By Cassie Michelotti
“What is on your feet?”
The question they really meant to ask:
“Why are those on your feet?”
My shoes have toes, actual individual toe slots. They are basically a thin layer protecting the skin on my feet. From a distance, people have told me it just looks like I am wearing socks; that is how little shoe there actually is. They are called Vibram Five Fingers, I call them my toe shoes. So that answers what is on my feet,;but why they are there is a bit more complicated.
All I did was jump. This sounds uneventful, just another day playing lacrosse, just another pass thrown a little too high. I was wearing my very expensive traditional running shoes that my mom had gotten me to try and alleviate the knee problems I had developed from years of running. They had thick soles, which were supposed to cushion my knees from the impact of running. When I jumped, I landed on the edge of the sole, so instead of my foot landing flat it went 90 degrees the other direction. It was painful to say the least, but seeing as how it was the last day of the season and my brother had rolled his ankle in a similar way and all he needed was ice and rest, I just did the same.
One year later and I was still in pain; a trip to the doctor revealed that my injury was a bit more serious than I had thought. Upon rolling my ankle, the tendon had ripped; to reattach itself, my foot had grown an extra piece of bone, which was now being very annoying and painful. For the next two years I had to wear an ankle brace every time I ran, and then ice my ankle afterwards.
Here is the confusing part; every summer I would play lacrosse barefoot in my backyard, no braces, no ice, just fun. The little pain I did experience faded as the summer wore on; then every year as I started training for lacrosse, the pain would return in force.
My senior year of high school, I read an article in the paper about a runner who never wore shoes, and how once he stopped wearing shoes all of his running injuries disappeared. So I tried it myself, just a short run only 1.5 miles, and apart from the occasional pebble, it felt great. The next day, I could not walk; the muscles in my legs were so tight and sore, I could barely make it up a flight of stairs. It turns out running without shoes completely changes the way you run and the muscles you use to do it. It must have been exactly what I needed, because once my legs and feet got used to this new way of running I could go for miles completely pain free.
My next challenge was to find a way I could run during hot summer afternoons without burning my feet on the hot asphalt. The internet revealed an odd shoe, one with toes, like being barefoot without being barefoot. I was a convert; running shoes were a thing of my past, until lacrosse started again.
I am going to be completely honest; my toe shoes are really weird and I was embarrassed to wear them in public and especially in front of the members of the lacrosse team that I was meeting for the first time. The problem was, I was actually scarred to wear a normal pair of sneaker or cleats because of all the suffering they had caused in my past. So I scrambled and found another minimalist shoe that was a bit more conventional looking and wore it my entire freshman season.
Running over the summer, I reverted back to my bare feet or toe shoes; my toes preferred freedom and the feel of the ground under my feet makes running much more enjoyable. So this year, my sophomore year of college, I sacrificed my pride in favor of my feet and showed up to lacrosse practice in toe shoes.
It’s the end of the season now and my shoes are still the joke of the team; my refusal to wear cleats has resulted in my slamming into the mud on several occasions, and when another player in cleats steps on my foot with its extremely thin outer layer, it really hurts, but my ankle has not hurt in two years.
And that is why they are on my feet.