The Performance Life
Mark Verstegen Discusses Barefoot Training in National Post Interview
Core Performance founder and adiPure Trainer collaborator Mark Verstegen recently sat down with the National Post to share his thoughts on adidas' new barefoot training shoe. Read the excerpt below, or click here for the full interview from NationalPost.com.
Q: What makes the adiPure Trainer different from something like Nike Free or the Vibram FiveFinger shoe?
A: The Vibrams are terrific—great for outdoors—but offer no type of cushioning whatsoever. Nike Free doesn’t have independent digits. I’d rather not compare us to either of them.
Q: But should we really be barefoot running?
A: If people don’t put anything on their feet and start to train, it would decrease injury and improve performance. Between your foot and lower leg, there are at least 20 muscles and tendons. It represents 20% of the muscles in the human body, and thanks to modern sneakers, when we work out, those muscles are almost turned off.
Q: So who do you think the adiPure Trainer is good for?
A: Just about all of us. Just to be barefoot is a good thing, you don’t have to buy anything, but the reality is that most of the surfaces we run on aren’t clean. We need to protect the foot and provide something that protects against bone bruising and sharp objects. With the adiPure Trainer, you hardly notice the cushioning. It’s like a sports car, light and thin and fits like a glove.
Q: You mention the Nike Free doesn’t allow for moving the individual toes like your shoe. Why is that such a big thing?
A: Imagine if someone on the Blue Jays had a glove and could only move two fingers—he wouldn’t stand a chance. How the foot interacts with the ground is as important as how your hand interacts with your keyboard.
Q: Would you recommend the shoes for a beginner runner?
A: If they go through the process. You have to start using the shoes just in movement preparation, low-level skipping and strength work before you even think about running. It’s like if you were to try a marathon tomorrow—you might be able to do it, but you’d be in a lot of pain. I’d start on a soft treadmill that absorbs forces, and from that go through levels of surfaces: from sand to grass to ultimately soft turf, then a cushioned track, asphalt and then the hard concrete.
Q: Do barefoot sneakers make us run like prehistoric man?
A: We aren't prehistoric man anymore.