Barefoot Runners


Barefoot NOOB (Read 951 times)

under a rock

    I've been thinking for a long time about trying barefoot running. I am constantly battling my IT band. I have done everything I've been told (stretching, motion control, stability, strengthening, icing, ITB strap)  the only thing I haven't tried are orthotics. Recently during my first half marathon my IT band flared up. I managed to finish without any impact on my time but it was frustrating and painful.


    I decided that after a week off I would try barefoot running to see if I can strengthen my feet in hopes that I may correct my form enough to get my IT band to stay happy. I know I'm a heel striker and my left heel gets it the worst. I started with .25 on a soccer field and did a second yesterday on my neighborhood street. I was surprised I liked the asphalt better. My IT band is still a bit inflamed so I figured this is the best time to start since I can only run very short anyway before I feel twinges in my IT band.


    Are there any other IT band sufferers that have found that barefoot running has helped solve their problems?

      Yes.  When I used to wear shoes IT band pain was about the only injury I ever had.  It was bad especially after marathons for a few weeks.


      I got into barefoot running and gave myself a FULL year to transition. 


      The lower milage gave my IT band a chance to heal and the different running mechanics from being barefoot (or with Vibrams) never re-injured my IT band. 


      I have ran two marathons since goin bare and I did not have any IT pain at all!


      Now because of this empirical data, I would say that barefoot or minimalistic shoe running will do wonders for people with IT band issues. 


      But research that has a N=1 can not yeild a great correlation to the general population! 


      You have to consider all the different things that could cause IT band pain.  In my case it was most likely running in big ol' cushionly shoes that forced my lateral thigh to have to absorb impact.


      Your case may be different.  Some variables such as your Q-angle (angle between the thigh and the knee) may cause problems no matter what you wear or dont wear.


      Barefoot running is certainly worth a shot.  Unfortunatly by "shot" I mean a full year of testing it out.  lol

      The right path is my path.


        Great post Adam.

        I had IT band issues as well - and like Adam gave myself a full year to transition. It sounds like a lot but if you are getting injured it is worth looking at the bigger picture and taking the time to do it right.

        I've done very little genuine barefoot running (although I want to do more this summer) but started out in aqua shoes and moved to Vibrams, kept the early mileage low and built bit by bit, month by month. It helps to have a plan and stick to it.

        Finally, agreeing with Adam once more, it is worth a shot!


        Barefoot and happy

          My story is pretty much the same as Adam's. 


          IT band issues were what drove me to try to learn to run better, and ultimately led to running barefoot.


          They've been fine ever since. 

          Curious about running barefoot? Visit the new barefoot running group.

          under a rock

            Wow, what great responses. This gives me hope that I just may be able to solve my IT band woes with barefoot running. I know it will take time to get used to barefoot but I am good at being patient. Tomorrow will be day three of going barefoot and I'm looking forward to it.

              Hi Folks - My MAT therapist (that's not his web site) has encouraged me to try barefoot running, or at least minimalist shoe running to start.  I've ordered a pair of Nike Frees and am awaiting their arrival.  My main problem is low back/sciatica.


              I understand there's a transition period from whatever running shoes I am currently wearing to BF.  Could any of you give an idea of how to approach this?  He wants me to do my 3-mile recovery runs BF/minimalist, but I would think that kind of mileage right off the bat is asking for trouble.


              I have been walking around barefoot as much as possible for the last month or so.  Once I get the Frees, there is a park nearby where I could go in the mornings to get some of my recovery miles done, either before or after running a portion of the mileage in my regular shoes.




              PS - Hi runslikeagirl!  I'm following you!

              Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain


              Trail Runner Nation


              2018: Mendocino Coast 50k - April 21

              under a rock

                Hey there! Good to see you in here. Looks like we will be starting on this journey together. I'll have to keep track of your progress.

                Bacon Party!

                  I've been using Frees for almost all of my road mileage. Didn't need a transition to them - they're really not that minimalist (but quite light and flexible - freeing, you might say).


                  I've otherwise been doing just a couple miles at a time barefoot. I find this does wonders to refine and refresh my form (so that it transfers - more or less - to my shod running).


                  Same goes for the VFFs on pavement - just a few miles at a time. (Learned the hard way when I got a "knife in my calf" on perhaps my third road run in VFFs - took a few weeks to recover, and I've since backed off the "barefoot" mileage.)


                  However, I have had no problem using the VFFs for as long as I care to on trails (real trails, not rail trails). I've found they slow me down to go-forever pace and are just a hoot to prowl the woods in.


                  BTW - to build strength, I've been wearing my VFFs just about everywhere (including to work most every day) since I got them in October. If I can't be barefoot, I'm in the VFFs.


                  pace sera, sera