Today’s run was very significant.
The past 3 days have seen 2 runs over Dartmoor in Devon, one of 2hrs and the other of 40 mins in Terrocs. Camping in Devon for 3 days, the feet were either in sandals, Terrocs or nothing.
Today, after a 6hr drive home, the aqua shoes got their first real test. Still with the thin insoles in, I set off from home on the usual barefoot testing road. After about a mile with the feet feeling fine I decided to extend the run around a frequently run route. It’s just short of 5 miles, and with about a quarter of a mile to go I removed the shoes altogether. Although starting tentatively, from halfway onwards I was moving quite well and finished the run just about 2 mins slower than my quickest time.
As typical, sometime after I finished my run, my feet were a little more sore than I was expecting. I think this was due to the final 400m or so running at speed barefoot. No real damage though.
In fact, the aqua shoes were far better than I was expecting. Although there is almost zero cushioning and no support they were very comfortable.
I remember early on in the run noticing various twinges in the feet as they began to adjust to running without the cosseting they’ve been used to over the years. Most prominent of these was surprisingly across the top of the foot near the ankle, due it seems to the heel being allowed to drop further than normal on each foot strike increasing dorsiflexion. Other feelings were of the minor toes working to help stabilise the foot on impact.
I was expecting the calf muscles to object more strongly than they did. Yes, as the run wore on, they were beginning to take some strain, but not to any great degree. And, pleasingly, this morning (the day after the run), they are not too tight. This is great news because just about 6 weeks ago my calf injury would not let me run a single mile. Nevertheless, I did take a plunge into a cold bath for 15 minutes straight after the run to calm things down a little.
So, overall, very pleased with the aqua shoes, they enable the feet to get used to the barefoot running position and build new strength whilst preserving the skin on the soles of the feet before hardening is achieved. I reckon I could quite comfortably run a 10k race in them, and importantly, not pay any time penalty — not bad for £5!