For years, from my first bout with plantar fasciitis through illiotibial band syndrome, shin splints, achilles tendonitis, and a host of other injuries, I’ve always run with some sort of insert in my shoes, whether it’s a $15 pair of Dr. Scholl’s Heel Pain Relief Orthotics or any of the multitude of custom orthotics podiatrists have made to try to accomodate my bizarre biomechanics.
My latest injury, commonly known as “Runner’s Butt”, has persisted for most of a year. I’ve got in under control enough to be able to run, but only if I’m careful.
Out of frustration, I’ve succumbed to the siren song of books like “Chi Running” and “Born to Run”, removed my orthotics, and begun trying to rework my running form to try and keep my weight in front of or directly above my heel as each footstrike lands. I’ve been running regularly in a pair of Newtons, and I’m trying to learn to walk in comfort in a pair of Vibram Five Fingers in the hope that someday my form will be effiicient enough to run in them. All this is putting more stress on my inflexible calf muscles. I stretch them to try and get more flexibility, but that hasn’t been enough.
Earth makes a line of shoes with soles that are thicker in the forefoot than in the heel. I tried a pair, and they seemed like the ideal thing to help gently stretch my calves on a more consistent basis.
But Earth shoes are fairly expensive. Luckily as a runner, I have lots of worn down shoes kicking around the house. I took an old pair of my Mizuno Wave Riders:
and cut down the heel with a utility knife to turn them into a free pair of Earth shoes:
Already, wearing them around is paying off with decreased soreness in my calves after a run. The Wave plate in the Mizunos makes them particularly good for this sort of thing:
but there’s no reason why it you can’t try it with any other pair of shoes, unless the shoes have air pockets or other heel cushioning that won’t tolerate being cut in half.
This appeals to me on *so* many levels 🙂 Did you see the study on barefoot runners that they naturally adjust their stride so they experience a huge decrease in the striking force when their feet impact the ground, compared to runners wearing shoes? But they also said that shoe runners who are adjusting to barefoot running won’t do this naturally and need to be careful.