Ask Miss Supple Question
My opinion on barefoot beach running.
"I run about 2 miles most mornings on a flat beach. Will it splay my toes apart over time or the opposite, as has been suggested in the book "born to run" which promotes barefoot running. Is it better for one's joints given it's softer than tarmac running with running shoes? "
The foot is a marvel of human architecture and crucially needs the innate strength to be able to achieve propulsion whilst not compromising on shock absorption - that is what the three arches are for (Medial, Lateral and Transverse.)
Keeping foot strength is becoming my life's work and hence my insistence on freeing the foot to do what it needs to do, temporary insoles only for temporarily injured feet, not blocking function with "arch supports". Supple Arches and Yoga Sandals are part of this along with all important shoe choice.
If you are injury free whilst running then happy days. Beach running most mornings sounds fabulous.
If you run through red flags of ealry injury pain then that is where the chronicity of inflammation starts.
So No , you dont need to worry that your toes will splay - but you will be able to because you can develop the interossei and lumbricals, the small muscles of the intermetatarsals that enable functionality. And that is a good thing.
The physics of the surface you run on are surprisingly not as material as you might expect. The foot , lower limb, knee, pelvis etc do all the shock absorption as required. The benefits come from slight uneveness which is what natural can contribute and the foot responds too. Just watch out for broken glass etc.
The truth is that strong feet keep you out of trouble. Weak flaccid feet in flat unsupportive shoes are a disaster waiting to happen. You have to have strong feet to wear high heels!
28th October 2017