I packed my bag and in I put..... (4)

I think I might have suggested, in my last "pack my bag" blog  that Chris Townsend's reference to bare foot walking was a bit mad - shows how much I know.  It turns out that just because I didn't know about bare foot walking doesn't mean it didn't exist and that in fact bare foot running at least is very  popular.  Essentially, so the argument goes, if you don't wear shoes (with heals) you adopt a better gait which involves using your whole foot as suspension.  This in turn strengthens your foot and is actually the "natural" thing.  Makes sense to me.

Anyway bear foot running shoes are not the contradiction in terms they sound and are designed to stop you stabbing yourself on nasty surfaces while retaining the natural suspension of your foot.  Some really weird looking shoes have been developed as a consequence and Vibram (lots of walking boots use their soles) are one of the  suppliers.  Their five finger is a classic example of a weird looking shoe and has become so popular that fake Vibram five finger shoes are a real problem.

Of course running shoes don't bear directly on the issue of walking boots and the sort of footwear I need for the E4.  It is however becoming increasingly apparent that more walkers are looking for running rather than hiking based solutions, abandoning even modern "Scarpa" walking boots along the way.  A good example is Alastair Humphreys who walked in running shoes on his 965 km trek up the Kaveri River in India.

Roclite 390 GTX
Running shoes also take me back over 25 years when a party of us were led up Ben Nevis the hard way by a local guide, a fell runner, who wore his trainers.  Taking us down again, and nearly at the bottom, he met his father going out for a run, left us to join him and ran with him back to the top of Ben Nevis.  Ruined our day!

Thanks to Lone Walkers comments on my last blog I have now discovered Inov8.  Inov8, as the name suggests, is at the leading edge of footwear design, adopt some bare foot principles, and have developed a walking boot from a fell-running back ground.  Hard to get their boots at the standard hiking shops but they have agreed to send me a pair of their Roclite 390 GTX to try them out prior to potentially using them on the E4 walk.  Can't wait to try them out.

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