Barefoot Runners


How do you run down hill? (Read 1308 times)

    Seriously, how do you run down hill barefoot or in minimal shoes, VFF's, etc?


    Just though I'd ask for advice on what people's experiences are. How have you developed your form? Which part of your foot do you land on and is this different to running on a flat surface? Do you lean back or lean forward?


    I'm reading Chirunning at the moment and he (obviously goes into a lot more detail but) basically say's relax, lean forward and except the fact that you are going to speed down the hill.



      I actually stopped running to work, because it was 2 miles down hill on pavement. My feet were hurting way too much doing that daily.


        I found running downhill to be the most difficult thing to do when starting because it requires relaxation and confidence. When I started, I had neither, despite trying to force relation. An oxymoron of course.

        So, how to run downhill. To me, ChiRunning has it right: relax, open up your stride out the back (not the front), which means keeping your feet on the ground longer and rotating your hips to absorb the shock. I land on the midfoot as I descend.

        Whatever you do, do NOT land on your heels in the breaking motion. I would rather walk the hill than do this, as you're throwing a tremendous amount of force where it should not be. 

        The best advice I can offer is: treat running longer downhills as an intermediate maneuver and begin to tackle it once you're comfortable running without an incline. When you do tackle it, practice it, just like you would do hills.

        Creator of RunForth@robraux |


          Minimalist/ BF running is so much about foot placement and I think it is most crucial when going downhill.

          Rob is right, relax, free your hips, open out your stride to the rear, just flow!

          It is strange, we work on and practise our (up)hill work but neglect to practise descending, it's just as important.

            What goes up must come down, right?


              What goes up must come down, right?


              Exactly, just somersault down the hill.

              Creator of RunForth@robraux |

              Professional Antagonist

                For what it's worth, running in either long runs or races can present a special challenge.  Landing on your forefoot when running downhill puts undo stress on your knees.  You'll typically feel it below your patella.  To prevent this, I use a side-stepping motion similar to a downhill skier.  I think I have a YouTube video of this... but am too lazy to find the link.


                This isn't really an issue for short runs and/or short races.

                Barefoot Running University- Jason's barefoot running site

                  Thanks for the advice. I'll keep practising and may be save the somersaulting technique for when I've got a little more experience.


                  It's interesting all the varying advice you can get from reading around a subject like this....I talking about published material. Some say land mid foot, others say land on the ball........I guess you just go with what works for you. In the meantime, I need to go practise but it's just started fricking snowing again.


                  Barefoot and happy

                    Downhill is definitely the hardest to learn.  But it can be learned, so hang in there.


                    All the practical advice above is good.  Keep your center of mass low, knees bent, fast turnover.

                    Curious about running barefoot? Visit the new barefoot running group.
                      I used the advice here and man it is so much better running down hill. Just lean into it and run. In fact, it was enjoyable running down hill.


                      Half Fanatic #846

                         I use a side-stepping motion similar to a downhill skier. 


                        I think this is one of the tenets of Chi Running and seems like it would work well on longer, steeper downhills.

                        "I don't always roll a joint, but when I do, it's usually my ankle" - unk.                          Run like the winded

                         I ran half my last race on my left foot!                   "Frankly autocorrect, I'm getting a bit tired of your shirt"


                          I'm good at this.  My running buddies - who can run nearly a minute / mile faster than me on flat terrain - can't even come close to catching me going downhill.  I learned how to do this in shoes, and it works just fine barefoot too.


                          I spread my feet shoulder width apart.  Then I lean forward, barely lift my feet, and propel myself forward by rocking my hips quickly.  Effectively, it is extremely fast, very short steps. It's not really running, and it looks ridiculous, but it sure is fast!