Sockless: Response to Mad Miles

Leave the first response January 27, 2009 / Posted in Injury Prevention, Mindful Running

Responding to Mad Miles…kinda like that…I’ve been sockless for about 20 years. Art Justice a long time running friend has been sockless for about 5 years after losing in a triathlon in his age division by 30 seconds…the time it took to put on his socks before putting on his shoes.

I use Spenco neophrene insoles without any of the various supports that they glue on. Just the old flat 1/8″ think cut out. I change those like you’d change socks.

My thinking way back then was that if my foot and the inside of the shoe are moving at the same rate and I am not overstriding/decelerating then the foot/shoe interface will not be creating any friction…therefore no blisters…well in the 50+ marathons run that way…at least minimal.

My folklore holds that tip of the toe blisters and black toenails are more from clawing with the toes…something a majority of people do when they run because it’s the neuromuscular habit they practice all the time when standing. Stand…lean forward…and you’ll see what I mean by clawing with the toes so you won’t fall…now you get an idea why people have hammer toes. So in running you imagine you don’t have any toes and you’ll find that you now bend at the ball of the foot/toe joint. Now stand and lean forward without clawing and you begin to realize that running is falling and catching yourself gracefully with each and every step you take.

Back to sockless. When breaking in shoes be sure that you wear the shoes around the house for about 1 week. Run a mile or two around your neighborhood in the shoes. Often blobs of hardened glue had literally wear a hole into your foot within a mile or 2. A piece of lazer cut nylon which is part of the tongue of the shoe can cut like a razor place. An inside seam that is double stitched can bore into the side or top of the foot at mile 4 and you don’t even feel it until you see the red spot growing on your new running shoes.

Use Bag Balm lightly rubbed onto the foot for the 3 to 5 mile runs the first few times to guard against any of the inperfections of the inside of the shoe. It may take some delicate surgery of the seams or glue or…to remove the problem. Sockless you find out so much more quickly where the trouble spots are. Socks mask the problem until you’re out on a long run and the cushion of the sock is diminished by sweat or the spot wears through the sock and attacks your flesh.

Running sockless is one of the better way to become aware of your form and style. If your find yourself getting hot spots on the bottom of the foot, you can examine who you land to see where the friction is being created. Sometimes it helps to put a very light coat of bag balm on the bottoms of your feet before slipping them sockless into your shoes. Bag Balm…aways a friction fighter.

Sorry Thorlo…sorry sock companies…Actually all the stuff I said above can be disregarded if your folklore is different or if you like to invest in socks and sock companies. Remember this is only for running. I do wear socks when I play tennis or basketball….unless you’ve got something to teach me.

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