I know what you might be thinking, and rest assured this isn’t going to be another science lecture or one of those hippie types telling you to come run with the fairies with nothing but the wind in your hair and the sun on your bum cheeks. No, this is in fact a review of the terrifying VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoe.
Before I get down and dirty with the shoe review let’s look at this word, ‘Proprioception’. Proprioception is basically a fancy word to say that your body is good at running itself while you perform multiple tasks. So for example a guy, contrary to popular belief, can multi-task by turning the meat on the braai, drink a beer, watch the rugby and chat to a mate at the same time without consciously having to focus on each individual task all because of a few internal nerves that provide sensory feedback to the brain. This gives your body the awareness it needs of the space around you to perform the given tasks. So with running our foot which has 200,000 nerve endings, 33 major muscles, 28 bones, 19 ligaments becomes a biomechanical masterpiece providing a massive amount of feedback and data to the brain, data that is used to control the bodies balance, forward motion, and lateral motion (the movement from side to side). The team at VIVOBAREFOOT have set out to create shoes that help the body make the absolute most of all that data and turn it into speed, running efficiency and most importantly… fun!
The term ‘Barefoot Running’ has been thrown around a lot lately in running circles and if you are like me every time you hear it coming up in conversation you suddenly have to leave cause you think you might have forgot the oven one at home or the kids suddenly need to be picked up from the in-laws. I tried to avoid it at all costs, most out of ignorance, but then one golden Autumn day in Cape Town, a pair of arrived on my doorstep, to say that I was terrified to run in them would be a massive understatement, to put it in perspective I watched just about every youtube video I could find on barefoot running, went through their site with a fine tooth comb reading every paragraph, and ran all my runs for 2 weeks prior to receiving them on a treadmill to try nail down my ‘Barefoot Running’ technique. I have my fair share of ‘minimalist’ running experience but ‘minimalist’ and ‘barefoot running’ are two very different concepts. For more information on the differences click here.
So let’s look at the shoe then…