Regular medical exams and testing cans save your life, whether you're 20 or 65.
Legit Barefoot Running Shoes That Are Made from Medieval Armor
Vibram FiveFingers are made out of polyester mesh and rubber. Huaraches, sandals worn by the Tarahumara in Born to Run, are made from recycled car tires. And now we can add PaleoBarefoots to the list, which are made from chainmail — the same material found in samurai and medieval armor. Can a little bit of history (and metal) really improve the way we run?
What It Is
What makes PaleoBarefoots different from other minimal shoes is what they’re made out of: a durable steel chainmail. This surprisingly smooth and light material protects the foot while letting runners better feel the surfaces they’re running on. The company touts that the shoes provide an “unfiltered environmental experience” for feet, whether that means a little dirt and grass, wet dew, or warm sand. And since there’s some science that says minimalist running could reduce injuries and fix form, these may be worth a run .
Wearing them is easy too: Users can simply pull the shoe over the heel and lace them up to so it feels snug. Certain models also come with ankle savers, a thin neoprene slip that goes on before the shoe and provides extra support to the ankle and bottom of the foot.
Is It Legit?
Yeah, probably. But are these medieval-resembling chain-like shoes actually comfortable? If PaleoBarefoots are as snug and smooth as they say, then they may be worth a wear for those who are used to running in minimal footwear. If anything, you’ll get some bonus points for wearing what are probably the oddest-looking shoes we’ve ever seen. (Note: Greatist hasn’t been able to try on a pair just yet.)
But medieval garb aside, PaleoBarefoots are another example of the immensely hot barefoot running trend. Despite a lack of conclusive scientific support for barefoot running, the movement isn’t letting up., Not much has stopped runners from tossing stability shoes aside and lacing up in nearly nothing, even though it’s unclear whether minimalist running is the best way to prevent injury and boost performance   .
Barefoot running enthusiasts claim modern athletic shoes compromise form — forcing runners to land on their heel which can be a fast track to physical therapy. Running barefoot or in a minimalist shoe could force a more natural fore or mid-foot strike, potentially reducing the risk for chronic running injuries. Stride benefits aside, barefoot running comes with potentially painful side-effects, such as exposing feet to dangerous debris. Barefoot running could also force runners to change their running stride too quickly. There’s still another camp that says foot strike doesn’t matter, and that finding a shoe that’s most comfortable for each individual is what matters most.
PaleoBarefoots try to mitigate at least one of those concerns by letting wearers feel the ground under the feet while still protecting against the (sharp) elements. As a sturdy option that also makes people feel like they’re really running in nature compared to the standard barefoot “shoes,” we might soon all be knights in running armor.
Do you run in minimalist shoes? Would you give this design a shot? Let us know in the comments below or tweet the author @lschwech
- Barefoot running: biomechanics and implications for running injuries. Altman, A.R., Davis, I.S. Biomechanics and Movement Science Program, University of Delaware, Newark, DE. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 2012 Sep-Oct;11(5):244-50. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31826c9bb9.⤴
- The rise of barefoot running. Collier, R. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2011 Jan 11;183(1):E37-8. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.109-3745.⤴
- Barefoot running claims and controversies: a review of the literature. Jenkins, D.W., Cauthon, D.J. Arizona School of Podiatric Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Midwestern University, Glendale, AZ. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, 2011 May-Jun;101(3):231-46.⤴
- Metabolic cost of running barefoot versus shod: is lighter better? Franz, J.R., Wierzbinski, C.M., Kram, R. Locomotion Lab, Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2012 Aug;44(8):1519-25. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182514a88.⤴
Comments Leave a comment
I run the barefoot running blog Barefoot Beginner. I made your post my post of the week last week, it caused quite a stir amongst the barefooters. we have all contacted them to ask for a pair to try out. Snow chains for the feet.
I pointed people towards it at http://www.barefootbeginner.com/2013/01/16/chain-mail-running-shoes-and-...
"Despite a lack of conclusive scientific support for barefoot running, the movement isn’t letting up"
You forgot to mention the lack of conclusive scientific support for conventional running too.
I wear Vibram Five Finger shoes and LOVE them! I have less foot problems since using them!
Hi all, my Name is Jörg and I am the CEO of GoSt-Barefoots.
First of all thank you Laura for the comprehensive post and your thoughtful words.
I may add the versions yet that the PaleoBarefoots is not a shoes but just a “protective second skin” and meant for pure outdoor use on natural floors. No matter how dry or wet they might be! On such surfaces this sheath protects, let you feel all environmental condition, train your feet in the real sense of “natural running” and can not be worn down in decades!
But, do not expect too much from your feet! What you can do with the Paleos depends exclusively on your own barefoot experience! If your feet and soles are inexperienced being frequently exposed to the elements, just walk! If they get used to it and get stronger, hike. If they are strong enough, run!
First attempts at walking purely barefoot in a forest might not be easy, and your, so far perhaps insulated, highly sensitive foot nerves may overreact! Remember that sharp gravel and pointy stones may cause pain with the Paleos also, just as if you were completely barefoot (though you won't suffer the cuts and scrapes that otherwise might result).
On the other hand, tideland, meadows, marshes, puddles, soil, sand and waters in general will feel incredibly beautiful and pleasant and can be enjoyed absolutely safely and relaxed. As Paleo running is barefoot running, even transition from minimalist footwear can take as long as a former transition from cushioned shoes to minimalist shoes. As mentioned before - soles and skin need to adapt to the new conditions.
Another misconception to prevent maybe! Even with very well trained and barefoot experienced feet the Paloes are definitely no running shoes for pavement, gravel, concrete or asphalt ether. There is enough suitable footwear which provides the here needed cushioning for such surfaces.
The PaleoBarefoots belong to nature and are meant to get conscious again what surrounds you – not at all to beat the clock! Customers who have originally bought them for running even enjoy hiking and strolling much more now. Some of them even did not know the nearby forest before where they live.
I hope it was not too much text to read and my English was good enough to express well what I wanted to tell you. I felt this information is very important for people reading you post and I kindly ask you to share this information.
Thanks, Jörg (Peitzker)
"Stainless steel mesh on the skin? That's not a good idea!" If that was your first thought, then read this independent review of a long-term test by BarefootRunningUK. Findings from more than 200 miles on various nature trails and after 5 months of testing time! Written by Ian Hicks, since years specialized in barefoot running! - See more at: http://portal.gost-barefoots.com/en/index.php?section=blog&cmd=details&i...