Plantars Fasciitis—many a person has been there and I’ve seen them run the gamut for therapy. Run less, stop running altogether. Buy orthotics, roll your arch with a frozen water bottle, stretch your Achilles tendon, do towel stretches, and I’ve even seen some people get surgery, multiple times. No one ever seems to have relief. The feel that knife like stab in their arch, they don’t know why, and it wears on them.
Three years ago, as I was making my minimalist shift and undergoing my running resurgence, I was mired in the midst of this very predicament. The condition did not appear in conjunction, but before,
|Photo from Altra showing the difference of a wide toe box.|
I first found the Dharma at Black Creek Outfitters, a local active lifestyle store, the camping, kayaking type that was the first to embrace the minimalist movement in my area. They had Vibrams before Vibrams had palpable demand. They had Vivo as well, and thankfully they stocked this shoe, sporting a wide toe box, one where your toes spread out, stretching and moving the natural barefoot way while meeting work place demands. A leather shoe is the standard, and the Dharma doesn’t disappoint. Coming in either a sleek black or coffee brown, they are sharp, but built to last (each pair has given me over a year and a half of daily, all day wear). The shoe is zero drop with a stack height that is virtually non-existent on a thin, puncture proof sole. It is the pinnacle of flexibility, bending in half with nary an effort,
|A pair over a year old.|
When I started wearing the shoe, my students always commented on comfort. The shoe looks comfortable, and it is, but not because of padding, but because you can feel every step, feel the ground, and become one with your movements again. My feet didn’t hurt because of these shoes; they seemed to feel relived, relaxed, and ready to work on more active endeavors. My balance muscles developed, my arch became active, rejuvenated. Two weeks later, two weeks after starting to wear them and dumping the arch support and toe pinching of other models, my arches felt relief. Like a ghost in the night, Plantars Fasciitis vanished with out a trace. Thus, I wear the Dharma everywhere I’m not running but the beach (I do sometimes trade them for Skoras on the everyday circuit now, the Core has similar properties in flex, feel,and toe box).
These shoes are pricey: $110 if you can’t find them on sale, but as stated above, I wear them eight hours a day, five days a week at a minimum. Most of these hours are on my feet, and they last minus a scuff here or there, as can be seen in the above picture.
1. Light, flexible sole and leather. Full ground feel, as if you are barely wearing the shoe.
2. Toe Box: wide and properly shaped. Your toes will spread, your balance will grow.
3. Slip on style makes for and easy, quick on and off experience
1. The black riming of the sole rubs off quickly. When this happens the shoe can have a less clean appearance.
2. Like most leather products, the shoe can stretch. Plan accordingly with your size. My first pair, a 45, was perfect until the stretching. My second pair, a 44, was much better after it stretched. Perfect fit.