Did anyone know there's a whole "barefoot" trend in shoes?
Well, I'd seen the Vibram Five Finger shoes, but dismissed them as a fad - one that I'd love to try, but still a fad.
My regular shoes (a few-months old pair of Merrells) have been, quite simply hurting my feet - giving me two painful callouses, one on each foot. The callouses have been pretty much a part of my life since about 3 days into wearing the shoes, and my previous shoes had given me callouses on different parts of my soles, so I'd been assuming that was just the way things were ... my feet are VERY wide, and regular shoes just plain hurt.
Well, a few days ago, I asked a friend about the Vibram Five Fingers, almost willing to try them for a change. And she pointed me to Merrell's Pace Gloves. AND to a page describing how to ease into barefoot running.
Don't get me wrong. I haven't much interest in running (or doing *anything*) barefoot outdoors, but I definitely liked the idea of minimalist shoes.
I was leery, though, given my prior experience with my current pair of Merrells. Also, was worried they would hurt, given that the Canadian stores only carry the regular width while the US has a wide-width option.
The Pace Glove, though?
Liked them at first sight.
Until I put them ON. Regular width was not only fine, it allowed me to splay my toes - a first in shoes for me!
And the feel? Not quite barefoot, but SO light. Airy. COMFORTABLE - which isn't something I have said about shoes in a while, as you can imagine.
I promptly had them pack up my other Merrells, paid for the Pace Gloves, and walked the rest of the way home (2 more miles) in the Pace Gloves.
WHAT a difference. I could feel my gait returning to normal now that I wasn't putting pressure on the callouses at the sides of my feet.
No pain. Just sheer pleasure!
That night, my calves were stiff ... the shoes hadn't hurt, so I'd not bothered to stretch when I got home. Silly me.
But I was fine by morning. So on went the Pace Gloves again.
The next day, I walked home from work - about 4.5 miles.
Again, NO pain. Just that slight dull ache from a long walk after almost no exercise for months. And I remembered to stretch, so no soreness at night.
WOW! I have NOT felt this good in a LONG time!
The barefoot running experts warn that you should start out with only a few minutes in these shoes, because they are SO different from regular stiff-soled, larger heel-to-toe height ratio shoes.
But I walk around barefoot at home all the time, so I guess that makes the difference ... my feet are used to the barefoot experience.
I can see me using these for a marathon sometime, if I ever get around to wanting to do one again. (Not likely, at least, not likely that I'll train for one ... the training was just plain BORING the last time!)
However, in the meantime, I can see myself just wearing these anywhere and everywhere.
Bonus: these are machine washable! And SO light and flexible, they'll fit easily in a purse, so I have no reason not to take them along even if I plan to wear dressy shoes occasionally - I rarely find any justification for dressy shoes, but still ...
So I went shopping again last night, looking for a pair in a different colour. (Merrell has some YUMMY colours on these - but most stores in Toronto only seem to carry the more staid colours).
Wound up ordering a second pair (on sale, which was a bonus):
AND, to top it off, picked up a pair of the Hylidae Wrap sandals (also on sale, also from Merrell's Barefoot line):
I am in bliss.
Can't wait for the "Ice" green Pace Gloves to get here, and totally loving my current pair in the meantime.
Extremely tempted to get a pair in every colour offered, just because these are so comfy and FUN!
And today I try out the sandals at work ... should be fun, since I actually got the orange coloured pair, not even listed on the website! I have an orange skirt that should go well with it. :)
Off to ride my bike to work now ... in my Pace Gloves. I've been warned it's going to be more painful than stiff-soled shoes, but am willing to take the chance. At worst, will leave the bike at work and walk home, then take a stiff-soled pair back tomorrow to ride it home.