Comment from: Paul S [Visitor]
Paul S

Well put. Everyone is already "biomechanically blessed" with the tools to run - we weren't born wearing a pair of Brooks shoes now were we? After years of competitive running hampered by injury, barefoot running let my muscles re-adjust, and now I can finally run comfortably in shoes or without (though I pretty much only wear my KSO's now). I commend Brooks CEO for tackling this issue - though it is a losing battle against a massive number of barefoot/minimalist converts!

01/25/10 @ 15:25
Comment from: Kevin [Visitor]

Of course you're biased, but so is he, but the science has fallen in your favor of late.

Brooks is out to keep customers from fleeing via the barefoot movement, so their trying to appeal to the skeptics. Yet, skeptics should value the scientific method, and Brooks's CEO offers nothing in that realm (or at least he doesn't back up any of his claims with science). He's basically a priest of footwear.

01/25/10 @ 15:34
Comment from: [Member]


"I commend Brooks CEO for tackling this issue."

To be honest, I'm not convinced he actually really tackled anything. He made a few generalizations and then touted how different runners are unique. I didn't say this, but I'm assuming he's equating barefoot running to being too simple — too one-size-fits-all — and that running shoes address the unique needs of different runners.

But this treats the foot like it's stupid and broken when it's quite the opposite. I think he's too close to the subject to see how he is grossly simplifying things in order to support his default position.


I agree. And I think even as Brooks is addressing the issue, they're still blind to the reality of it.

By the way, love the "priest of footwear" moniker!

01/25/10 @ 15:40
Comment from: Zataod [Visitor]

Justin -- Once again, the "biomechanically blessed" line. I can't count the number of times I've read that. I'm one of countless runners who wasn't "biomechanically blessed" enough to run in shoes. Fortunately, my feet were able to recover, and I’m perfectly fine running without those overly cushions, over-engineered wonders.

Thanks for linking to this and throwing your wisdom and experience into the debate.

01/25/10 @ 16:29
Comment from: [Member]


I don't know how much wisdom and experience I have, but I do love a good internet debate! It's a fatal flaw, unfortunately!

01/25/10 @ 16:32
Comment from: David Henry [Visitor]
David Henry


Great response! I read the Brooks letter earlier this morning along with their longer "paper" on barefoot running (and why hardly anyone should be able to get away with it). I found it quite interesting that in the paper they said that people can be natural heel-strikers even when they are barefoot and that these people should only run in sand if they feel must run barefoot. The view that our gait, form and foot strike are something that is given at birth and cannot be altered is quite interesting and only reveals that they have either not spent much time trying to alter their form (which we all have to do when we run barefoot) or it is in their best interest to stick with the assumption that everyone is "stuck" with a certain running form and therefore need a shoe to help with the deficiencies of that particular form. I'm sure it is probably a little of both.

Great site and posts as always.


01/25/10 @ 18:21
Comment from: jason [Visitor]

Awesome response, Justin! I think you hit it on the head with the rationalization that those that ARE 'biomechanically blessed' are those that can easily adapt to using shoes and still go injury free, whereas your average person (like me) will end up suffering a bit (or a lot) when using the highly exalted and worshipped overly-engineered running shoe.

Also love the Priest of Footwear!

01/25/10 @ 20:16
Comment from: Gary [Visitor]

Using his logic, let's call a spade a spade.

He's doing his job as the CEO of a shoe company.

He's obviously going to spin it in a way so that he can sell more shoes.

The reality is that the foot is the most natural shoe, as you said it.

In "running shoes" I could go forward a few dozen feet and my lower back would start to ache. Strangely I could run backwards semi-ok.

I put on a pair of KSOs about 6 months ago, and I now run 4-5 miles 5-6x days a week. No backpain. No knee pain (having had two arthroscopic surgeries on one knee).

I attribute this entirely to the fact that I started running without a huge piece of rubber on my heel.

But yeah... at the end of the day his job is to sell shoes, and I don't buy any of his `speech.`

01/26/10 @ 03:08
Comment from: Jeepman [Visitor]

LOL! The post has been deleted from the Brooks blog page. I guess they couldn't handle the truth. The shoe industry is trying to hold onto the lies that made them rich. It's just like my mother told me - Lies have a way of catching up with you.

01/26/10 @ 06:55
Comment from: [Member]

I went and looked at the blog -- for whatever reason, it seems they changed the permalink of the post, so I just need to update that link here. The post is still there though!

01/26/10 @ 08:51
Comment from: Zataod [Visitor]

Road Runner Sports just sent out a scare letter to their readers, warning them of the dangers of barefoot running. The did mention that they had minimalist shoes as an alternative, but then listed Nike Frees as a minimalist shoe.

I imagine they will figure this out before they lose all their business.

01/26/10 @ 10:46
Comment from: josh [Visitor]

This is the best part:

"At one end of the spectrum, we know there are runners who lack foot strength leading to severe pronation. They may strike heavily and need a great deal of support to run injury- and pain-free."

Maybe they lack foot strength because of their shoes.

Sounds to me like a "no, really, shoes are great, keep buying them!" kind of letter. Not that I would expect him to say "you know what, you are right, we are totally wrong!", either.

01/28/10 @ 17:58
Comment from: Freddie Smith [Visitor]
Freddie Smith

All I know is I am flat footed as they come. I tried for years with medial shin splints and tibial stress fractures to run in modern protecting running shoes with and without 4 pairs of custom orthotics with no success at all. Even to date if I put on my old asics kayano that are about 8 years old I immediately get pain while running. I run barefoot or with vibram ff and get no pain what so ever. People have to learn for themselves what works. It took me years to smarten up. So many people just don't get it. Its the only way I will run for the rest of my life. Barefoot or minimal is the only way for me.

08/01/11 @ 23:55

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