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Running Barefoot

Kitsune062010-05-02 04:58:56 +0000 #1
So- I'm trying (again!) to work on my aerobic fitness; it's proving more important now that I'm riding further with a lighter bike, than sheer strength were with the mtb...

spinning spinning spinning....

Anyway, I came upon this site: and was intrigued... so I followed more like it: looking for scientific studies: and anecdotal evidence: that it was more than just a handful of [strike]freaks[/strike] eccentrics beating the h*ll out of their feet.

I'm impressed and intrigued. So, being that it's spring, I'm going to try something like this out... walking barefoot more often, at least, trail running etc, too, if I can.

Right now, my understanding is pretty much that heel cushioning/arch supports/etc etc don't correct the problems most runners face due to poor form and weak feet/toes/ankles, but mask the symptoms, much like how glasses don't cure myopia but improve vision, at the risk of greater eye fatigue, or aleve doesn't cure arthritic joints but masks the pain, ultimately allowing one to do further damage?

I'm wondering if anyone here has any similar experience from a physiological/mechanics/orthopedic point of view.

KnottedYet2010-05-02 05:14:32 +0000 #2
right there with ya.

Our feet do great on "natural" surfaces barefoot. It's when we get on manmade surfaces that we hit trouble.

I always used to tell my patients that we have nice irregular feet for dealing with nice irregular surfaces. The trouble comes when we ask irregular feet to deal with hard/flat/smooth surfaces. So, shoes and arch supports and met head pads and so on.

Also used to tell foot patients to find safe clean sand and go run barefoot.
mimitabby2010-05-02 05:20:02 +0000 #3
Kitsune, if you've been doing your research you will have discovered that rickshaw pilots do not get plantar's fascitis or flat feet.

that people who do not wear shoes do not get toes that point in and bunions.

Most foot ills are shoe ills.

SInce I am living in a concrete/metal/glass society I did the next best thing. Remember those shoes of mine you wore? they are called "Nike Free"

they allow your feet to flex and bend the way they were supposed to, and I have been wearing them for about 18 months now. My previous shoes were Keens with a built up stiff arch that I can no longer wear. I am no longer having the foot pain problems i was developing with the keens

If you have a way to run barefoot, do it.

If I hadn't spent my 20's in goathead country, I probably would still be running around barefoot.

oh, and if you ever have kids, let them go barefoot as long as you can and as often as possible.
mimitabby2010-05-02 06:11:11 +0000 #4
I like this quote "Actually, I was born barefoot "

thanks for the links, Kitsune.

OH!! I love those five fingers shoes!!
Kitsune062010-05-02 05:52:36 +0000 #5
Knot- It's mentioned big-time in chi-running, isn't it?

Mimi- I had read that- re: rickshaw pilots. man. pounding feet on cobblestone or packed dirt day in and day out. you'd think... but you're right. Another study that I can't find right now documented natives' feet and foot structures- adults who'd never worn shoes etc. The 'lines' for their big toes were actually straight from heel to the tip of their toes. I know mine point inward a bit... and I was a barefoot kid. Can't stand tight shoes to this day... I liked your nike frees. I was actually really looking at the vibram fivefingers... they're forming quite the following in the running circles. 4mm thick vibram soles, polyamide uppers and individual toes. 'interesting' looking, to be sure, but yes, in a land of broken glass, dog poop and bottlecaps, I'm really interested.
teigyr2010-05-02 07:02:14 +0000 #6
Just read this thread

I used to run track and would work out barefoot as much as possible. I know there was a higher incidence of things like shin splints even on natural surfaces like beach sand but this would be compacted beach sand -- like where the wet parts are. There was also a problem with things getting stuck in my feet! Little bits of glass, metal, or splinters would work up in my foot, I'd get a huge bump/infection around it, and it would start working its way back out. I got blood poisoning a fair amount of times and there were a few doctor's visits! Keep in mind I was doing a lot of distance in these runs and my shoe rebellion was a sore spot with my coaches and my parents.

Oh, and my toe got dislocated once also

To this day, I can't bend it because I had to run a race right after it dislocated and I couldn't get it in my spikes due to swelling so I ran the race barefoot also.

It's probably great for lots of people if you're careful. I'm structurally not-so-good so I'm not sure about it being for me. It sounds like FUN though even now!!!
mimitabby2010-05-02 06:43:04 +0000 #7
I have been doing a walk/run on an indoor carpeted track. I take my shoes off and run in my socks. It HURTS to run outside on the asphalt WITH shoes. So there's no way i would ever run barefoot outside. But it's fun to do it indoors where it is safe.
snapdragen2010-05-02 05:40:19 +0000 #8
I love going barefoot, can't say anything about running though; not with my knees!

I took an outdoor survival class while in Canada a few years back. One thing we did was hiking barefoot. We learned to walk like a baby - front of foot hits the ground before your heel - silent hiking!



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