Would you judge me if you saw me wearing these things? It's OK. Be honest. I've been utterly fascinated with things since I saw them on the CES floor. And as someone who has done seemingly irreparable damage to his knees and back (and don't get me started on the plantar fasciitis) while running, I'll take a serious look at anything that seems like it might help.
Heck, I've spent a lot of time thinking seriously about those toed-shoes ever since I read Christopher McDougall's Born to Run a few years back.
At first glance, I assumed the Enko's Inspector Gadget-looking shoes were some sort of crazy scheme to help the wearer run faster or jump higher. In reality, the purpose of the the metal suspension system is slightly more mundane, but ultimately a lot more useful for regular runners.
Designed by marathoner Christian Freschi and his team, the structure is designed to serve as an extension of the sole, absorbing shock, stabilizing the runner, and adding a little spring to their step using the momentum of impact. The rep I spoke with assured me that the shoes would also help correct my tendency to pronate while running.
The shoes are available now for a pricey $390. Interestingly, buyers are asked to specify their weight upon purchase, so the company can outfit the shoes with the proper shock system. You guys promise not to laugh if you see me running down the street in a pair of these, right? Right?