Barefoot Runners


Introductions (Read 1533 times)


Barefoot and happy

    I started this group because I've been getting a lot of questions lately about barefoot running and nearly-barefoot running (i.e. shoes like Vibram FiveFingers). I started running barefoot about 18 months ago and have never felt better. At this point I do about half my miles barefoot and half in FiveFingers. My latest race was a 3:05 at the Baystate Marathon in the FiveFingers. I'm going to race Boston in 2009 and I would love to do it barefoot, but that will depend on whether I manage to keep my soles well-trained through the winter.
    Curious about running barefoot? Visit the new barefoot running group.
      Great to have the group done. I will share some articles and links that I find interesting and entertaining. Maybe we can make a sticky for these, but for now this topic shall do. 2 articles about barefooting: Barefoot Running: A Natural Step for the Endurance Athlete by Dennis G. Driscoll Why Shoes Make “Normal” Gait Impossible by William A. Rossi, D.P.M. Links: (here are photos from coolest shoes you can find Wink) (Dr. Maffetone's site. Check his articles, free registration required) Just for the start Blush


        One of my buddies did Boston in Vibrams either this year or last year. I went barefoot everywhere as a kid, loved being able to walk on anything. In high school I got away from it, and in college did a fair amount after workouts in the form of striders and games like ultimate frisbee, but no formal barefoot running. A few years ago I was getting back into it, until I ran barefoot at a local park and my feet got so fleabitten that I gave it up for 2 years. This Summer I got a pair of Vibrams that I work in now and again (1 or 2 times per week usually, both trail and road.) I haven't done any actual barefoot running this year other than the last 5 miles of my 20 miler last Saturday (my shoes were wet and my toes weren't liking that since they were my trail shoes that don't drain very well) but I'm planning on incorporating more into next Summer's training.

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


          Not sure if I'm ready to barefoot (winter is coming soon to this neck of the woods) but I ordered my first set of vibrams yesterday. I've been running in minimal shoes and thought it would be the next logical step. Great links and look forward to learning some tips and tricks from the more experieinced minimalists around here.

          "He conquers who endures" - Persius
          "Every workout should have a purpose. Every purpose should link back to achieving a training objective." - Spaniel

            Ed's report inspired me to run barefoot or stocking-foot on my treadmill last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I was having hip pain, which usually means I need to change sneakers. I only ran 10 minutes (one mile) each time. Friday I ran barefoot. However, the bottoms of my feet ended up with black particles. Also the sound of my bare feet slapping against the treadmill was much louder than with sneakers. My wife described it as sounding like a hammer striking the treadmill. Saturday I ran in stockings to lessen the sound and avoid the particles on my feet. However, at the end of the 10 minutes, I felt blisters forming on my big left toe, and the right side of my heel on my right foot. Sunday I went back to bare feet. The hip pain went away, just as it does when I get a new pair of sneakers. I bought a new pair of sneakers. I worry about running outside in bare feet - glass, rocks, etc, and cannot imagine running barefoot in winter.
              I started experimenting with barefoot running in Feb-08. (inspired by Ed4) I was dealing with PF and some minor knee issues and thought it might help. I'm currently training for a Marathon and have been able to more than double the mileage that I used to be able to handle. I changed some other things in my training also but I definitely think that BF running has helped. Want to continue to with BF running and stay injury free.

              Oh Mighty Wing

                hi! I'm just here because I'm interested in this. Of course now it's cold and running outside won't happen, but maybe I can try the treadmill thing - do socks count as barefeet? I look forward to reading about this and hearing about how to incorporate it!

                Barefoot and happy

                  Yeah, starting in the fall is probably tough. I started in late summer, and by the time it started getting cold I really wasn't very well-adapted yet. Back then any temperature in the low 40s would risk me losing circulation in my cold feet. I ran through the winter in aqua socks or dive booties. Still looking for some footwear I really like in the cold. I just tried some very light racing flats, but they're too narrow for me. This year I think my cold tolerance is actually much better, after spending so much time barefoot. This morning I did a run in FiveFingers at 37 degrees, and I was fine. My feet now stay pink and well-circulating, and I can tell they're not in any danger. We'll see how low I can go.
                  Curious about running barefoot? Visit the new barefoot running group.

                    going minimalist, saved me from 2 decades of injuury - achiles/heels, so finaly I can keep some decent program, combining running and racewalking and ultrawalking. starting with Nike Frees, but lately I find them too cusioning and teh feet too high of the ground. In cold weather I use Dunlop Volleys, great shoe, which was good for half the century, so must be good now. About 50% of volume I do in AQUASOCKS - these are teh cheapest possible beach slippers, some of them thinner than 5 fingers, more expensive from surfing shops. 5 fingers I save for special occassions - the cost. Occasionaly I use thin racing flats, prefer Loco Bandidos and old KT26. I was inspired by free ebok by Gordon Pirie
                      Hi, all. I've been a really slow heel-striker (with thick shoes) since I started running. Two weeks ago I tried running in my socks on the TM - and found that I had muscles in my feet I never even knew existed! Earlier this week, I tried running in my shoes while imagining that I was barefoot... and found I switched over to midfoot striking. It also felt lighter and easier... a happy thing! Big grin I'm going to try practicing imagining I'm running barefoot for a while longer, since I've been in shoes my whole life. After that becomes natural? Who knows...

                      Roads were made for journeys...

                      50 halfs by age 50

                        Hey everyone! I ALWAYS went barefoot until I started running. As a runner (this is my 4th year), I've had a lot of foot problems, mostly PF. Seems now I can't even walk on our tile floors without some discomfort. I am a little nervous about trying the barefoot thing since I've become used to running with orthotics and cushioning. Giving it a whirl on the TM first sounds like a great idea! I am fortunate to live near the beach so I can also try some soft sand running to see if that helps.

                        *Mel* //  "A lot of people run a race to see who's the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts." - Steve Prefontaine


                          I grew up in a warm climate and was ALWAYS barefoot. I could run and play stepping and climbing on anything. My feet have wussed out over the years as I moved to colder areas. I would love to toughen my feet back up again and try this type of running. I also live by the beach, so I could try this and the dreadmill first. Big grin
                            I joined because I've been interested in this for a while. Probably wait til after the new year before I attempt any barefooting, though.


                              I started running a couple of months ago, and like most newbies, I listened to the guy at the shoe store and purchased a shiny pair of highly cushioned running shoes. After doing some reading and research, I stumbled upon information on minimalist and barefoot running, and it all made a lot of sense to me. I think that this is something that I slowly want to transition to. However, I don't think that I will be able to jump right into BF, as winter is quickly approaching. I was thinking more along the lines of switching to racing flats or similar flat shoes, maybe getting some aquasocks, and then eventually, run barefoot if possible. In order to start though, will I benefit from switching from a heel strike to a midfoot strike running technique with my current running shoes? Are there any good books or guides out there on running technique? Does Chi Running apply? I thought this would be a good way to prepare the foot and leg muscles until I can find something a little more minimal. I tried this over a couple of blocks a few days ago and my calves are still sore! This will be a long transition methinks.

                                G’day, I’m glad to find this forum. I took up barefoot running about 14 months back while in Iraq (it was a challenge to find safe places to run) and since returning to Australia have continued training on both track and road. Like most heel-strikers, when I first went barefoot, I suffered a lot of calf pain as the muscles adjusted to the new way of running. It took me a couple of months, but I now comfortably run barefoot. Similarly, when I first started, my technique was poor and it resulted in lots of blood blisters under the balls of the feet. As my technique improved, the blood blisters stopped – my feet didn’t get tougher. It is staggering how much shoes both hide and encourage poor technique. After not wearing spikes at the track for over 12months, I wore a pair last week and found no significant difference in my speed. I must however report that they were hot and sweaty (this is the start of our Summer), and not at all comfortable. I suspect that if the sprints were my main events, the spikes would give me an edge over barefooters, but my focus is on the 1500m/Mile so I think I’ll remain unshod. I recommend road and pavement running rather than grass. The hardness of the surface is not an issue if you run with good technique. The problem with grass is that you can’t see glass, little rocks and sticks very easily. Give me a cement footpath (sidewalk) any day. I am not a total troglodyte, I own a pair of vibram five-fingers, but reserve them for when I run at night or cross-country. The best source of information on running barefoot I have found is Happy running.
                                2009 Goals:
                                Run 6:30 mile (or 6:01 1500m or 10:10 2.4k).
                                Run 6:15 mile (or 5:48 1500m or 9:45 2.4k).
                                Run 6:00 mile (or 5:33 1500m or 9:20 2.4k).
                                Run 5:45 mile (or 5:18 1500m or 8:55 2.4k).
                                2010 Goals:
                                Run 5:30 mile (or 5:05 1500m or 8:30 2.4k).
                                Run 5:15 mile (or 4:54 1500m or 8:10 2.4k).
                                Run a 5 minute mile (or 4:37 1500m or 7:45 2.4k) before 50th birthday (Nov).