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Barefoot Running Experiences

  1. Jun 23, 2010 #1
    I know there are at least 2 other threads on the science behind this, but is anyone here a dedicated barefoot runner?

    I run about 50 miles a week right now, and today I went for my first barefoot run. I ran a 30 minute route that took me on grass, concrete and 1 mile around a track.

    As weird as it sounds, it felt natural after only 2 minutes. I sure could feel it in my calves after words, and it really made me focus on my technique. But I was surprised to find the terrain didn't really matter. I could run pretty quick on grass and on the track, but I had a good pace going on concrete too, which I was expecting to hurt. I am striking with the forefront of my foot and not the heel which came natural instantly.

    I didn't get any blisters, and my feet feel fine.

    I am still going to wear shoes for a lot of my runs, but I am going to start including a lot more barefoots in my routine as well.

    Any other runners try this? If not, I really suggest trying it. I got a lot of weird looks from people walking and driving by.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2010 #2
    I would only do it on grass; concrete is too rough. But I still wouldn't do it because I don't want to sever my foot on some glass. I just run five miles per week and I have to do it in the road since where I live grass is an endangered species.
  4. Jun 23, 2010 #3
    The park I go to run has dark asphalt track and so it's scorching hot in the summer when the sun is up. The grass is always overgrown, there is lots of rocks, and possibly pieces of glass lying around. I wouldn't run barefoot there.

    But I did hiked barefoot when I got my shoes soaked wet in a creek. Instead of waiting until they dry, I went on for the next few miles without them over rocks, branches, and dirt. The difficult part was descending down hill trying to maintaining balance, but overall it was great.
  5. Jun 23, 2010 #4
    If you are going to run on concrete then you will have to do it before the sun heats it up too much.

    After I get a couple more runs under my belt I am going to time myself for a mile and a 5k and see how the times compare when I am barefoot to when I have shoes on.

    But I thought concrete was going to be tough to run on barefoot but it really wasn't. It just made me use my calves a lot more. If you hit your heels on concrete its going to hurt bad.
  6. Jun 23, 2010 #5
    Don't ever try to run on gravel though, hurts a ton.
  7. Jun 23, 2010 #6


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    Be careful! I ran X-country all through HS, and I used very light canvas running shoes with almost zero support and thin soles (1960s). By the time I was about 35 the degradation in the cartilage in my knees was bad enough that I had surgeries on both of them. In one case, enough cartilage had to be removed (because it was split and shredding) that much of the joint is bone-on-bone. Properly-fitted running shoes with decent support do more than just protect your feet - they also help distribute the forces from repeated impacts to protect your joints.
  8. Jun 23, 2010 #7


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    I know these are becoming pretty popular. I checked them out, but never picked up a pair.

    http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/" [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Jun 23, 2010 #8
    Very true
  10. Jun 23, 2010 #9


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    Unfortunately, I was "indestructible" when I was a teenager. I ran the X-country course (2.5 miles) twice every night after school, then ran the 3 miles home - no late buses. Combine that with X-country skiing, Slalom and GS ski racing, jumping, and running moguls, and working ski patrol every weekend all winter, and I was pounding my knees to death. Wish I'd known about repetitive-stress injuries 40 years ago.
  11. Jun 23, 2010 #10
    Well I have never had any injury whatsoever in my 11 years of running so far.

    However I hear that shoes that are supposed to mimic barefoot running are actually the worse thing you can have on your feet.

    I know when I am wearing shoes and I start to fatigue, I start to rely on them to give me some push back thus putting strain in some part of my legs, especially when the shoes start to wear down.

    Going barefoot forced me to keep perfect technique even when my legs started to fatigue, otherwise I would have hit the ground way to hard.
  12. Jun 23, 2010 #11


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    Well, good luck, willrr1. I never perceived any injury from running, either, but the long-term wear and tear caught up with me.

    Have you ever attended a running clinic operated by an outfit like New Balance? Having a pro evaluate your stride and recommend shoes designed for your stride can help protect your joints.
  13. Jun 23, 2010 #12


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    I don't think it's very good for your arches, either, if you're running a lot of miles.

    When I was in high school, I bruised my left heel on that cruddy cinder track we had, kept running, strained something in the top of my right foot on a run the morning after a cold night meet. Then continued to run on counterclockwise track when it hurt to land on my left heel and my right foot was too weak to stay up on my toes for that long. After a while, I started having problems with my knees.

    Running a race barefoot - who cares? They don't last that long. Working out every single day barefoot is going to cause you problems. You need some good foot support for that kind of beating.
  14. Jun 23, 2010 #13
    I'm definitely not going to work out every day barefoot. I might start throwing down a barefoot run maybe once a week. I've ran through an injury once before, ended up out of commission for over 2 months, and I'll never do it again.

    One reason I really enjoyed it is because I felt so light on my feet. Fox-like. I made absolutely no sound.
  15. Jun 23, 2010 #14
    I have done this. These days I usually just buy cheaper shoes (last years model) at an outlet store. I have never had a problem with any shoe I have ever worn. And after I break them in they all feel the same anyways. And this is after some mega mileage that I don't run anymore.
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