Yes, shoes. I am wearing shoes.
It all started when I went out for my first decent trail run in Queensland after moving back here just before Christmas.
My long suffering brother is getting me back into it after a long break. It was Australia Day and we celebrated by going for a run 'in the bush'. Vibrams at the ready, as usual.
I was tired and tripped a few times during our relatively short trot. Looking back, I was so tired I shouldn't have run. But after a few stumbles, I managed to hook my little toe on a tree root while falling sideways into the mud. The pain was immediate and intense. I got up and tried to keep moving without much success. Limping the 2k back to the car was all that happened. I slipped once in a puddle of mud and felt the pain shoot me again!
At the car, I eventually took my VFF off, scared at what I'd find. My little toe was sticking out at an awkward angle, obvioulsy not good.... I cried, not from pain, but worried I'd need to find a doctor who'd hurt it more (Funny now). I decided on my usual course of action. Ignore it and hope it will get better on its own.
Scott helpfully told me it was probably dislocated and to pull it back into line. Yeah... not gonna happen bro. I drove home and spent the rest of the day lying down with as many painkillers as I could take. I decided after a few days that it was the metatarsal that had been damaged, rather than my toe.
That was 8 weeks ago. I can almost bend my toe now. It's only swollen after standing all day, or walking. Running has been cancelled since then. Shame really, as TNF100k is only 8 weeks away now. Oh well, it'll be a long walk.
But this post is about shoes. My toe was too swollen for VFF, and I needed to keep moving, so I purchased a pair of Merrel Trail Gloves. They were wide enough in the toe box for my ? broken metatarsal, and I could limp along in them without fear of catching my toe again and doing more damage.
Turns out they are pretty good shoes. I did an initial 13k in them on rough terrain, and with no extra damage to my foot, declared them perfect! Since then I've done a few long walks in them (18k, 12k) and found them to be hard on my achilles and heels, but otherwise great.
Last weekend I did 40k with 2400m of climb/drop in the Merrells, through water, mud, rocks, road, dirt... everything. They protected my still tender foot, while still being a good 'barefoot' option.
Bring on The North Face 100k I say.... where 'RunBare' will be wearing shoes :)