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Build-A-Story: The war on shoes

By Michael S. Rosenwald

The other day, at lunch, my companion told me something shocking: Joggers are jogging without shoes.

This was surprising for two reasons. One: My wife had just seen a woman running shoeless in Germantown the day before, and suddenly that event didn't seem so random anymore. Two: People are jogging without shoes! A quick Internet search proves that people really are jogging without shoes, trying to get in better touch with the ground, provide better stability, and even (really!) take advantage of health benefits. (Many don't actually go totally barefoot -- there are glove-like covers that keep out rocks and glass. But others do.)

So, okay, what is up with these shoeless runners? And while we're at it, what is up with shoeless houses?

You know those houses. You stop by to visit some friends and all of a sudden, shoes are forbidden. It's awkward. But it's happening. I came across this comment on the web in a discussion about house slippers: "We're a shoeless household. Taking off our shoes upon entering the house keeps the house clean, which results in less electricity vacuuming. In the winter it does get cold, so these slippers would come in hand."

This writer surprised her friends when she went shoeless at home: "First was the friend who, when asked to remove her footwear, complained that her feet would be cold. I offered her a pair of my snuggliest socks, and shortly thereafter filled a basket by the door with cozy, colorful slipper socks with no-slip bottoms....Our second tough customer was my mother-in-law, who squawked, 'My shoes are totally clean! Why are you so paranoid?'”

What's up with this war on shoes? Drop me a note if you are doing battle with shoes.

By Michael S. Rosenwald  | October 28, 2010; 2:56 PM ET
Categories:  Build-A-Story  
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The guy who literally wrote the book on barefoot running is Christopher McDougall ( The book, "Born to Run," tells the tale of the Tarahumara indian tribe in the Sierra Madres, and the white man nicknamed "Caballo Blanco" who managed to tuck himself into their very shy, unassuming society.

Posted by: Chalengr | October 28, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

I run barefoot. I started in May of this year from no running at all, inspired by Born to Run. Yesterday, Halloween, I ran my first race, a 10 mile trail race. Because I'd never seen the course I ran in Vibram FiveFinger Bikilas, which is not quite barefoot. The run was a joy. I don't think I'd ever run in conventional shoes again.

Posted by: Josephtree | November 1, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

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