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What do you think of barefoot running?
CREATED: 06/09/09 by New2Tri REPLIES: 30
New2Tri    JOINED: 3/2/09    POSTS: 3
What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 6/09/09 4:50 PM

I have been reading quite a bit about barefoot running and the arguments for it seem to make a lot of sense. Are there any barefoot runners out there or anyone who has tried it? Interested to hear your thoughts.

Herminator's ravatar Herminator    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 17
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 6/09/09 5:26 PM

I haven't reviewed the biomechanical studies closely enough to have formed a scientific opinion one way or the other. However, from a purely practical standpoint, I'm just not buyin' it. To me, the chances of stepping on a rusty nail, broken glass or general "nasty gunk" and getting deep cuts and/or infections are way too high. The only place where I'd condone running barefoot is on a beach.

vatriathlete    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 682
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 6/09/09 6:42 PM

i wouldn't condone the beach eitehr with all the crap people leave there is no better than the streets of dc.

barefoot runnign sounds great in pricnicple but i think finding clean/smooth grassy/dirt trails to run would be tough in this urban environment of the nova/dc area.. maybe a more rural place would be better.. who knows?

i did see a guy in a nyrrc race in central park a middle of the pack high schooler run an entire 10k barefoot.. that was different.

sandyc's ravatar sandyc    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 288
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 6/09/09 6:54 PM

From the various running clinics that I've attended and articles that I've read, I can see the potential benefits of barefoot running. With that said, I wouldn't dare try it, except maybe at the beach.

I saw some people wearing these shoes at the GW Parkway 10-miler, and I've seen them being sold at CitySports. They look pretty funny, but if you really want to give barefoot running a try, at least these will provide your feet with some protection.

http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/

AndyJB444's ravatar AndyJB444    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 401
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 6/09/09 7:04 PM

Don't believe the hype! Protect those digits with some rubber...

jen_'s ravatar jen_    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 162
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 6/09/09 9:49 PM

There is nothing with running barefoot even with all the hype surrounding the Vibram 5 Finger shoes. Compression socks - need I say more?

Before you go barefoot ask yourself why you want to do it. How far are you looking to run? If you want to go barefoot, the easiest way to start is to walk around your house barefoot. When you finish a ride or run or whatever, walk around on the pavement barefoot or just in your socks. Get your feet used to the freedom of being shoeless, not constricted or confined.

People thinks shoes are a good thing, but they limit the natural movement of the foot and weaken it, shortening your Achilles as well. Just walking around barefoot will help strengthen all the small muscles in your foot and around your ankle. Start there.

If you want to proceed but want some rubber under your digits, check out the shoes recommended here - http://www.posetech.com/runningshoes/how_to_choose_best_running_shoes_for_you.html Notice a difference from 'regular' running shoes? Missing all that yummy heal cushioning. If you've been doing any short running barefoot, I bet you aren't heel striking.

If this is too drastic a change, look at track shoes or racing flats, something with a lower heel that gets you back to your natural position and your Achilles back to it's natural length.

A word of advice is to foam roll the crap out of your calves. Even when you walk around barefoot, foam roll, and foam roll more to keep your calves loose. Tight calves can wreck havoc on your Achilles and bottom of your feet. Start that early, and you should be doing it anyways.

It's a gradual process, so take it slow.

Jen

mosered's ravatar mosered    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1770
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 1/27/10 3:42 PM

'Running Shoes Changed How Humans Run':

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20100127/sc_livescience/runningshoeschangedhowhumansrun

ncrcoach's ravatar ncrcoach    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1059
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 1/27/10 9:48 PM

The human foot is not designed to run barefoot. Just look at your foot and see the lack of support under it. Anyone who races BF is either insane or abnormal. I truly would not suggest it to any runner.

Yeah, a few years back there was this BF runner who was up near the top of the pack at MCM. I was at a cross country race where this one runner ran BF and I was more concerned of him stepping on something than him beating me in the race.
Hard core? No. Not wise? yes.

Back in my lifeguarding days, running on the soft sand was perfect for BF running. Running on the hard sand always depended on the tide. If it was low tide, I would run on the hard sand with my shoes.

kev7's ravatar kev7    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 459
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 1/28/10 6:43 AM

I think running barefoot has a place in a well structured training program. I have seen sub-elite runners do sprints barefoot on the grass infield of the track. I just do not see the real advantage for your average runner logging big miles barefoot. However, I use lightweight trainers as my daily running shoe. I have never been a big fan of super cushioning shoes.

lisalisadc's ravatar lisalisadc    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 423
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 1/28/10 10:58 AM

Kev, who are sub-elite runners?

I think that it's pretty safe to say that a few warm-up exercises on grass is not going to ruin our highly evolved feet. Running on sand, on the other hand, has a lot of benefits and drawbacks.

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1312
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 1/28/10 11:12 AM

Oh Lisa ... how quickly we forget :)

The year was 1984
The woman was Zola Budd
The woman who will always remember that name: Mary Decker

Going back further into history, Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia won the marathon title barefoot in the 1960 Rome Olympics clocking a record time of 2 hours, 14 minutes and 16.2 seconds.

'em were the good old days when children were innocent and adults were high.

Tuan

vatriathlete    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 682
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 1/28/10 11:41 AM

its funny that we are saying that running without "shoes" is the thing that is insane and crazy even though running without shoes was done for probably thousands of years before the Nike company was incorporated.

Citizen-Josh's ravatar Citizen-Josh    JOINED: 5/12/09    POSTS: 38
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 1/28/10 12:20 PM

According to Harvard barefoot running study, "a runner can avoid experiencing the large impact force by forefoot striking properly."

lisalisadc's ravatar lisalisadc    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 423
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 1/28/10 12:43 PM

No Tuan. I realize that there are many top runners who compete w/o shoes. My point for Kev, is who are these sub-elite runners? Aren't we all 'sub' elites? Are you either --elite-- or non-elite? Plenty of people on COPS run w/o shoes. Are they sub-elite?

He's an engineer. I'll lay off the grammar lesson.

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1312
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 1/28/10 1:00 PM

Touche mademoiselle.

As an engineer myself back in the days, I'll recite your words of wisdom the next time I hear a woman say that she's sub-pregnant. You are either pregnant or non-pregnant right ? :)

Hijack over :)

peeps1076's ravatar peeps1076    JOINED: 11/10/09    POSTS: 24
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 1/28/10 2:40 PM

Just saw this...

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123031997

also Joe Friel has been addressing it on his blog recently.

http://www.trainingbible.com/joesblog/blog.html

rdejonck's ravatar rdejonck    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 84
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 1/28/10 3:43 PM

I saw that npr story today also. It is interesting, and at a high level I can buy the dumbed down mechanics explanation of why it could lessen the impact. Of course, no one seems to be saying that shoes prevent someone from adopting the same footstrike/stride as a barefoot runner. Just that running barefoot discourages the jarring high impact of a heel strike and someone running barefoot will naturally adopt a mid/forefoot strike to avoid pain.

I'm interested in hearing about the follow-on study alluded to at the end of the article... does it make any difference for injuries. Also, how does body structure change the advantages/disadvantages. For instance, would someone who is slightly bow-legged (like me) need shoes/orthotics to correct for it? Which impact/twisting is worse? Or are they related.

Unfortunately, only marketing departments seem to have the answers.

The idea of cuts scares me. It may have worked well thousands of years ago on soft grass and dirt surfaces, but in todays manufactured world with pavement, broken glass, metal, needles, whatever, I'm not so sure. Still, I may try it on a treadmill (come to think of it, both my ortho and PT had me run barefoot on a treadmill to diagnose my knee problems and the proper course of rehab).

Ryan

kev7's ravatar kev7    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 459
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 1/28/10 5:44 PM

Back in my Newport days, John Mentzer used to run barefoot strides while the Newport Running Club gang ran track workouts. John ran in the Olympic trials in NYC and won the MCM this past year. Also I believe that Matt Pelletier used to occasionally run barefoot. He also ran the Olympic trials and won Vermont and a few other marathons. Both guys have PRs I believe in the 2:17s or so.

nbehappy's ravatar nbehappy    JOINED: 5/23/09    POSTS: 135
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 1/29/10 6:55 PM

i bought the 5 fingers and i'm gonna be trying to break in my soleus and see what the effect is. i know it's probably a fad. but i feel like i owe it to zola budd.

karlaj's ravatar karlaj    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 201
RE: What do you think of barefoot running?
POSTED: 1/29/10 9:32 PM

The boys at the science of sport blog (www.sportsscientists.com) also covered this, which I believe stems from a Nature article (which I'll need to go find at work). Seems like there may be something to it from the perspective of reducing force on some joints, muscles, tendons, etc; but if and how you can adjust from a shoes to barefoot is still unclear.

Seems like a case of proceed with caution.
-Jason

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