First Run in Inov-8 F-Lite 195 – June 10, 2015

As part of my ambition to turn into a runner being able to run barefoot for at least a Half Marathon on road, may it be really barefoot or only with minimal protection of the sole has to be seen but I couldn’t resist to get this shoe, the Inov-8 F-Lite 195, intended to help me reach this target.

Inov-8 is a UK based shoe manufacturer having produced some of the best performing trail shoes. Their logo is a bare foot. Apart from that they have shoes aimed at fitness needs, as such they have weight lifting shoes and shoes with heel to toe drops from 6mm to 0mm. Those fitness shoes are usable for fitness, Crossfit and outdoor running.

My interest coincides with an ongoing sales at all the 2XU shops in Malaysia, giving 36% discount on Inov-8 shoes. With this I couldn’t resist and I got myself the F-Lite 195. The number indicates the weight of the shoe with size US9 and is currently the lightest shoe that Inov-8 offers, even the zero drop shoe is with 210g heavier.

The Inov-8 F-Lite 195 - 3mm drop, hardly any cushioning, simply a beauty

The Inov-8 F-Lite 195 – 3mm drop, hardly any cushioning, simply a beauty

This shoe has a 3mm drop and hardly any cushioning. Just what I need to build those neglected intrinsic and stabilizing muscles, strengthen ligaments and other muscles. Those have been weakened by cushioned shoes that absorb the impact of the permanent pounding during running. Initially meant to help runners, cushioned shoes bring disaster to runners long term.

The human body comes well equipped with everything a runner needs, suspension, springs and shock absorbers. Cushioned shoes made those abilities void and respective enablers in the human body shriveled. OK, you may need a simple protection from sharp objects on the road but you certainly don’t need cushioned shoes.

Well, too late now. Most of us are victims of the (not only) running shoe industry. However we can make the turn around. Train ourselves and strengthen our natural resources enabling us to run. That may mean that you never reach a podium position but it certainly means more enjoyment of running. With the foot having considerable influence on our health in general, barefoot running is even more rewarding but I may elaborate on that another time.

Back to the Inov-8 F-Lite 195. I got it because I expect this shoe to help me to transition into a barefoot runner, an ambition I hope to reach in one, two maybe even more years. Important to transition carefully, as those cushioned shoes did a lot of structural damage that needs to be re-built slowly.

So I got it today and was too excited to take it out for a first run. After a tiring interval session on the track yesterday and hill training tomorrow during the next SCKLM running clinic I considered a short run today. Well it didn’t turn out to be a really short run eventually. Enjoyed a 17.2km run with an elevation of 314m.

Didn’t really know what to expect. I consider my feet and legs to be well trained, doing short foot, squats (normal and single leg), lunges (normal and single leg), single leg deadlifts, hip strengthening and so on.

As you may imagine, the run told me a lesson. My shoes that I am using normally all have a very small heel to toe drop but as I know now, they are still very cushioned. Today with the F-Lite 195 the impact of every step was much stronger. Especially my left calf struggled after km 12, to be more precise the Gastrocnemius got very tight. I also could feel the smaller muscles in my feet, must be mainly the Flexor Digitorium Brevis, a muscle under your feet in charge of flexing toes 2, 3, 4 and 5 but also the intrinsic musle in between the Metatarsals, the Dorsal Interossei.

Overall I have to accept to take it slow with the transition. For now I must be very cautious and limit the use of this shoe for only one run a week. I could feel that the natural shock absorption is not working well yet, respective muscles have to be conditioned to avoid so called over-use injuries such as shin splints.

I shall keep you updated of my experience with this shoe in later postings.

Please note that I am fully OK with whatever running shoes are sold out there and that you feel comfortable with. I just made a decision for myself to re-build the amazing and natural capabilities of my body to run with less and less cushioning over the coming years. After all the human anatomy is the best that mother nature has to offer when it comes to endurance running and I intend to make full use of it.

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