Barefoot Runners

1

If it ain't broke...uhh... (Read 545 times)


Needs more cowbell!

    I haven't had much interest in trying barefoot.  I've thought it cool that it works well for so many, but have not had major issues with shoes.  I wear lightweight, mild stability shoes with Superfeet and it's worked well for 4 years.  Until Saturday--when I sprained my left ankle during a trail relay.


    I think there were several factors that set me up for this injury...lots of roots, wet leaves concealing the roots, stiff legs from no warm-up and a leg that began immediately with a couple of nasty hills, and next-to-no trail miles since last Fall.   I'm sure my muscles that normally make me strong on trails have atrophied from lack of use.


    But another factor is undoubtedly bulky trail shoes with clunky heels (Mizuno Wave Ascends--which aren't even a particularly bulky shoe, as trail shoes go).  I kept catching my heels on things.  Typically I can roll my ankles and not have injury, but not this time.


    I saw at least one woman in a pair of FF Bikilas and it makes sense that they would work on trails.  Instead of having an inflexible heel that wobbles on roots and stumps the FFs would absorb impact.  I'd rather have feet that are a little sore by the end of the race than ankles that are trashed.


    I'd love to hear testimonies from those of you who have come back from an ankle injury and/or done trail running with FFs.

    I shoot pretty things! ~

    '14 Goals:

    • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

    • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


    under a rock

      I don't have any testimonies for you but I can tell you I did my first run in my VFF this morning and after putting my shoes back on it was just wierd, like putting on platform shoes. (morning run today 1 mi bf, 2 mi vff, 3 mi shod) I've also switched to a more minimal shoe on trails and love them, the heel doesn't flare and I can feel the ground better. I can definitely tell my feet and ankles are getting more of a work out in them. My feet are tender after 10+ miles in them but I enjoy the feel of them more than my cushy Salomons. I hope to be able to hit the trails in my VFF once I get fully switched over to BF and minimalist shoes.

       Goals: 1)Get my IT Band to cooperate 2) Run lots of trails. 3) Get my back to cooperate.

        My feet won't fit into FFs properly, so I've done my trail running in Saucony racing flats with no problems - a more minimalist shoe, very light, but I can feel rocks and roots more.  Did a technical 25K trail race in April with no problems.  But I've spent the last year or so strengthening my feet with exercises and some barefooting. If I could wear FFs, I think personally I would use the flats to help with the transition.  Maybe flats for more technical and FFs for less tech. trails. Sorry - no direct experience with FFs.

        "I can do 440 in 220"    Half Fanatic #846    "90% of running is half mental"    If I collapse, please pause my Garmin

         

        stephersj


          Hi there!  I haven't come back from an ankle injury...however when I used to run in conventional running shoes I would get terrible shin pain no matter what I did or how much/little I ran.  I was lucky if I could run 3 maybe 4 days a week.

           

          In November I read something about VFFs somewhere and was intrigued so I found/read everything I could about them figuring if my running shoes weren't working for me it was worth a shot to try something new.  From late last summer through fall my running had basically tanked anyways with sick/dying grandmas and starting school and working full time so in December I decided to try some barefoot running as I felt like I was already starting over with running.  I started out just doing very short barefoot runs on my treadmill from December until the middle of February when I got my first pair of VFFs. 

           

          I haven't worn my VFFs on a run longer than 6 miles yet (I'm getting there) but I absolutely love them.  Aside from some mild foot soreness for the first month or two I haven't had any of the pains I used to get running in shoes.  I just got a pair of Bikilas a little over a week ago and they are fantastic!  I run mostly on sidewalks/roads, but also do some light trail running and I have had no issues with them at all.  The only VFFs I have had any experience with are the Sprints and Bikilas and I would defintely recommend the Bikilas for trail running over the spints.


          Needs more cowbell!

            Maybe flats for more technical and FFs for less tech. trails. Sorry - no direct experience with FFs.

             

            I wondered about that.  Inov-8 has some fairly minimal-looking trail flats that might be good for rougher trails.  A lot of our nearby park trails are fairly easy, sandy or leafy terrain--0 rocks.  I would think VFFs would be nice on that surface.

            I shoot pretty things! ~

            '14 Goals:

            • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

            • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

              No experience with VFF's, but I am currently trying to switch to more minimalist-style shoes.  On Sunday I did a triathlon, and for the first time in my life, I wish I had worn my Adizero's instead of my Saucony progrid rides.  It was very muddy on some parts of the course and I feel I would have had better traction in the Adizeros, but I'm still too new to minimalist-style shoes to race any distance over a mile.

              'No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch'

               

              "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"  - Peter Maher

               

              "Running long and hard is an ideal antidepressant, since it's hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Also, there are those hours of clearheadedness that follow a long run."  -Monte Davis


              Imminent Catastrophe

                I do some training in VFFs, I really think it helps my stride and foot/ankle strength. I don't wear them on long trail runs because I'm clumsy and tend to stub my toe occasionally and the worst that has happened was a face-plant. In VFFs that could mean a broken toe miles from my car (rumor has it that happened to Chris McDougall, author of Born to Run). Ouch. I ran a trail marathon last month and there were a couple runners in VFFs who did fine. If you are a heel striker it will take you a long time to adjust to them, plan on it.

                My solution is Inov-8. They make great trail shoes that don't have the thick heels and most are very lightweight and flexible. They offer a bewildering variety of models but I would start with the lighter Roclite line. They are really hard to find in stores, but Zappos has a good selection and you can return them if you don't like them.


                "Able to function despite imminent catastrophe"

                 "To obtain the air that angels breathe you must come to Tahoe"--Mark Twain

                "The most common question from potential entrants is 'I do not know if I can do this' to which I usually answer, 'that's the whole point'.--Paul Charteris, Tarawera Ultramarathon RD.

                 

                √ Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 20/21 July 2013

                Boston Marathon 21 April 2014

                Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 19/20 July 2014


                Queen of 3rd Place

                  I've done some true barefooting, and quite a bit of running in various minimal shoes: VFFs, Runamocs (love em!), Feelmax, XC flats, and road racing flats. I have run up to a marathon in the road flats - but when I took them (Adizero Mana) on an 11 mi trail run my feet were pretty beat up from rocks and roots. Now I'm doing trails with Nike Avant Runs which are working well - they are pretty flexible and something like that might work for you. I looked at trail shoes and can't imagine putting those big stiff heavy things on my feet - it would be "hello PF: again for me!

                   

                  Ex runner


                  Needs more cowbell!

                     Now I'm doing trails with Nike Avant Runs which are working well - they are pretty flexible and something like that might work for you. 

                     

                    Interesting...this is my regular road shoe, as a matter of fact.  I always figured the minimal tread would not give me enough traction on slippery/muddy/sandy stuff, though (which is most of what we have in MI).

                    I shoot pretty things! ~

                    '14 Goals:

                    • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                    • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


                    Needs more cowbell!

                      My solution is Inov-8. They make great trail shoes that don't have the thick heels and most are very lightweight and flexible. They offer a bewildering variety of models but I would start with the lighter Roclite line. They are really hard to find in stores, but Zappos has a good selection and you can return them if you don't like them.


                       

                      I looked at those a bit.  They do look like a good compromise.  One of my friends also has a pair of La Sportiva Crosslites, which seem very nice and flexible.  My biggest issue is that a lot of these minimal trail shoes appear to be very narrow and I have duck feet.

                      I shoot pretty things! ~

                      '14 Goals:

                      • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                      • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


                      under a rock

                         

                        I looked at those a bit.  They do look like a good compromise.  One of my friends also has a pair of La Sportiva Crosslites, which seem very nice and flexible.  My biggest issue is that a lot of these minimal trail shoes appear to be very narrow and I have duck feet.

                         I love my Crosslites. They look narrower than they feel. My Salomons look wider but don't feel wider. I think all the extra cushion makes them fit tight around my toes and ball of my foot. The Crosslites don't have extra cush in the insole or upper mesh so there is more room than there appears to be.

                         Goals: 1)Get my IT Band to cooperate 2) Run lots of trails. 3) Get my back to cooperate.


                        Blaine Moore (MM#2867)

                          Another vote for Inov-8 - I have the roclite 315s and they are basically just a reason to have a nice aggressive tread. (I do run some pretty gnarly trails, and run more trails than roads once it starts snowing in the winter.)  You can't fold them up quite as easily as my huaraches but you can touch the to to the lip of the shoe.

                           

                          I've run barefoot, in VFFs, in huaraches, and in racing flats.  If conditions are wet and/or muddy (especially if there are hills or tight turns), I've found that VFFs don't give enough traction and aren't worth much (I use KSOs).  Barefoot isn't much better and is pretty tough to run on, but I can get better grippy action from my toes on uphills while barefooting so I'll put them ahead of the VFFs.  I haven't tried anything too tough w/the huaraches but I think that they'll actually be better.  I got some cross country waffles recently that I'm going to take on the trails one of these days and see how those feel, but most of my racing flats are actually just my every day trainers.  I never wear my heavy trainers anymore unless I'm doing yard work.

                           

                          As for ankles...when I was in high school, I fell down the side of a mountain during a race and broke my ankle.  I was on crutches for a while after that, basically just took indoor track season off from running and got back into things during outdoor track.

                           

                          Run to Win
                          24 Marathons, 17 Ultras, 16 States (Full List)



                            I run on the trails quite a bit with VFF, or barefoot. In fact, most of my runs involve at least partially trails.


                            There are two major times I've cursed/do curse:


                            1. Stubbed my toe on a root. That hurts a lot more than it does with shoes.

                            2. Heavy pea sized or bigger gravel on hills. For whatever reason I have a hard time adjusting to this.  There are some more technical trails around me that are quite rolling, and filled with this type of things. Obviously there is a thinner layer between you and the ground.


                            Past these two issues, I must say that I thoroughly enjoy trail running and have had no other issues. It even feels good to get all gopped up in mud.


                            I have had no running related injuries from this, although I did recently get a nasty bout of poison ivy. 


                            As for traction. I run through the muck over hills and have no issues with traction that I could possible see remedied unless I was wearing soccer spikes, or something like that.


                            You may notice the bottoms of your feet are more tender than normal, and you may also notice that your calves are tighter than normal. The soles soreness comes from the great new sensation overload. The calves can come from changes in stride, depending on if running in the VFF changes your stride at all. 



                            Creator of RunForth@robraux | shodless.com


                            Queen of 3rd Place

                               

                              Interesting...this is my regular road shoe, as a matter of fact.  I always figured the minimal tread would not give me enough traction on slippery/muddy/sandy stuff, though (which is most of what we have in MI).

                               

                              I found that mine were way grippier than I expected, but we don't have a lot of sand.

                              Ex runner