Running Sandals Can Set Your Feet Free!
Do actual running sandals exist? Are there some out there that you can actually log some serious miles on? Yes there is! Although running sandals do present some problems that a running shoe prevents, some of their benefits are fantastic.
First of all, there are only a few sandals specifically designed for running some mileage in. You can compare prices of the following three types - The Teva Wraptor, the Bite Xtension, and a few of the models made by Keen Footware.
There are also many different newer start up companies developing very light "minimalist" running shoes. This movement was really started by a book that we reviewed here at tips4running called, Born To Run. You can actually build your own running sandals with a thin sole and string.
The reasoning behind making these simple shoes is a backlash against the high tech running companies. Big bulky running shoes don't always prevent injuries. For some people, running shoes can actually be the cause of the injury.
It seems backwards, but is true. Only about a hundred years ago, there wasn't much anything that you wore on your feet to run, and there were a lot less injuries. That is because your feet actually provide great warnings to how much you really should be running. You can't run far on barefoot if you haven't built up some strong calluses. You have to run gradually to build these up. Therefore, a gradual build up prevents injuries naturally. Running shoes protect your feet immediately, so you can run far and your feet won't hurt. The problem is, other parts of your legs might get hurt instead.
The benefits of running in sandals include being able to let your toes spread out, and having the open air get to your feet. After your sore feet suffer in socks and shoes, putting on a pair of sandals can feel fantastic. If you are still skeptical about if you can actually run in them, many serious competitors have completed marathons and ultra-marathons in these shoes.
Running in sandals or even barefoot is beneficial for the tiny muscles in your feet. Running shoes can constrict your foot making them weak. When your feet get to spread out when they land on the ground during a run, it strengthens the ligaments, tendons, and muscles in your feet. We actually do barefoot strides for our track and cross country runners because it feels great and helps out their feet.
The problems of running in sandals include developing calluses because of your feet in the open air, and getting debris under your foot. I know my feet get ultra tough in the summer because I hardly ever wear shoes. It’s sandals all day, except for some of my runs. Be careful with calluses because they can crack. I actually have to use a file or a knife and cut some down at times.
The other problem with your feet being out in the open is dirt, sand, pebbles and woodchips can get you. When I run on the beach with sandals I have to sometimes veer off into the water to wash out the sand. On the trails, I have to jiggle my feet during strides to get the pebbles or woodchips out from under my feet.
I hope you found the answers you are looking for here on running sandals. They are fun to wear. I tend to wear them for much more than running just because of the good fit they have compared to a regular sandal. Now set your feet free and go for a run!
- Written by David Tiefenthaler
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