interesting piece in Army Times on minimal shoes

Discussion in 'Military Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by stomper, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. stomper

    stomper Guest

    It's always interesting to see when the military and the counterculture agree on something. Both have a certain interest in logical solutions to actual problems, and are a little bit isolated from the mainstream. So in the 70's they agreed on things like... the usefulness of geodesic domes!

    Anyway, the ArmyTimes web site has an article about the popularity of VFF shoes within the services, with some positive comments from doctors. One says about 35% of Navy SEALs are using them. It's interesting to see that they've been barred from the Army PT test because they might represent an unfair advantage.

    Here's the link:

    http://www.armytimes.com/offduty/health/mil-offduty_toeshoes_101110/

    Can any BRS members in the services right now comment? Is the Army sort of ahead of most of society on this one?

    (I ask that because I was running across a street barefoot today, and a woman literally screamed at me, aghast. "What the he*l are you ..."

    ... doing? I suppose she was trying to say, but she was too lazy to stop her car to explain herself. :) )
     
  2. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    This is a great find,

    This is a great find, Stomper. I will need to find the time to read through it. It blows me away that they would say, "unfair advantage." What? To use the resources God gave you? To use the resources you were born with?

    Here's an article on the BRS's news page that includes Victor, Secretary of the BRS, who is also a Major in the Air Force. It is very positive. It contains a link to the original story in Air Force Times for those interested. http://www.barefootrunners.org/build2/story/air-force-takes-note-bfr
     
  3. Danjo

    Danjo Barefooters
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    Cool, though a bit

    Cool, though a bit innaccurate. I suppose, as we always say, better they wear minimal shoes than boat anchors. And also very interisting that they're not allowed for PT test because they might offer and advantage. Now we just need the military to talk to the rest of the world so we can wear whatever or nothing and not get crap for it.
     
  4. jschwab

    jschwab Barefooters
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    Crossfit is very popular in

    Crossfit is very popular in the military community and it promotes barefoot/minimalist workouts as I understand (I'm not in the military). 35% seems really high, though. I get the print copy of AT (work subscription) - can't wait to see it.
     

  5. barnettcory

    barnettcory Barefooters
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    Very good fine Stomper! 

    Very good fine Stomper! First, I will quote our AR 670-1 Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia.



    14–3. Accessories
    a. Commanders may authorize the wear of commercial running shoes, calf-length or ankle-length, plain white socks
    with no logos, gloves, reflective belts or vests, long underwear, and other items appropriate to the weather conditions
    and type of activity. If soldiers wear long underwear or other similar items, they must conceal them from view with the
    hooded sweatshirt and sweat pants when wearing the PFU, or the running jacket and pants if wearing the IPFU.



    Now with that, it provides a very wide and broad spectrum of things. That of which is completely up to the unit commander. Myself personally, have not talked to my commander about the minimal shoe (primarly VFF) in the Army PT Uniform until I feel I am ready to start running in them. Though I have talked to my Executive Officer, who is a avid runner himself, about these shoes and he is very interested and has heard about the minimal/barefoot running before. I am in the process of pushing him to get a pair of VFF's. I will state, I am not the first person here to get them. I actually saw them coming out of the Dining Facility at the end of July which led me to google and on to researching minimal/barefoot running and lead me to here and birthdayshoes.com.

    Now here where I am (Egypt), I have decided that I won't be running barefoot here. It is cooling off here with highs still in the upper 90's to low 100's and evening temps in the 70's, I think the asphault we do have here would be considerably too hot. Though I won't be againest running on it with my VFFs.

    I will agree with TJ that it blows me away that they have banned them from the Army PT Test because it gives a person an "unfair advantage". I bet MOST commanders do not know this until reading the Army Times. I have read that some commanders have no problem with them, others are the absolutely not in my formation. Most reactions here are the typical, what in the hell are those and then the questions that follow are the typical questions of, are they comfortable, what about cushioning and support and so on. Because we Army Folk are bullheaded, it is hard to get people to understand why until they themselves do some research.

    I think I have rambled on, sorry about it being so long! I am sure I will have more because I am going up to our company area to see if I can find this article in our Army Times and show it to our Executive Officer and talk to him some more about it.
     
  6. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Cory, be sure to print this

    Cory, be sure to print this one out too, since it comes from a military publication and sounds favorable (http://www.barefootrunners.org/build2/story/air-force-takes-note-bfr). Would you be interested in presenting your research in an article on the military's stance on barefoot and VFF running (inside and outside of PT tests) to share with the BRS members on the News Show?
     
  7. barnettcory

    barnettcory Barefooters
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    TJ, I would have no problem

    TJ, I would have no problem doing so but to be perfectly honest with you, so far all I really know is what goes on in our little place we call "home" here. Before coming here (Egypt) and seeing those VFF's coming out the dining facility that night, I have never heard of/though of running barefoot or minimalist. After researching for days on end (I have a lot of time to surf the internet, if you look at the users online, chances are..I am on, lol!) that I realise that this would be fun and interesting way to run. I have also been told from our rear soldiers that haven't made it here yet that when you go into the gym on base (Joint Lewis-McChord Base), that VFF's are quite popular.

    One thing I have come to realise about this movement though, people are going to look at you weird and they won't quite understand until they either do it themselves or research it themselves. For instance, while talking to my XO (Executive Officer) in the hall one evening, our commander walked up and listened to us talking about running and was like, why would you want to run barefoot or in these shoes? My XO went on to explain that they have done tests and so on that prove its a good, healthy way to run and about your muscles in your feet and so on (we all here have heard it and read it).

    I do like in the article from the Army Times that Stomper posted that medical doctors that are forward deployed are prescribing these shoes for soldiers to wear due to running injuries. I have someone in my own squad that suffered a significant achilles tendon injury a little more than a year ago. He had a 5cm tear in it and by the time the VA did anything, it was already healing up on its own. He has not ran until getting here for almost a year. He says when he runs, his tendon is obviously tight which henders him in his PT Test. My XO is battling a case of PF or what I believe is PF. The medics here actually has him wearing a Strassburg sock to bed. He has said it helps but it will take awhile to heal. So to me, the Army Medical community knows about running injuries beyond a sprain ankle and hurting knees. Its whether or not that Doc thats treating you has an open mind to having you walk around in VFF's or something similar.

    On a side note, I don't know if you guys are interested in this but i'll post a website to the Army's Physical Fitness Test standards if anyone is interested at looking to see how they would "fair". They ain't hard to achieve UNLESS you are lazy and don't work out. Which for some of us National Guard guys....can be a pain :bigsmile:

    http://usmilitary.about.com/od/army/a/afpt.htm you'll have to click on the age group you are in!
     
  8. barnettcory

    barnettcory Barefooters
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    OH!  Jschwab, I ran across

    OH! Jschwab, I ran across this article while reading through the armytimes.com.

    http://www.armytimes.com/offduty/health/offduty-hidden-danger-of-extreme-workouts-rhabdo-100410w/

    Apparently the military is running through a string of injuries from guys getting injuried from doing intense of a work out doing CrossFit, P90X and Ect. As for 35% that you mentioned, that is just for the Navy SEALs. But they are right, when regular soldiers see our Spec. Ops guys wearing, having, playing with something....you know its good and you should at least try it.
     
  9. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Thanks for your very thorough

    Thanks for your very thorough response, Cory. It was worth a shot. I've been wanting an article like this for awhile now, and I really think it should come from someone in the military. If you find you are bored and have the time to research it and write it, I am always open, and I will be here to help however I can.
     
  10. barnettcory

    barnettcory Barefooters
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    One of the first things

    One of the first things I researched after the whole barefoot/minimal stuff was Army Regulation. Obviously what I quoted from the AR 670-1 is all that is to go by. Therefore its left up to the commanders. I think MOST military people are afraid to ask for permission, let alone just show up to formation with these "goofy" looking shoes on.

    Everything that I have looked up about VFF's and Army Reg is hit and miss and mostly on forums just like this. Mainly of soldiers saying YAY or NEH for the response they got from the command. But I also looked this up at the beginning of August. It has progressively gotten bigger with the Yahoo article a month and a half or so ago and now with Army Times having an article, if not several since August. So tonight (its 7PM here right now), I will look it up again. I am very interested in being able to contribute a story of some type for you, I just don't know if it has fully caught up to the military just yet.
     
  11. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Awesome.  Let me know when

    Awesome. Let me know when you get something together. Thank you.
     
  12. jschwab

    jschwab Barefooters
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    barnettcory wrote:OH! 



    AT has reported on this over the years. They had an article detailing the risk of clots a while back, too. Apparently, something can detach from the muscles and enter the bloodstream and that's not good (I'm fuzzy on the details). They do alot of good exercise/fitness reporting.
     

  13. barnettcory

    barnettcory Barefooters
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    wow, I ran across a

    wow, I ran across a birthdayshoes.com article just now about the Army Times article.

    http://birthdayshoes.com/toe-shoes-in-the-military#feedbacks



    I have a feeling that after it was in the Army Times, this is going to really take off and hopefully get some answers sometime this decade :) lol
     
  14. ajb422

    ajb422 Barefooters
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    I've actually never really

    I've actually never really understood why they are allowed to do PT tests in standard running shoes. Afterall how many guys are going to be like oh s*** we are getting shot at lets take off our boots and throw on our running shoes. If they are going to declare vffs a advantage then they need to realize that shoes themselves are an advantage and make them all run in their boots and cammies for the tests. I would assume the logic on VFFs being an advantage would be something along the lines of you can't do it in combat, well that same logic goes for PT gear in general.

    With that being said though I think the VFFs are catching on in the military. From what I hear from my husband alot of the guys like them for weight lifting so they have better use of their toes. He's has declared he's getting a pair for that when he gets back from afgan. According to him everyone has been saying nothing but good things about them where he was at (a giant mismash of different military branches and countries).
     
  15. Jeepmonkey

    Jeepmonkey Barefooters

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    Well, I had a lot to say on

    Well, I had a lot to say on this issue, so I wrote it down and of course when I tried to post it I got an internet error and lost it all. Should've copied everything before I hit save, but ohh well.



    I find it hilarious that the Navy is the most outspoken against the VFF's. I've been deployed twice to Camp Arifjan and while I was there I found myself wondering if the Navy even had a regulation governing the wear and appearance of their uniform. They would walk around in every combination of uniform items imaginable!



    As far as the Army is concerned, I think it's a nice change of pace (pun intended) that they are trying to be more progressive when it comes to training. When I first joined, 17 years ago, they approached physical training with a shotgun mentality. Everyone did push-ups, sit-ups and ran for 4 miles, no matter what your ability level was. There certainly wasn't much emphasis on proper form and technique. Now it seems like the powers that be are a little more receptive to alternative training plans, as long as the outcome is improved P.T. scores. I still don't have VFF's, but if/when I do get them, I will probably wear them to formation and to do a test in as long as my commander didn't have a problem with it.





    Although, I've met SMA Preston, and I couldn't imagine seeing him running in VFF's. :)
     
  16. ajb422

    ajb422 Barefooters
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    Knowing the navy when VFFs do

    Knowing the navy when VFFs do catch on with them they'll design a whole new uniform just to go with them. Of course they'll need the dress version, the work version (both long and short sleeve obviously) the utility version, the sea version and the PT version. Many of those having two different versions based on the time of year it is, and each of these requiring a different color of VFF to match. Of course none of this will be the same for officers and enlisted. Everyone will be required to have all of these even if they never use them. Then three years later once everyone has finally figured out the rules they'll redo them all.
     
  17. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    I think the VFFs as they are

    I think the VFFs as they are now match the Navy uniforms very well. After all, it is a boat shoe.
     
  18. barnettcory

    barnettcory Barefooters
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    ajb422 wrote:Knowing the

    that is hilarious!

    Jeep Monkey, i've been in for half that time and I have even noticed a bigger emphasis on PT and the way it is done. We didn't have classes on how to run properly. You went out there, ran your butt off and did push ups and sit ups like you said.
     
  19. unshodsam

    unshodsam Barefooters
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    ajb422, there is one branch

    ajb422, there is one branch that has it "right" as far as fitness tests go: the Marine Corps.

    I just got out of the Army in July and had the pleasure to do part of the Marine Combat Fitness Test (CFT) with a detachment of Marines that I worked with at the time. The CFT is in addition to their more traditional Physical Fitness Test (PFT) and, as the name implies, is a test of an individual's fitness in situations likely to be found in combat. Along with quickly being able to move a casualty and carry ammo, it involves a two mile run in full uniform; boots included. I honestly hope the Army adopts something similar to the Marine CFT since it is the closest test I have seen that mimics any type of combat condition. I was surprised at how grueling a short boots 'n utes two mile run was!

    My short four years spent in the Army was mostly spent in Germany where I saw no exposure to any barefoot/minimalist footwear running. I think this partly has to do with the cultural and geographic isolation soldiers can experience when overseas (even in a friendly country such as Germany). Once I was back in the states after July 2010 I first heard of the minimalist footwear "movement" (if I may call it that) when a friend got some VFFs and exclaimed how great they were; an event quite separate from anything dealing with the Army. Since then I randomly ran into someone during National Guard drill weekend (I'm now in the Guard) wearing VFFs, but he seemingly couldn't edify any reason why he wore them (maybe he was just tired of explaining it).

    I can understand how the Navy SEALS have a high percentage of individuals using VFFs in training. Units such as the SEALS, Army Special Forces, Rangers, et cetera... are known for being very down to earth in their methodology (they do what they need to do in order to get the job done). If commanders see that running in minimal footwear improves running ability, then I’m sure they would encourage it. As I see it, minimalist footwear running has a ton of cultural momentum and I'm sure you'll see it turn into a major trend within this decade, or maybe even in the next two or three years. There is just too much evidence supporting the benefits of barefoot running and more and more people are coming to the same realization: "I don't hurt as much when I run barefoot, and it's easier to run!"

    The snowball is growing and it's about to go down a very steep hill with lots of snow on it...

    Sorry to go on that tangent, my hope was to provide a little insight into what I saw in the military. Military folk are intrinsically fitness minded, so I think it's inevitable that you will see this trend in the military as much as you'll see it in the civilian world.
     
  20. barnettcory

    barnettcory Barefooters
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    unshodsam, or anyone else for

    unshodsam, or anyone else for that matter

    i'm sure we've all heard that APFT is going to change and so on. What have you guys heard/read about this?
     

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