Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Barefoot walking.....

In previous posts about running shoes I came to the conclusion that shoes should be as simple as possible to avoid interfering with the natural "barefoot" style of walking/running, the gait which we naturally adopt when unencumbered by shoes.

There was an interesting article in the Guardian the other day about walking barefoot:

Get your socks off - Walking barefoot over different types of terrain is said to be beneficial to one's health. To test the theory, Alice Wignall braves the Barfuss trail - mudbath and all

Running barefoot has some interesting material too.


Stephan said...

I love walking barefoot; I do it almost every day when the weather's nice. I live in a city and I've never cut my feet on glass.

Foot injuries, athlete's foot, deformed toes, hammer toes, are all problems that can be due to shoes. I'm with you on the minimalist approach. HGs often wore either thin-soled leather shoes to protect from abrasion, or nothing.

I backpack and sprint in a pair of inov8s, the lightest I could find. I actually wish they were even more minimal to be honest.

Bob said...

I think you can add ingrown toenails to the list of shoe-caused maladies.

Chris said...

That is interesting Stephan, I use innov8's too.

Dave Clary said...

If you're really looking to go minimalist, you can't get any closer to Vibram FiveFingers.

Dr. Fryer said...

You can also try and get your hands on a pair of VivoBarefoots. I love my pair and wear them whenever I can.

Stephan said...

I looked at the FiveFingers website, but my big toes are too big for them!

They need to make a special edition for people with prehensile big toes.

Debs said...

Another barefoot fan here. It feels natural, and a way to be more present.

Also, the palms and feet have a lot of nerve endings because they're what we use to interact with the world in a tactile way. There's a reason animals lack fur on their feet and palms. Our brains take in information from our surroundings from what we touch, and walking is part of that.

(Stephan, they need to make a tree-climbing edition for people with prehensile toes.)

Food Is Love

barefootrunner said...

There is a fresh new alternative coming soon. Skora footwear (see ) will 'bridge the gap' between barefoot and shoes by means of a simple transition philosophy all the while in a design that is appealing and natural.

cecilia said...

I would not advise people to run long-distances in Vibram Fivefingers or bare feet. Most people benefit from wearing supportive footwear to get the best knee/ankle/hip alignment.

Bare feet are a very sensible choice for "circuit training" or "crossfit" type activities. Anything involving jumping, squatting, short-sprints etc. on an indoor sports-hall surface or outside on grass. Barefoot training enables greater balance, flexibility and better alignment for the above exercises. I recommend that people do not wear shoes for this type of exercise class. If gyms have a problem with this they need only ask a podiatrist ! Some people are embarrassed to train without shoes but they should not be.

Do NOT have bare-feet for long-distance road running though. It will lead to sports injuries in most people- despite what you might read on the Internet.

willvis said...

I have been walking and running barefoot for about a month. My achilles tendon finally does not hurt after I run and every morning when I get out of bed. I am a 45 year old man who has been running since I was 8 years old. If you are going to run in shoes, do not run in shoes with a built up heel. It will force you to run on your heels and I feel very confident in saying that running on your heels will mess up your body.

Cecilia, with all due respect, I'm not sure what you are basing your warning on.

here's what I do: I go out barefoot, and I carry some thin-soled water shoes with me. If the going gets iffy, if the pavement gets hot, if I get uncomfortable, I put on the shoes. But the funny thing is, if the pavement isn't hot, I rarely ever reach for the shoes.

I ran track, cross country and road races year round from age 8 to 18 and have continued running 3-7 days a week since then.

Running barefoot for the past month has left me with no knee pain, no achilles tendon pain, less ankle pain, no back pain.

i have gone from a size 11 1/2 to a size 10 1/2, i presume because my arch has gotten a bit higher from the newly gained foot strength from going barefoot.

I am a convert. My feet were created to support my body. I am no daredevil. I don't like pain. I am not a 'tough guy'. I just love to run and walk, and the barefoot option, so far, has been very beneficial.

See you on the streets of Nashville, barefoot.

Anonymous said...

I walk barefoot off roads between april and october- probably walk about 20 miles a week without shoes- half of my total leisure walking. I haven't yet had an injury and it seems to be a sure cure for occasional back problems brought on by too much gardening. The rest of the year I walk in Birkenstocks or crocs- only wear boots when it snows! I feel that I wear away the cliff paths less than those who wear hiking boots- good for the environment.

Anonymous said...

I've been running since I was about 14 & love it. I started walking/hiking/running barefoot in college and have been going barefoot as often as possible since. I lived all the ice-free months shoeless (except for work) and even did some snow hiking/walking barefoot (gotta watch for frostbite). Since moving to FL 10 years ago I go about 9 hrs a day (the time to get to & from work and work) with shoes and the rest no shoes. I love the feel of the different surfaces and the changes in their temperatures. A few years back I even had a girl friend who started hiking barefoot after we hiked together & her feet & legs got sore in hiking boots while I was barefoot & pain free. And there is nothing prettier than a girl baefoot.

Anonymous said...

aaahhhh the quietness & piece of an early morning walks or run shoeless. Just can't be done in shoes or sneakers.

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