up

I am not an early adopter of new technologies, or anything in fact, never have been and surely never will be. Not usually very late, but certainly not early. I am too old for much novelty, even if a commuting friend last week estimated my age at a full decade less than it is, and another friend commented that in my Facebook profile photo I look younger than ever (which needs to be considered in context: she last saw me nearly four years ago). On the other hand, I had to point out to Paul that I had gone up an age group since last I ran the Bridges Race.

Actually, one thing that I have adopted early (and with too much enthusiasm for my own good, which is another matter) is neo-barefoot running. I add the prefix because the early adopters of barefoot running were around at least 200,000 years ago. As I read somewhere this morning, we are all born barefoot.

I reasoned that adopting a barefoot technique, running on my mid- or fore-foot, would save my legs and knees from the pounding I was giving them by heel-banging. It seemed as if whenever I mentioned to someone that I was a runner they would offer the helpful opinion that my knees must be wrecked, which they weren't, although I could see a distinct advantage in ensuring they never got into such a state. My current knee problems stemmed from my use of a new pair of foam wedges ...

Having spent so much of my life wearing my lawyer's uniform, my feet are accustomed to being laced into black, leather-soled, Goodyear welted, highly-polished Oxfords or similar, with pronounced though not excessive heel drops. They are not cheap (although one shops around), they need frequent resoling (even with Blakeys - a highly inadvisable way to use a trade mark, by the way), they have to be polished every day (though they don't get it!) and they crack up where they bend, right by my little toes. Plus, they are often uncomfortable even if they seemed fine in the shop.

My knee injury, and Achilles problems, and strained calf muscles (the latter the product of too much midfoot striking without a proper transition) combined to make walking a really painful experience for most of this year, and it crossed my mind that it might be worth replacing my traditional shoes with something a little more comfortable. I could see my socks through the side of one pair, and another pair needed resoling (which brings another song, by the most famous band ever to have lived within three or four miles of my home, to mind), so I went out and bought a couple of pairs from Eye Footwear in the arcade at Old Street tube station, and a great experience it was too - excellent service, and great value, comfortable shoes.

But that's not the point of this rambling story. I found - probably through Facebook - the Sport Pursuit website, where useful stuff features in pop-up sales. Having signed up to it, I get an email every so often advising me of what's going cheap, and it does seem to be very cheap - everything being relative: half-price cycle wheels are great, but when they start at £1,700 it's hard to rate half-price as cheap in any absolute sense of the word. I haven't checked whether you get a pair for that.

You do certainly get a pair when you buy shoes from them, and they don't have to be sports shoes. A recent sale offered Vivobarefoot shoes at a very attractive price, including the Ra, so now I can do the whole barefoot thing day in, day out. They are exceedingly comfortable, and I thoroughly recommend both the shoes and Sports Pursuit.

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