Shoe Fetish

Yes I admit I have a shoe fetish! I always have!

Nike Free Run 2, Five Finger Bikila, Saucony Kinvara

However this is not so much determined by fashion or colour (despite what this picture may suggest). I guess it started when I got my first pair of shoes in Wuppertal, deep in the Cederberg. I remember getting my first hiking boots (the Lubbe T3) at about the same time when I started rock climbing. The edging was not great so I was super stoked when I got given an old pair of EB’s which pushed my grade to well into the high E grade (SA not UK – 12’ish in modern grade). I did my first climbing trip overseas in 1991 and splurged: Boreal Ace (remember those?), Boreal Ninja and a pink pair of Scarpa ice climbing boots (yes they only made them in one colour). My climbing career settled on the La Sportiva Miura and sometimes the Cobra. Beautiful little orange slippers about 2 sizes too small. The idea in the mid 90’s was to get the best edging performance out of your footwear. As a result we all performed Chinese foot torture quite voluntarily. The results were not forthcoming and I quickly opted for one size bigger which gave the same performance but about 10 times less pain!
My fetish got a boost recently when I started trying to go more minimalist in my footwear.
“Fashionista!” you cry, “you are so busted”. No hear me out:
I like the idea behind minimal footwear.
I like to think that we are all entitled to run injury free.
I subscribe to the thinking that it is better to strengthen your foot rather than build more support into your shoe.
I realise that there are no shortcuts in this journey and that this kind of adaptation takes a long time, months if not years!
Listening to Ross Tucker at the Sport’s Science Institute last night give his opinion on barefoot running pointed out some interesting things. I have observed the following in myself:
·         It is incredibly hard to change something in your stride. I have tried to change my cadence and blogged about it here.
·         When wearing 5 fingers or minimal shoes I have not immediately changed to a forefoot striker.
·         I think that changing your running style is a learned thing. I believe this takes far longer than most of us believe. I was way surprised by Ross’ 3 month time period. I think that a transition is more likely to take a year or more.
·         The body learns by way of playing and not by doing things in structured ways. I have experimented with Feldenkrais a little and like the approach.
So what makes me like a shoe? It makes me feel good! Recently I went searching for a new trail shoe and I settled on the model which made me feel great. But that is for another post. So maybe this post should be called a foot fetish rather than shoe fetish – hmm.
I have started down this slippery slope of trying to build my foot rather than my shoes and I dare not stop now otherwise I fear that the last 18 months may be lost.  Believe me that is not somewhere I want to go again. So onwards I push not sure how deep this rabbit hole is going to be…

3 thoughts on “Shoe Fetish

  1. Hey there,

    It has been quite a while.

    How are your 5 fingers are going/

    There is a 50% as athletes foot in the V&A. I am considering getting them for in between trad pitches?

    I'm interested to hear a follow up.

    Btw, thanks for keep inspiring 🙂

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