The barefoot running debate is like a 3am disagreement between two drunken party-goers; nobody else quite understands what all the fuss is about, and yet the disagreement itself is oddly compelling.
Even better, there’s actually some interesting science beneath it all:
But what about the practicalities? As a member of Racing Green — the network of amateur athletes who want to see improved sustainability in sport — I knew I could put off giving it a shot for only so long…
It was great. I used muscles in my lower legs that I didn’t know I had. I got a tide-mark of grass cuttings around my ankles. And the pupils of the local private school got to attempt to establish why there was a shoeless lunatic belting around their playing fields.
But am I going to ditch my runners for my commute through the glass-strewn badlands of south west London? Probably not right now.
If the choices you make — whether or not your go barefoot, how much you train, what you eat — mean that you can continue to enjoy injury-free running, then surely that is all the vindication those choices need.
But what about when those choices impact others, or the environment? I’m talking here about how we travel to races, how race organisers deal with waste, and so on. Then it’s a bit harder. Racing Green wants to see athletes and events make choices that are good for the environment, and you can read loads more about it on the Racing Green website.