Barefoot Runners


new to group, first "adult" barefoot run (Read 457 times)


    Hello All,

       I completed my first barefoot run on Sunday,7/21. I probably went to far. But since overtraining is my greatest vice it's understandable. I was scheduled to run 3 miles that day so I decided to ditch the shoes. 

       There is a softball complex near me with a circular outer fence that is almost exactly 1/2mi. The grass was very nice and soft with only a few asphalt or dirt paths entering the complex. It felt great. I went at a very easy pace, 10:24/mi. It felt so easy I saw no reason not to finish the 3 miles that were planned. I didn't notice until after that I had blisters on the two toes next to the big toe on each foot. And later that day my calves were really sore. I took care of the blisters and they healed that day. The calves however are still sore. 

       I am planning to run barefoot once weekly to build up to my calves. Obviously not 3 miles again. Maybe 2 a week until the calves don't become sore. I am also trying to run more on the balls of my feet when in my shoes to build up the calves. 

    "Thanks" to everyone in the forum, the info is very helpful.

      I was half-way through your post and I was already thinking I was going to reply "you're really going to feel that in your calves tomorrow".  But obviously your calves didn't wait for tomorrow.  congrats on the first BF.  I am currently in my second week and slowly working my way up in distance.  I did .7 miles today.  My calves are much stronger already just after 2 weeks, now I just have to get my form down enough so that I prevent the toe blisters.

           I was surprised that I had blisters on my toes since I was running on grass. I didn't even notice them until I stopped. Are the toe blisters caused by running too far up on the balls of your feet or is it just something that you must endure during the early stages of barefoot training. Either way they went away quickly so it shouldn't slow me down too much. 

           Thanks for the congrats, heffa47. It's nice to hear that others are enjoying the barefoot thing. Most people stare at you when they see you are running barefoot. It's almost as if they think you need to grow up and buy some shoes. The interesting thing was that while I was running around the softball complex I was getting funny looks from the same players who were winded after "running" to first base. I'd much rather run with naked toes than fit in.

        Half Fanatic #846

           Hi -

          I haven't posted in awhile - developed PF last summer and still trying to get over it, so I just started running again a short time ago.

           Most people stare at you when they see you are running barefoot. It's almost as if they think you need to grow up and buy some shoes.

           When I got up to 4 miles BF last spring, my neighbor sarcasticlly asked if someone stole my shoes, so I told him "yeah, and they took my lunch money too"!  


          I recall increasing BF mileage by just a quarter mile at a time (after starting at .25 mi) and feeling sore spots in my feet and calves that were different.  This time I'm increasing only .05 mile about every other day; will get to one mile in a couple of weeks more. I've run on a variety of surfaces, but got no blisters - so I'm lucky in that regard.


          Running on nice grass is the best - enjoy!!


          "I don't always roll a joint, but when I do, it's usually my ankle" - unk.               "Frankly autocorrect, 'm getting a bit tired of your shirt"             Run like the winded                I ran half my last race on my left foot!                 70-74 year old age group                  

            I'm no expert on the BF thing, but my understanding is that the toe blisters are usually caused by pushing off.  Your form should be more like riding a bicycle.  Your foot has to come up without pushing off the toes.  This will be very important if you switch to a harder surface.  It was recommended to me to learn to BF on a hard surface instead of grass so that you can feel if you are doing it wrong.

              It was recommended to me to learn to BF on a hard surface instead of grass so that you can feel if you are doing it wrong.


                 I'll try a harder surface next. There is a nice "trail" near me. It's an old rail line that was converted to asphalt for walking, running and biking. I've walked on it before during a cooldown after a shod run. The weird thing is that the parking lot is some strange kind of asphalt. It feels like walking on glass, really hurts your feet. I'll just have to watch where I park. Thanks for the advice.

                it could be glass. In Iraq I had to learn to build roads-it is this new recycled material. They use the normal concrete and or tar-and they mix it with crushed trash that is recyclable aka glass. That stuff also gets hot quicker from the recycled stuff and the petroleum base in the reflective tar.  But it sounds like you are tougher than me anyway you are going bangers longer and strongerSmile



                     Hey thanks for the info Ben. I've never heard of that type of asphalt before. Seems to me like a poor choice for a running, walking, biking area. Although I haven't seen any barefoot runners there, people are barefoot in the parking lot changing shoes, Ouch.

                     I appreciate the "tough" comment but I think that may only apply to my feet. I've always been barefoot whenever I can ever since I was a kid. My wife laughs at me every early spring when I start to "toughen up" my feet again. I will still occasionally climb a tree barefoot. Doing that will show you how flexible and strong your feet can be. Barefoot, you can stand on a medium size branch and balance without much effort. You can't do that with shoes on. I could be mistaken but I've never seen a chimpanzee sporting Nike Free's.


                    OK confession time. I just finished a 2 mile easy run in what may be considered flats, New Balance 790. I'm not sure if they are true “flats”, but I used them because of the thin heel so I could practice landing more on my forefoot, more like a barefoot stride, because when I run in my normal shoes, Asics Cumulus, I am either running way up on the balls of my feet or land flat-footed. Anyway after the 2 miles I ran .25 miles totally barefoot.

                       My confession is that my feet aren't as ready as I thought. After running 3 miles barefoot on grass last week I thought I needed to work on my calves, but that my feet may be close. Man was I wrong. I do still need to work on my calves, but running on the pavement is a whole different animal. I'm not giving up but I now know it will take me a lot longer than I thought.

                       You guys can go ahead with a group “I told you so” if you would like. Ed4 is right when he repeats in many different posts that you should just go barefoot on the pavement a little at a time and build up. You won't know where you're at until you hit the pavement. 

                       I humbly sign off with more respect for the pavement and for the barefoot accomplishments of everyone in the 

                    group. Hope I can catch up.


                    Barefoot and happy

                      Nice work!


                      Not all pavement is created equal.  If your first experience on pavement was really tough, you probably weren't on the smooth stuff.  Think freshly paved blacktop, or a pristine sidewalk.  Those kind of surfaces are perfect for a beginner.  Hard but smooth. 


                      Of course you eventually want to add increasingly rough and varied surfaces.  But there's no shame in starting out where it's easier. 

                      Curious about running barefoot? Visit the new barefoot running group.
                        Gomphus, I saw some ladies running that trail you are going to try yesterday. I was up by the baseSmile

                        Drop mr a note---I sent u a message we r neiighbors like 15 minutes away.

                        We can whine on these runs together.