This is a collaborative blog post. I can't claim credit for all the ideas put forth below. My running buddies plus one running buddy's husband are responsible for most of what you about to read. I am just compiling the information. And I made the prototype. And I modeled for the pictures. I was put up to all of this. Really.
A few of my barefoot running friends and I were ruminating over the trials of barefoot running. We were lamenting the choices of footwear available to the barefoot runner. "Barefoot running" is a misnomer for many people actually doing it. They're really not barefoot. They are wearing something
: socks, sandals, Vibram FiveFingers
, Nike Free
or something. And if they are wearing something more than socks, they paid a decent amount of money for whatever it is they are wearing. So our general lament was that we hadn't yet found a foot covering that provide the free feel of actual barefoot running that is reasonably priced (who wants to pay alot for something you can do for free?) while also providing enough protection for any distance or terrain.
Let me clarify something here. We, my running buddies, are a group of Forty-something White American Women. I like to call us FWAWs (say it with me...fwaw
). Some of us are seasoned marathoners (not me). Some of us are relatively new to running in the grand scheme (me). All of us love to run and push ourselves hard. That said, we are not the Kenyans. (For those who don't follow running, the Kenyans is a complimentary, awe-inspiring reference to the group of runners from that country who dominate the professional running world. And the original barefoot runners, I would guess.)
By "we are not the Kenyans" I mean, we FWAW run on suburban surfaces: asphalt, sidewalks, treadmills. And we grew up running in Nike shod feet. Not barefoot on organic surfaces. So our legs and feet aren't seasoned for true barefoot running at great distances. Sure, I did my 5-miler
and have done several other barefoot miles since, but I, in my true-to-FWAW ways, want the feel of barefoot running with all the conveniences of shoe-foot running, thank you very much.
I personally have tried on the FiveFingers. I have seen people wearing the FiveFingers. If you followed the link, you know what they look like. Weird, huh? Strictly my personal opinion, but they are even weirder when looking down from your own head at your own feet. The first thing that came to mind as I looked down at the aqua-colored camo print FiveFingers on my feet was how could my husband get the image of me in these shoes out of his mind? There was something much too amphibian about me in those shoes that didn't sit well with me. Now I know many men today, thanks to the Avatar movie, are engaging in private fantasies about sexy, blue-skinned, alien hotties but the FiveFingers would take private fantasies a whole other nightmarish direction. I felt sexually repulsive in those shoes and while I would do many things to improve my running experience, sabotaging my marriage is not one of them. So no FiveFingers for me. The other FWAWs agreed.
All of the above was being bantered about by us FWAWs the other day when one FWAW's hubbie said, "Why don't you use duct tape?" Yeah, that's right. He suggested duct taping the bottoms of our feet. Duct tape is strong. Duct tape is flexible. Duct tape is the miracle solution to most everything. It's brilliant!
But of course, you see the problem. You can't repeatedly duct tape your skin. I mean, really, we FWAWs aren't stupid. So the next best thing is to duct tape your socks. Right? So was born the Duct Feet
This is the first prototype. I have a feeling there will be need to be others.
But this may be the solution to the FWAW barefoot running dilemma...inexpensive, retains the barefoot feel and quite stylish. They come in all sizes, different colors and you can choose your side-embellishment. For this model, we went with the lightning bolt in honor of Usain Bolt (Jamacian, not Kenyan, but arguably the fastest man alive right now). This model is called the U-Insane Bolt.
And amazingly, look how fast the U-Insane Bolt made me. You can actually see the wind...effect I added in Photoshop.
We came up with a few marketing slogans. How do these grab you?
"Who Needs Fingers When You Have the Duct?"
"Run Like MacGyver"
"Ducts Don't Have Fingers"
"Protect Your Feet - Duct and Cover"
CYA Note: these are not attacks on Vibram, Vibram FiveFingers, its other products or those who wear their products. Don't get mad or legal on me. This is just really funny stuff and you know it.
So there you have it - the latest, must-have offering in barefoot running accoutrements. To place an order, simply leave a comment on this blog post. If you are local, we do custom fittings. Just BYOS (bring your own socks.)