Saturday, February 13, 2010

Please Don't Grow Hooves!

On the day of my first barefoot run, my girlfriend went out to lunch with a friend of hers and mentioned that I went running barefoot that morning. Her friend replied that there were tribes in various places of the world that develop "hooves" as a result of living barefoot. Not actual hooves of course, but just that their feet become so calloused that they resemble hooves.

My girlfriend quickly connected the dots... (1) I can be become obsessive about things, (2) running barefoot might become one of my obsessions, (3) if I start to regularly run barefoot I will grow hooves, (4) there's a good chance I'll grow hooves.

Result: She came home and begged me not to grow hooves.

Confused, I tried to imagine how a foot might be slowly morphed by many barefoot runs to resemble a hoof. Below is my best guess.

On the left is an image of my foot, with a cut on my big toe from accidentally scraping it on the ground during my barefoot run. I'm sure that as the cut heals, the skin that replaces it will grow back tougher and more calloused. After even more abuse from the trails, it will eventually resemble the foot in the middle, and finally make its way to full "hoof-dom" as you see on the right. For all we know, the image on the right could be an actual human foot. And for all we know, that could be my foot in two years.

Out of curiosity I went online and searched for images of the feet of barefoot tribes. I tried all kinds of phrases: "hoof feet", "barefoot tribe", "goblin foot", "calloused feet", and more. In conclusion, I saw that a healthy foot, no matter how calloused, looks just like a normal foot. Except that the dude with the calloused feet is more of a badass.

Seriously though, imagine two guys walking on gravel. One guy is looking like he's walking on hot coals saying "ouch, ouch ouch," and the other guy is standing tall, looking like he's walking on soft grass. We all know who the badass is. The guy with the hooves.

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