Author Topic: Barefoot Running  (Read 3997 times)

DoubleDown

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Barefoot Running
« on: November 16, 2012, 11:41:19 AM »
Any MMM runners out there? If you haven't already discovered barefoot running, it's time to try it! I took it up about 4 years ago and will never go back to running in shoes. You'll never have to buy another expensive pair of running shoes again! Google 'barefoot running' or 'born to run' on the web and you'll get all the info you need to know:

- It greatly improves your running experience and form
- Typical running injuries disappear (my prior knee problems did)
- No shoes to buy
- It's easy: just get up and go, no shoes to lace up, or stinky socks and shoes to deal with
- Your feet and lower calves will be stronger than ever before (my feet dropped one full size or more from my arch raising as my feet got stronger)

And forget the Vibrams 5 Fingers or other "minimalist" shoes -- you don't need them, just use your bare feet!
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grantmeaname

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2012, 12:01:52 PM »
Here's the prior discussion on the topic.

I don't run, but I do walk like 10 miles a week, so that counts for something. I was mostly barefoot for a long time, but I've got something weird going on with my knees that I need to figure out. Oh, and it's really freaking cold in the winter (it does that every year, so it's not like I'm surprised).

DoubleDown

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2012, 12:16:06 PM »
Here's the prior discussion on the topic.

I don't run, but I do walk like 10 miles a week, so that counts for something. I was mostly barefoot for a long time, but I've got something weird going on with my knees that I need to figure out. Oh, and it's really freaking cold in the winter (it does that every year, so it's not like I'm surprised).

I should have known you would be a barefoot walker/runner. I've been impressed with you on this board already, you have much wisdom beyond your reported 20 years!

Thanks for the link to the previous topic, sorry I missed it before posting on it again.
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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2012, 12:43:20 PM »
I hate running, but have worn "barefoot" style shoes 100% for the last 3 years. Does that count?
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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2012, 06:48:16 PM »
Mrs. Pop runs with vibram 5 fingers, hasn't made the leap to barefoot because of road hazards. She usually runs 3 times a week for 10 miles, and one long run of about 22 on Sunday. She had arch problems previously, but no issues with the Vibrams. Unscientific, but they work for her.

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Russ

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2012, 07:53:47 PM »
I picked up barefooting from Grant a couple of years ago. On good-weather days now, the only shoes i wear voluntarily are my cycling shoes for riding bikes and my steel-toe boots for work and the occasional class. I've only run up to five miles or so barefoot, but that's more because I prefer cycling over running than because of any foot problems. No shoes are the best shoes!

grantmeaname

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2012, 08:04:58 PM »
Unscientific, but they work for her.
This is really the key. Even if you participate in a totally unmustachian sport that requires a thousand dollars worth of equipment (ahem... cycling), the health benefits you reap from being active and involved are so much more than the cost of entry. If what it takes is $50 of shoes to get you running, it's hard to begrudge that to anyone.

Jaherman99

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2012, 10:58:21 AM »
I've been running in vivo barefoot shoes for about 5 weeks, doing about 15 miles a week.  I'm already feeling much better and am noticing increased fitness. 

Question, how long from when you start as a running noob do the aches and muscle soreness go away?  It's minor, but I always feel like I'm hitting a limit after 1/2 hour or so...
« Last Edit: November 17, 2012, 10:59:55 AM by Jaherman99 »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2012, 03:06:55 PM »
In my (limited) experience, running barefoot is something that I enjoyed doing most in the middle of a reps session. Doing diagonals without shoes on the grass field at the running track was fun, and it somehow made me more aware of my stride.

I have also owned a pair of nike frees and absolutely loved them, long after the initial 1000 miles, a which point they were turned into weight-lifting shoes.

Gradual adaptation is key: back then I was running anywhere from 25 to 50 miles a week, but never more than 5-10 miles barefoot/with the frees. Don't be a hero.

mm1970

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2012, 05:22:29 PM »
I love my vibrams.  I'm not willing to deal with the road hazards.  I had major knee and hip issues with regular shoes that disappeared with vibrams.  Though I haven't been doing distance.

I haven't put them back on since I had the baby.  Mid-pregnancy, I had to stop wearing them because of foot issues (too much weight, not enough cushion).  Might have to try again when I lose a few more pounds.

DoubleDown

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2012, 09:19:43 AM »
I've been running in vivo barefoot shoes for about 5 weeks, doing about 15 miles a week.  I'm already feeling much better and am noticing increased fitness. 

Question, how long from when you start as a running noob do the aches and muscle soreness go away?  It's minor, but I always feel like I'm hitting a limit after 1/2 hour or so...

As Paul der Krake said, gradual adaptation is the key. If you're running 3-4 times a week at the same distance and speed, any soreness should go away after a couple of weeks. A good general rule is to add about 10% distance per week as a limit. But no doubt, when you switch from shoes to barefoot, or from not running at all to running, you will feel it in soreness from muscles you never used before.

I love my vibrams.  I'm not willing to deal with the road hazards. 

FWIW - once your feet get toughened up, there's really no such thing as a road hazard. I keep my eyes open, but I can run across broken glass or similar things and it's not an issue. Your feet get the same toughness and surface softness as smooth, leather moccasins. I suppose a nail pointing straight up could be a problem, but that would be a problem in shoes too. And I don't recall ever encountering a hazard like that. But good for you no matter what in running and overcoming the hip issues!

I found it took me about 8 weeks for my feet to get toughened up to the point where I could run 3-4 miles on asphalt or dirt/gravel. After that I gradually increased to where they can take about whatever distance the rest of my fitness level can handle.

I hate running, but have worn "barefoot" style shoes 100% for the last 3 years. Does that count?

Isn't that an oxymoron, barefoot style shoes??? :-)
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JoshuaSpodek

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2012, 04:33:06 PM »
Switched to vivo barefoots after five marathons in regular shoes and I'm never going back.

I've only run a few half-marathons in them. No more back pain. No more shoulder pain. Simpler equipment.

I paid about $50 for the shoes, now about two years old with maybe a couple hundred miles on them. Still going strong.

Read about my mom, who ran her first marathon ever after never running more than 5k at a time

... at 66 years old

Here's the link: http://joshuaspodek.com/redefining_possibility

She ran that marathon in vivo barefoots after hurting her leg in regular running shoes. She still runs in them, pushing 70 now.

DoubleDown

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2012, 09:26:12 AM »
Awesome stories about you and your mom, Joshua! I have not yet run any marathons, you guys rock!

Since you and your mom are already running in the "minimalist" shoes, I imagine you would find the transition to completely barefoot to be really easy. Just a matter of getting the soles of your feet toughened up, which you can do in a matter of weeks.

I really do advocate everyone giving it a try. Feeling the actual ground on your feet is neat, it just makes you more in tune with the land you're running on. And I like that my feet are tough enough to go anywhere. I think you actually do even fine tune your running style, since in the minimalist shoes you can still maybe "get away with" not having to completely adapt to your running surface. And you won't have to worry about your shoes wearing out, barefoot is free for the rest of your lives.

I hear people say the main reason they don't want to go completely barefoot is that they are concerned about hazards. But I've gone thousands of miles and have NEVER had a problem. My worst "hazard" or injury after 4 years was a tiny splinter in a toe which I promptly removed with some tweezers, and problem solved. I get splinters in my hands occasionally, too, but that hasn't made me go around wearing gloves everywhere!
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Ozstache

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2012, 06:14:49 PM »
Went for a walk with my dog last night sans shoes to see what it was like. Even though I didn't go very far and the road surface was quite benign, I was surprised at how sensitive and later sore my feet were for the experience.  Rather than be deterred,I am ashamed that I have let my feet get so precious and am now determined to toughen them up a lot more by doing walks like this.

DoubleDown

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2012, 08:47:41 AM »
Went for a walk with my dog last night sans shoes to see what it was like. Even though I didn't go very far and the road surface was quite benign, I was surprised at how sensitive and later sore my feet were for the experience.  Rather than be deterred,I am ashamed that I have let my feet get so precious and am now determined to toughen them up a lot more by doing walks like this.

That's excellent! You're doing it just right starting out walking distances that aren't too long. Yeah before I started running barefoot, my feet were so babied a 25 foot trip down the concrete driveway to retrieve the newspaper would have me acting like I was walking on hot coals the whole way. Pretty pathetic.

I envy you heading into summer where you live! Keep it up!
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nikhilm

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2012, 10:51:56 PM »
I don't think I will ever go truly barefoot because I don't like my feet getting dirty, but I've been running upto 10 miles in vibrams for a few months now, and recently switched to wearing Speeds on weekdays.

Always having worn flat sandals or thin soled shoes before meant that adjusting to vibrams was very easy.

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2012, 12:10:04 AM »
I've had peripheral neuropathy in my feet that has pretty much gone away, but my feet still seem to be a little sensitive. However, I've found just running in a thick pair of cotton socks works well in dry weather. The "barefoot" running shoes that soft star shoes sell look a little tempting, but I haven't been moved to buy any yet.

I have flat feet and I've had terrible shin splints when running since a kid until I tried the barefoot route. So I'm pretty hooked on it, whether it's scientific or not.

Ozstache

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2012, 03:23:58 AM »
That's excellent! You're doing it just right starting out walking distances that aren't too long. Yeah before I started running barefoot, my feet were so babied a 25 foot trip down the concrete driveway to retrieve the newspaper would have me acting like I was walking on hot coals the whole way. Pretty pathetic.

I envy you heading into summer where you live! Keep it up!

Thanks for the encouragement. I've been for a few barefoot walks since and each time it gets less painful. Today, I even broke into a short run on bitumen to see how I would fare and it went great - no pain at all. My dog is not happy though. She's a beagle cross and running means less sniffs per kilometer compared to walking ;-)

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2012, 06:24:08 AM »
Do you barefoot runners do your naked feet thing when and where it's cold?  What's that like?

Russ

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2012, 07:20:21 AM »
Do you barefoot runners do your naked feet thing when and where it's cold?  What's that like?
If it's dry, sure, for running at least. It's just like any other muscle group - stiff at first in the cold but you loosen up as you get going. Once you're warmed up, it's not that much colder than running with shoes. Walking gets real cold real quick though, since you have more contact with the ground and less self-warming from the exercise.

snellbert

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2012, 09:52:57 AM »
I've been running barefoot for about 10 years (quite by accident-- I had been playing soccer and after the game, I wanted to go for a run around the rubber track surrounding the field. I had no running shoes and couldn't run on the track in cleats, so I just went sans shoes.) 

As previously mentioned, it does take some getting used to-- not only because your skin isn't used to it, but because barefoot running is a lot about FORM. If you run on your heals, you're in for some Ouch. Being conscious of your body/form is important in order to get the most out of it.

The 'hazards' aren't really an issue-- when you're running barefoot, you begin to watch where you're going, and it becomes second nature to avoid anything that looks uncomfortable to step on. That being said, I've had a total of 1 injury in the past decade. I scraped my toe on the stairs in my backyard after a run!

As for cold weather-- I'll admit I put on a pair of those silly Vibram toe shoes when it gets really cold. I live in western Pennsylvania, and my barefoot threshold is about 35 degrees. Anything below that makes my skin too cold. Though I do know a few guys who will run in the snow.

Mrs. Green'stache

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2014, 10:07:18 AM »
I wanted to see if there were any barefoot runners out there and found this thread, so I'm resurrecting it.

I have never been a runner.  I walk, but even that gives me pain in my hips and eventually knees.  My form is awful when I run.  (When I read the book Seabiscuit about how his legs flew out wildly when he ran, I thought "that's my stride!")  My father was a marathoner and my brother has done marathons and a few Ironmans, so it feels shameful that I can't run a few miles.

I just finished "Born to Run" and am curious about barefoot running.  I've tried it a couple times (just down the street, and around my house) and I don't feel any pain or tightness in my hips like I'm used to.  I want to continue to build up this way and was wondering how to go from non-runner to barefoot runner?  (There are tutorials on changing from runner to barefoot runner, but not from the "couch" to barefoot runner.)  I would like some minimalist shoes for when the weather is bad.  There are so many brands, I wondered if anyone had suggestions other than Vibrams?  Any other thoughts on this?  Thanks!!!
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MrFrugalChicago

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2014, 02:38:47 PM »
I triathlon, and that includes running 15-40+ miles per week. I do not run barefoot, and am more than happy to buy a $120 paid of shoes every 3 months. Some things are worth money, and to me that is my health. I have a very poor foot strike to run barefoot, and would end up with a lot of problems. Barefoot running only works for a small % of people, and that is not me.

Mrs. Green'stache

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2014, 02:47:14 PM »
I triathlon, and that includes running 15-40+ miles per week. I do not run barefoot, and am more than happy to buy a $120 paid of shoes every 3 months. Some things are worth money, and to me that is my health. I have a very poor foot strike to run barefoot, and would end up with a lot of problems. Barefoot running only works for a small % of people, and that is not me.

For me, it's not about saving money, but about improving my gait.  It sounds like you have a great running stride that agrees with your body.  I need a total overhaul, and barefoot "style" (whether or not you're wearing shoes) seems to relieve my hip and knee pain.  My DH runs 5-7 miles 3-4 days/week and he is also skeptical of my new endeavor.  I just told him "If it can make a runner out of me, you'll have to agree it works!" 
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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2014, 07:23:46 PM »
Rooting for you, Mrs Greenstache!

I'll try taking the dog out for walks barefoot and see how it goes from there. I used to drop the shoes whenever I passed my gate, but since living on my own, I've been using slippers so I won't bring dirt into the house. I miss walking barefoot and going out of the house with that will be an extra motivation. :) We'll see how it goes.

grantmeaname

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2014, 06:56:09 AM »
What exactly are you concerned with?

If you can run around a soccer field complex at a park or a golf course it would be a good start for your feet as far as a surface perspective. Otherwise I think it's mostly like anything else: start slowly and listen to your body. If something hurts, try and pinpoint what and where exactly, and then search what to do about it.

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2014, 07:20:00 AM »
The longest I have run truly barefoot was a 5k and that was only because I forgot my shoes.  I did set a personal best though.  My feet were pretty raw as never had run barefoot before, luckily I used to wear vibrams so I was used to running sans traiditional running shoes.
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Mrs. Green'stache

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2014, 10:07:58 AM »
I ran 1 mile today and walked 1/2 mile in socks at the local jr. high asphalt track with a metronome set at 170 bpm.  I liked using socks personally.  It felt like it gave me a little protection from the tiny pebbles and debris and it also felt cleaner.  No pain in hips or knees, but I do feel like I'm getting a better butt/core workout.  My plan is to run 1 mile three days/week this week, then add 10% (if I can figure that exactly out) next week and so on. 

I might try the instructables where you paint on Plasti-Dip on socks.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Barefoot-Running-Plasti-Socks/

When the weather gets bad, does anyone have suggestions of waterproof minimal shoes they like (bonus if they won't break the bank)?
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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #28 on: September 19, 2014, 11:20:14 AM »
I use "Zem Gear" minimalist running shoes. They are about as minimalist as you can go without actually being barefoot.

Basically a sock with a thin rubber sole. Usually people see them and think i AM just wearing socks.

Love em. Feel so much better to run in. Did a Tough-Mudder in them without any issues.

Great for deadlifting too, gets you as low to the ground as possible.

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #29 on: September 23, 2014, 11:26:11 AM »
Great for deadlifting too, gets you as low to the ground as possible.

Lower than barefoot?  :P

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #30 on: September 27, 2014, 10:41:25 AM »
A few years ago I was running 3 to 5 miles every other day.  After reading Born to Run, I bought a pair of 5 Fingers to help strengthen my feet.  The first week, I ran in them once or twice for about 15 minutes.  By week 2, I started to notice how bulky my previously awesome New Balance running shoes felt.  By week 3, I had completely switch to my 5 Fingers.  These days I don't run as much as I used to, but I still wear my Vibrams and an assortment of Merrell barefoot shoes. 

Going back to regular shoes is not a possibility for me.  My lower back feels so much better since the switch.
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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #31 on: September 27, 2014, 11:22:35 AM »
A few years ago I was running 3 to 5 miles every other day.  After reading Born to Run, I bought a pair of 5 Fingers to help strengthen my feet.  The first week, I ran in them once or twice for about 15 minutes.  By week 2, I started to notice how bulky my previously awesome New Balance running shoes felt.  By week 3, I had completely switch to my 5 Fingers.  These days I don't run as much as I used to, but I still wear my Vibrams and an assortment of Merrell barefoot shoes. 

Going back to regular shoes is not a possibility for me.  My lower back feels so much better since the switch.

Great to hear about your back!  I'm on week 2 of running and up'ed my run to 1.1 miles, three times/week.  I ran Monday and Wednesday, then Thursday I felt soreness in my left arch, so I skipped my Friday run to ease off the arch a bit.  I have had zero soreness in my knees and hips, which would be unheard of in running shoes.  I feel like my feet just need to get stronger.  Hopefully next week, I'll be back at it.
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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #32 on: September 30, 2014, 05:42:12 AM »
Hey Mrs. Green'Stache - please keep us updated on your progress.  I'm a long time runner curious about the whole barefoot thing.  I'm getting over a year-long stint of back trouble that kept me from running, and cautiously returning to regular runs.  I've always been curious about the barefoot thing, but I feel too at risk to jump right in.  So, hearing about your experience will be a help.  Good luck!

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #33 on: September 30, 2014, 07:06:57 AM »
Hi Mrs. Green'stache-I would like to hear about your progress too.  I'm a big fan of walking barefoot, but for running usually use xero shoes in the warm weather and merrell trail gloves in the winter.  I'll never go back to bulky pointy running shoes. 

I do think it is really important to go VERY slow if you're starting from the couch to prevent injuries.  I would only increase your runs by 5 minutes per month, and doing lots of walking instead.  you shouldn't run further in the "barefoot" shoes than you could actually run barefoot, at least in the beginning.  It'll feel slow at first but if you're consistent and avoid injury, you'll get to longer distances soon.  it's also important not to do the same pace running all the time, so add some drills, sprints etc.  and strength train too!

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Re: Barefoot Running
« Reply #34 on: September 30, 2014, 10:37:29 AM »
Great for deadlifting too, gets you as low to the ground as possible.

Lower than barefoot?  :P

Yeah obviously not, but most gyms won't let you go barefoot (even if you wanted to risk the fungus)