Barefoot Running

Graphic taken without permission from

A new grass-roots phenomena is occurring in running. People are running without shoes. Not just short runs but long runs, 5K, 10K, half marathons, marathons. I've always thought that running was a nice hobby because the main cost was for shoes. Now, these folks have done away with that cost. Barefoot runners say they don't wear shoes because they enjoy their running more without shoes and they have fewer injuries than they might if they wore shoes. I don't wear shoes around my house and when going out to get the mail, but I do wear shoes when I run. I am interested, though, in this phenomena of barefoot running.

This page gives a video introduction to barefoot running. If ads appear in the videos, just "X" them out. First, lets watch a runner run without shoes. Seeing is believing that runners do run that way. As you watch this video, notice the form of the runner, especially her body and her feet.

Next, let's listen to Chris McDougall as he explains why he runs without shoes. He also explains the form needed for successful barefoot running.

Barefoot runners land on their mid foot. How can we change from heel strike to mid foot strike?

I'm beginning to understand that people might run relatively short distances without shoes, but a marathon? Come on, you must be kidding.

Well, I can see that barefoot running on pavement might be feasible, but trail running?

Not sure you can run barefooted? Try five-finger running.

Be aware that injury can occur from not wearing shoes. Here are some tips to not be injured.

I have a friend, Wendy, who runs without shoes. This is what she says.

It takes a lot of time and dedication to get started, but it is worth the effort, especially if you have joint issues. The two best places to learn about barefoot running are and the Barefoot forum on the Runner's World web site. The biggest reason it works is because it forces you to change to a better running form. It is possible to make the transition in minimal shoes, but barefoot is the fastest and most complete way to do it. When it gets cold I wear Vibrim Five Fingers and I may eventually have to go to racing flats to get enough between my feet and the cold pavement, but there are a few people that run barefoot in the snow, YIKES!
Click here for an infographic overview of barefoot running.

A lot of people are successfully running without shoes. Should you try barefoot running? That's a decision only you can make.


Mark said...

I like that you've added this barefoot post. I'm cautiously wearing the VFF, and I'm hoping to run some marathons in them because they feel so great to run in.

westwood said...

Hmm, though I appreciate the introduction I was hoping for more analysis :(

Allen said...

Yeah, I wish I could give a detailed analysis. I don't run barefoot and can't give personal comments about it. I do give a quote from a friend,
Wendy, who runs barefoot, and she give a link to and a text reference to RW.

I do have a pair of minimalist shoes (3.7 oz) that I wear for non-running activities, and I like them. It's like walking barefoot without having to avoid stepping on small objects.