If i understand the arguments in Jslick89
's post # 24 he clearly says that one should not buy a pair of barefoot shoes and the expect to go and play TT.
He clearly states that barefoot shoes should be regarded as a tool to strengthen the complete foot and so prevent pains and accidents.
I assume the ultimate goal would be to actually be able to do everything barefoot
This is indeed the goal. When you have strong feet, ankles and knees, you don't need "support" from your shoes. Your own body provides that support from its own strength.
And you are correct, you cannot pick up a pair of barefoot shoes and go play table tennis. It took me nearly a year before I knew my body was conditioned enough to do so.
I have 2 pairs of Vibrams and I can attest to it's effectiveness in terms of training up the foot muscles. I also use them in the gym and when I'm out running etc. The training is really good for TT especially in terms of the proper usage of the feet and the ability to never land on the heels (extremely good habit for TT)
But when I play TT I still wear TT shoes for extra cushioning etc... because of the risks of landing in a bad way when going after unexpected balls like what DukeGaGa mentioned.
I worried about landing in a bad way too. That is why i opted for the vivo FG sole. These are 4mm soles with a 6mm lug, so a total of 10mm of cushion. The sole of the shoe might also add another 2mm. I have found that this is plenty of cushion for playing TT. One of the locations I play at is concrete floor. I have no issues at all.
I definitely would not consider playing TT in my primus lite III, because they only have a 4mm sole. However, I do use primus lite III at the gym, where i do practice code drills, ladder agility drills, and a lot of other side to side movements with no issues. I use these shoes because I know i can fully control my movements with these drills. Different than TT where I might be required to do more unexpected movements, as you mentioned.
I’m talking about wearing bear foot shoes for tt in general, that’s why I didn’t quote any post in that reply. I’m just saying in a sport where you can’t guarantee you can always land in the optimal way, then wearing a pair of shoes that require you to land in that way to avoid injuries is just a bad idea. No matter how much training you have, there’ll always be accidents, and the probability of accidentally landing on your heels is higher when you’re playing a competitive sport and move around a lot. So let’s say you’re trying to save a really wide forehand, you cross step and dive, but ah-oh you jumped a bit too wide and landed on your heel, if you wore a normal pair of tt shoes, it might hurt for a few seconds, but if you were wearing a pair of barefoot shoes, you might need to just go home and rest, or worse go to the doctor’s.
Respectfully, I think you might be missing the point of barefoot shoes a little bit. Barefoot shoes don't *required* you to land in a certain way. They train your body to land in the correct way. Landing on your heels one time (or even multiple times) in barefoot shoes most likely will *not* injure you. By wearing barefoot shoes, you have opened up a neuron pathway from the foot to your brain that has otherwise been locked away by cushioned shoes. This pathway allows you to make lighting fast adjustments. Like I mentioned previously, I have "rolled" my ankle in barefoot shoes but it resulted in no injury. I attribute this to two main reasons; the inherent strength of my feet & ankles, and my body's instinctual ability to make the lighting fast correction.
If I recall the timing correctly, ive been playing TT in barefoot shoes (the VIVO FG sole models) for at least 7 months now. I have done all sorts of movements. gone after the most wildly astray balls. Played against opponents who can place the ball so well that I am moving laterally side to side in extremely unexpected ways, and I have had not a single injury to my feet, heels, or legs.
I have played 13 matches in one day on rubberized floor in barefoot shoes. I was tired at the end of the day, including my feet, but my feet were more tired than any other part of my body.
Anyways, I am not a doctor. Nor am I an expert on health, although I do consider myself knowledgeable, and more importantly, able to seek out the opinions and advice of experts. I am only giving my personal testimony from my experience with barefoot shoes. I really do believe that the extra 6mm lugs on the FG model soles from VIVO are more than enough to play this sport in.
Are barefoot shoes for TT right for everyone? Most likely not. There are some extra factors that I do believe aide me in this endeavor. One being that I am in a healthy body weight range (I am 5'7" 158lbs floating around 13% Body fat). Two, I have played all sorts of sports my whole life. Before TT, i was a soccer player for 15 years, so I am familiar with quick feet and agility). I also spend a lot of time in the gym strengthening my knees and my core muscles. I believe a strong core is a key foundation overall athleticism, and strong knees are key to being able to preform the vigorous techniques required of this sport.
I’m actually thinking about buying a pair of barefoot shoes myself. I think they’ll help me train my footwork like you said, though I do spend most of I my time at home without shoes on… so I haven’t really decided just yet. Working from home is just such a good idea lol
You should! I recommend the primus train FG to start off (although my first pair of barefoot shoes were actually the primus lite IIIs). I recommend the FG because it's an easier transition due to the additional 6mm lug. You can also check out revivo for used VIVOs. I've bought 3 pairs of used vivos ("great" condition) and they looked practically brand new. They put on a new sole for these shoes before they post them on the website to sell. Definitely a cost effective way to get into the lifestyle.