Swimming in your running shoes July 14 2015, 0 Comments

Our running group is actually a 'hare and hounds' group in which someone lays a trail earlier in the day, and then the rest follow it. The trail disappears in places, so the front-runners have to find it and the others have a chance to catch up, and there are also a couple of other devices to keep the group together.

We ran on July 4th, as we have a fairly strong and patriotic American contingent. As the temperatures soared up to 36°C (97°F), the hare took the trail to the river, and we had a stretch of about half a kilometre along which we could float with the stream and cool down - bliss! I jumped in fully clothed and wearing my Terras. As they fit so snugly, and are not carrying a wad of padding underfoot, they felt quite natural, and I was able to swim and then get out and carry on running with the minimum of fuss.

Some ZEMgear shoes, such as the O2 Oxygen range, are designed for water sports, but in fact, because of their lightness and snug fit, all of them can be used for this. Handy if you would like to take a dip in the middle of your run.Similarly, a friend of ours with a labrador who has just discovered that he is a water-dog invited me down to the lake for a swim. Some sort of footwear is advisable to get over the stones near the shore to the deeper water. I wore 360s, and found that swimming in them is easy and, as they don't have to be changed, there is a minimum of fuss at the shore both going in and coming out.

Indoor sports - shoes or no? February 18 2015, 0 Comments

We had an in inquiry last week from someone who wanted to know if ZEMgear shoes could be used for indoor sports such as martial arts.  I had heard that in some states in the USA, new legislation had made shoes compulsory at public sports venues because of the possibility of spreading foot infections.  This prompted an internet search, and I could find nothing about it at all, so it seems that it might be another myth.  However, the question about use of ZEMgear shoes for indoor sports remains.

In the past, I did martial arts, and we always trained barefoot, and sometimes on different surfaces (grass, concrete, slippery floors) to widen our experience.  This can be a trial in the early stages as constantly-shod feet are soft and can develop scratches and blisters until they toughen up.  This would be a perfect time for barefoot shoes, as standard trainers do not convey the same feeling of contact with the ground as barefoot training, and plasters covering small injuries would be protected inside the shoes.

So the answer is 'yes', it's possible to train for barefoot sports in ZEMgear shoes.  The soles of all models are all non-marking to keep the sports hall management happy, and the tech-bands hold the shoes tightly to the feet, allowing good manoeuvrability.  Any of the range could be worn, depending on the degree of protection or warmth required, with the O2 Oxygen as an initial recommendation, as it was specifically designed for indoors or water sports. 


Of bleak and sunny running days... March 18 2014, 0 Comments

Why do we wait until we break?

In the last couple of years I have come across three people, including myself, who are selling or distributing barefoot running shoes, all with almost identical stories.  We all suffered from spinal disc prolapses, resulting in long periods (2 years in my case...) of rehabilitation from pain, cramps and partial paralysis of the leg on the side of the injury.  We all have discovered that by running barefoot style, we were able to get back to a near normal lifestyle again, and continue to indulge in our love of running.

In separate conversations with the other two, we have wondered at people who hear our stories, but maintain that they will continue with their current running shoes until something happens.  Now, I understand the philosophy of not fixing something unless it's broken, but if I ever had a chance to go back and avoid that two year stretch of desolation with the prospect of giving up any sport except swimming, I would take it.  I guess it is this experience that makes us the zealots that we are for the front-foot running style outlined by the barefoot professor, Daniel Lieberman, at Harvard.  I also guess that it often takes a fairly radical event to change the habits of a lifetime.

Nevertheless, I don't get it...

Temperatures have climbed from near zero into the mid-teens centigrade now, and it's time to change from my toasty Apexes and Heros to the spring and summer options of the Terras.  It's still a bit early for swimming in the lakes and rivers, unless you have the constitution of an otter,  the O2 Oxygen shoes for water sports will later come in to play to protect our feet from stony underwater floors. 

In the meantime, it's running in the spring forests, with the trees coming into bud - fantastic!  Have a great spring!