Being Bruce -: Going Bare(foot) with Chris and Rebecca

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Going Bare(foot) with Chris and Rebecca

Do you exercise with shoes on?

I always did, but thanks to a suggestion from Chris Roberts, a Wilmington area guy I met a few months ago at a networking event, I decided to try barefoot exercise and after two months I am loving it.

Chris and I were talking about P90X and he mentioned he'd done the Plyometrics workout that day. I said something about needing really good foot support for that (I usually wore some old school, highly air shocked Nikes). Chris said, no, that he always did Plyometrics as well as most other exercise barefoot.

So we talked about it a bit and I realized that dancers and gymnasts workout and perform barefoot so obviously it wasn't a totally crazy idea. So the next day I started doing my P90X  sessions barefoot.

I also recently also started taking exercise classes in our neighborhood in addition to my early morning P90X workouts. I regularly take Zumba classes and sometimes (depending on how I'm feeling from P90X) I'll take a Pilates class. The Zumba instructor and folks all wear special Zumba shoes, though some wear regular cross trainers. I thought about it and after a few classes started doing Zumba barefoot.

And I love it! I do get some funny looks and more questions about why I'm not wearing shoes and doesn't it hurt my arches and aren't I afraid of slipping. I do pay attention to the very smooth gym floor  and to that end I'm also working to toughen up the soles of my feet a bit by walking on safe rough surfaces outside a bit most  days, but I love how my feet and toes seem to be more actively involved during exercise. (Don't have as many socks to wash either, lol).

Yesterday after I got home from a Zumba class I posted about doing it barefoot on Facebook and how  another  barefoot participant was in the room. Turns out she's always been a dance exerciser and never wears shoes either. I got a fast response from another Wilmington area friend, personal trainer and kickbox instructor Rebecca Verlangieri, who commented, "I love working out barefoot. Its become a common misconception that we cannot." And then she sent me a couple of links to articles and sites that address the health and rightness of working out barefoot:

So thanks to Chris for waking me up to barefoot exercise and to Rebecca for added support and the web links.

I've also noticed a bunch of my friends around the country talk or write about some nearly-barefoot athletic footwear called Vibram 5 Fingers and more recently in magazine ads and on websites I've seen loads of ads for the New Balance NB Minimus line.

(Btw, I don't work for or get anything for mentioning Vibram or NB products, I just think they're interesting.)

Here's a little more about each line:

Vibram Five Fingers -

The most noticeable feature of the Vibram Five Finger line is the individual toe pieces. Here's what Vibram says, "Our revolutionary design makes feet healthier by allowing them to move more naturally and freely.
The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised." Website:

NB Minimus -

I read somewhere that the NB Minimus line is based on the Vibram Five Finger design, but I don't know that nor does New Balance mention it. Here's what they do say, "Inspired by barefoot running and designed to be used with Good Form Running principles, NB Minimus introduces an entirely new running experience. A challenge for experienced runners. A great starting point for beginners looking to develop good form. NB Minimus offers the comfort of a running shoe in a minimal, low-to-the-ground package."

Both companies offer men's and women's shoes in a variety of styles for different athletic or lifestyle purposes. Loads of color combinations, too.

Back in the day when I was reviewer-boy I'd get busy contacting the vendors to get some product to test and write about. Now, however, I'm hoping I can get a pair for my birthday or Christmas (hint) or may even eventually buy some myself. I'd love to try both styles, actually, but that's reviewer-boy talking. I think either would be cool to compare to barefoot exercise (and since winter's coming, even in temperate southeastern North Carolina, I don't think I'll be going barefoot outside too much). Oh, and if anyone is so inclined, I like the red and black combinations (can you tell? lol).