More sole searching

Barefoot Preston had a very interesting take on the hotfoot thing. He says the feet will toughen up, if you go barefoot enough. And that it’s important to extend barefooting beyond just running.

Barefoot Preston w/Born to Run author Chris McDougall

Preston’s been at this for a long time having started many years ago with Barefoot Ken Bob in southern Cal.  Like BKB, he’s a lifestyle barefoot guy. So in addition to being into the running, he essentially avoids shoes when he can. You might take his view with a slight grain of salt for that reason, but he’s got some good logic to back it up.

I (and others) are surprised at the lack of calluses on the bottoms of my feet as I’ve been doing at least 10 barefoot miles a week for a number of months. Actually, my soles are almost soft. Preston’s argument is that the action of running is like pumice on the soles. Getting sanded down like that on a daily basis keeps calluses from ever getting thick. On the other hand just walking around is less abrasive to the soles and so allows the calluses to build. Thicker means more heat protection.

Well, it’s near summer and I tend not to wear shoes much every weekend in Cotuit. So we’ll see. There will certainly be hot days to put Preston’s theory to the test.

He also had thoughts on how to directly deal with hot streets. One thing you can do is seek the white lines which tend to reflect the sun. I’ve tried that and it works. Also, he (and Barefoot Ken Bob, by the way) share theory that at higher cadence, you feet don’t spend as much time on the ground and absorb less heat. I’ll run that one by Dan Lieberman next time we speak; he’s got the movies to prove it.

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