I recently bought a pair of Mizuno Be training shoes. You are meant to wear them when you are not running to strengthen your feet for when you are running. The principle being that the insole ends near the toe like an ancient japanese sandal, which means your toes grip over the end, strengthening the muscles in your feet as you walk, train at the gym etc. Don’t believe me? Here’s the video from Mizuno to explain the principle.
So it all seemed reasonably scientific to me and there were a number of independent personal reviews that rated them as actually working. So I invested in a pair, as I thought stronger feet would improve my hooks and overall control. As an Old Munki I need all the help I can get. So I have the shoes now for a couple of months and I have worn them to walk to work in and to train in at the gym. So pretty regularly everyday.
So now the question have they worked? The honest answer is no. But I am putting a caveat in on that. As the problem is that I have be doing a lot of minimalist running for quite some time now and I am not sure if my feet were too strong to benefit from the use of the shoes. Obviously I can’t weaken or detrain my feet and then try again, so I am not sure if it was just me and the physical position I was starting from. Maybe for someone who has done no training in this area at all, they may be beneficial. They are comfortable and are great to lift in at the gym, I don’t get as many funny looks as I did when I wore my Vibram Five Fingers (or Munki Feet as Mrs Munki calls them). Just incase you don’t know what Vibram Five Fingers look like here is a picture of mine. Yeah I guess you can tell why I got funny looks in my local Globo Gym in these. Personally I think they are quite cool looking
As far as the Mizuno Be are concerned for the manufacturers purpose I don’t think they actually work. I have to say I don’t really subscribe to the strengthening attributes provided by the insoles. Overall I would not recommend them for this purpose. The good thing is that the Mizuno shoes are nice and “normal” looking. As far as gym shoes go they are great and they are nice and lightweight too. I will continue to wear them to work, as the are more comfortable than hard office shoes. But I will not be replacing them.
So far unfortunately I have not been able to find anything to beat my VFF (that looks like normal trainers). However if you don’t want to invest the money in any training shoes, but are interested in strengthening your foot muscles,(yes your feet actually have muscles in them), walking around in bare feet at home as much as possible will help. Or some exercises like the ones below are useful and can help not only with your hook control, but also with the minimalist running if you decide to take that that up. It really is surprising the difference it makes to your foot strength. I guess the concept of strengthening your foot muscles does not really spring to most peoples mind, like the bigger skeletal muscles. But I would definitely recommend it, just make sure you take your time with it, as you don’t want to strain your muscles or tendons, patience is the key on this for both Old and Young Munki’s.
If you have any question about the Mizuno’s or the VFF please feel free to ask.