APP OF THE DAY: Merrell Barefoot review (iPhone)
Barefoot running is gaining traction, as more and more company's start making and selling shoes to let you get into the sport.
For those not really aware of barefoot running, the idea is that you have as little cushioning as possible between you and the ground. In the case of the Merrell Barefoot shoes that means about 4mm of cushioning and no instep or big soft heel as you're probably used to.
As you can imagine, that means you are going to have to learn to run in a very different way and heel striking is entirely out of the question. What's also out of the question is jumping into the new shoes and running your usual 10k, or even 5km distances without having to re-learn how to run.
Why? Well, because you have to mid-foot strike, but also you have to change your gait and your cadence, and that involves using different muscles.
To help you make a gradual from your regular trainers to the new shoe, the company has created an iPhone app to guide you through the transition and let you manage your training at the same time.
The app details the four key stages you'll have to complete and recommends a 41-day training programme to get you up to scratch using the Merrell Barefoot shoes - we used the Merrell Trail Glove shoes.
Each day you will be asked to do a number of tasks, from a 30-minute walk on day one up to a 15-minute run on day 40.
At the start of each stage there is an instructional video to help explain things further, and when you begin each session you can check in to your location and track your distance, as well as opt for the app to play music. To get the most out of training Merrell suggests you listen to tracks with a cadence of 180 beats per minute and it suggests severa tracks from iTunes that will offer you just that.
Music chosen, you are ready to begin your activity and once done the app records your progress so you can track how you are doing.
The idea is that by the end of the month you will have mastered how to run barefoot and be able to ditch the app.
As apps go, the Merrell Barefoot is pretty basic, it does do what it sets out to do, and that's help you move over to barefoot running. If you've just brought the shoes and need to know how to get the most out of them, before trying to do a killer run that will put you off for good, then this is a great companion app.