Barefoot Runners


VFF Question from newbie (Read 552 times)

    Hi Everyone, I have been running for about 3 years and have been maintaining a 25-30 mpw base.  I've been moderately injured three times during this period (1xachilles when i started and 2xsciatica attacks).  In addition I keep getting ankle pain frequently.

    The pain was worse in work shoes but less at home when I was barefoot (In India we are usually barefoot at home).  I ordered a pair of VFF and have been very surprised by the results. I am much faster with relatively less effort and my ankle pain is significantly less.  While the calf is a little tight I feel i could quite easily do a 10 miler in these shoes except for the ends of my toes.  

    My questions are:

    1. Is this a typical experience of people on this forum ?

    2. I am considering using Nike Frees in addition to VFF and transitioning away from my current shoes (asics kayano and NB 1225).  I have very flat feet. In my eagerness to switch I don't want to end up causing long term damage. What should be my approach?

    Thanks for the inputs. 


      1. Yes. Calf and soleus pain is very common for barefoot/Vibram transitioning.  It could take somewhere between a few weeks to a few months to get used to it.


      2. About this question: I want you to know that there are thousands of theories on this one. 

      I will give you mine:  If you are serious about one day only running barefoot/or with Vibrams - just ditch the shoes all together.  Just run barefoot or with Vibrams and pretend like you are a first time runner all over again.  You will have to lower your mpw in order to transition well.  Give it plenty of time and you will become strong in the long run. 


      There is a possibility of some injury - servere calf/soleus pain and sometimes metatarsal stress fractures.  But if you take it slow and easy and try not to get too excited and run a barefoot marathon only after 2 months of barefoot running- then you will be just fine.




      I have flat feet too.  I gave myself one year to go from marathon ready in shoes to barefoot marathon ready and I didnt have any problems at all.  My feet actually became less flat overtime!

      The right path is my path.
        Thanks. I am doing 1-2 runs per week out of 5 using VFFs.  Have gradually stepped it up to 5 miles per run and it doesn't seem to bad.  Since I am not training for anything in particular, I will incrementally replace runs with my regular shoes with VFFs and see how it goes.


          My advice is, if you're a heel striker in shoes, ditch the shoes completely. Since you're not training for anything currently, ease into your desired method of running completely.

          Immersion therapy at its best. I've written about my take on this more in depth here if you are interested.

          Glad to hear your ankles are feeling better!

          Creator of RunForth@robraux |