Problems with Running Injuries? Try Barefoot Running!

Posted by on Sep 1, 2011 in Fitness | 1 comment

I first heard about barefoot running a few years ago. Even though I’d cut back on running injuries – a LOT – by embracing the tenets of Chi Running (which I’m a bit fan of), I still had issues with tight achilles tendons. So, I decided to find out a little more. I started by reading Born To Run – a very readable book in which the author goes in search of a near-mythic tribe of Mexican Indians famed for their running ability. Just reading about it made me want to try it out.

So, I gave it a try (wearing minimal footwear – my neighborhood doesn’t lend itself to running without a little foot-protection). And liked it. I would have to agree with the general recommendations to start out small – do a 10 minute barefoot run before your normal run, and gradually work up to one or two barefoot runs per week. Which is not to say that I did it that way. I started off with 3km runs, and worked up from there, and completely abandoned running with shoes because ‘barefoot’ felt so good.

Unfortunately, the winters here are long, cold, and snowy/icy… Not conducive to outdoor running at all, really – certainly not conducive to barefoot running. So once the snow falls, I’m pretty much down to bike-commuting and indoor workouts. The first runs this year were a little, well, painful – my calf muscles reminded me of why, exactly, it’s suggested that you start out small. But by my third run, the pain had disappeared, and I could just enjoy the running.

If you’re interested in trying it out – and I DO recommend it! – there are a number of websites devoted to Barefoot Running:

Even if you’re not a runner at the moment, you may find that ‘barefoot’ running is a lot easier to get started with – and more enjoyable to continue. At least until the weather changes.


Have you tried barefoot running?
What minimal shoes have you used?
Are you interested in giving it a shot?

One Comment

  1. A little while ago I moved in the direction of the minimal shoes and was advised of 2 things ; firstly to take it slow and easy to allow the muscles of the feet that had become weak and atrophied after years of bracing and supportive motion control shoes to strengthen; and secondly that the reality was if I expected to make the transition faster and safer that I should also be looking at what I was doing to my feet during my 9-to-5 when I wasn’t wearing minimal type shoes. I was advised to look at the biofeedback insole out there that will help activate and stimulate the foot’s muscles. By doing this 24/7 in whatever shoes I was wearing I was able to successfully make the transition quickly and safely. Also the product feels great in the minimal shoes as it simulates bringing the ground in direct contact with the sole of the foot. Even the minimal shoes do, to some extent, act as a sensory insulator. More retailers need to look at carrying the product as I could only find it on-line. The product was Barefoot Science, I’m not sure if there are others as this is pretty unique and patented.

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