Vibram 5 Fingers
[caption id="attachment_65" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="My fives"][/caption] I stopped running a couple of years ago after getting really really bad shin splints, to the point where I couldn't walk. This was no fun at all! I braved the whole thing again last year, but this time with a few changes. I ran with my Asiics trainers for the first couple of months and after a while I started getting pains in my shins again. I was really down about this because the main reason I run is because I love to. These new pains meant that I was facing giving it all up again :(
Richard (my other half who is a runner), suggest I give the Vibram Five Fingers a go, because he was miraculously free of any previous injury because of them. He raved about them long enough for me to give them a go as well, although I did so with a lot of apprehension. They have no padding, no gel heel, no cushioned sole, nothing...it's like running barefoot. The sole of the shoe is rugged enough to protect you from glass and stones and things, but thin enough that you can feel the ground when you run/walk. To begin with actually, I turned them down, until I read this entire Reddit thread where people are proclaiming that these shoes have changed their running lives.
Being a scientist I needed a bit more than hearsay, so I also read papers from the Harvard Barefoot running lab. Looking at the videos on there I realised that, yes, I am a heel striker in my running shoes...however when I run barefoot, I am a mid-foot striker. Now that was interesting. Interesting enough for me to give them a go.
All I can say is that since I have switched, I have no shin pain, no knee pain, no nothing. It is sooooo much fun to run in these, and so much easier too. I run faster and longer than I ever did before. I absolutely recommend you give them a try, although they may well not be right for everyone.
Oh, and people will give you weird looks :)