Fleet Feet owners Kathy Hawk and Jay Johnson organized an intriguing event conjointly with their usual Monday night Fun Run that featured try-on sessions of the new revolutionary shoe, the Nike Free. The Nike Free mimics barefoot running, which has been shown to have drastic improvements in performance and resistance to injury.
The event began at 6pm which drew an energetic crowd of fifty. Mindy, the Nike Representative, gave a brief explanation before sending out the runners, “The free is designed as a tool to incorporate into your running to strengthen the muscles in your feet.” Mindy added, “Although everyone is different, the idea is that this shoe will help prevent injuries over time.”
The Free is so special because, unlike other running shoes (and especially casual shoes that we wear all day long), the Free’s deep grooves allow for a natural uninhibited motion of the foot, thereby incorporating all muscles in foot to propel the body forward. A foot that does not rely on supportive structures of a beefy running shoe is going to do more work, and therefore, become stronger.
However, Mindy stressed, “This is something that you have to gradually get used to – I don’t recommend that any of you just go out and run five miles in these shoes tonight. You will be sore tomorrow!” While no runners challenged her advice, every person in attendance tried on a pair – many were amazed, to say the least.
Sporting a fresh pair herself, Kathy Hawk commented,
“I like the concept and the shoe quite a bit. I want to stress to customers the idea of this shoe as a tool for strengthening, that they have to start off easy with it.”
Kathy hopes runners do not get carried away and overdo it with the shoe, humorously warning that it is “instantly comfortable.”
Co-owner Jay Johnson agreed, “The Free is not for everyone, although Bikila won the 1960 Rome Olympic marathon running barefoot over cobblestone, so people’s feet can adapt and change; it just takes time.”
Additionally, Brad Hudson, coach of Dathan Ritzenhein, Shayne Culpepper, and others, recommends training in the Free to his athletes. “Many of my runners are constantly walking around in the shoe to develop foot strength, and they use them for drills, too”, says Hudson. “I think it is a great way to develop foot strength which is always useful. It’s a great idea.”
Fleet Feet raffled off two free pairs of Frees at the end of the run, along with a few Nike Free T-Shirts.