Running Barefoot

Tips, tricks, workouts, injury advice.
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by welle » Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:26 pm

Nike Free running shoes are supposed to emulate running barefoot. get them fitted close, so you can wear them without socks or with a very thin pair of socks.

Running barefoot on a treadmill sounds gross - hope you put a lot of Lamisil on your feet afterwards!

Edit: not noticed your link about Vibram shoes, doh!
Last edited by welle on Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by JackCarr » Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:36 pm

Running barefoot is better for your body than running in shoes isn't it?

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John Duffield

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by John Duffield » Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:44 pm

In Thailand, I have to run barefoot on the treadmill. Required. Not sure why.

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by CClaude » Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:07 pm

I wouldn't do significant running on the beach barefoot. Surprisingly, the hard packed sand at waterline actually creates a lot of impact return (according to some fairly dated research, but if there is newer research that contridicts this I'd love to see it). I used to do 30second drills in at the end of my tapering phase on a football field barefoot.

30 second drills are you run 100m, and you get 30seconds to run the 100m and also to rest, and after the 30seconds you go again. We used to do this for 32 reps or 16 reps depending on where in the end of the taper we were.

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by welle » Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:25 pm

MikeTX wrote:
welle wrote:
Edit: not noticed your link about Vibram shoes, doh!


I hope you also read where I ran on the treadmill with socks on. Yes, I agree that running on a grungy treadmill with no socks and sweaty feet would be pretty gross.

for some reason i think socks won't be enough barrier, but that's just me... definitely check out Nike Free shoes, you could probably get older models on sale for half price. they were my gym running shoes before I quit the gym, because they're low-bulk and lightweight (i can just slip them into my handbag).

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by nartreb » Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:07 pm

I run barefoot on a treadmill daily. I dial up the inclination all the way to 15, that reduces the impact; otherwise my feet tend to make an annoying slapping noise on the rubber surface. (This doesn't happen on dirt or asphalt, it's something about the motion on a treadmill not being quite the same as when running for real.)

I'd much rather run barefoot on grass or dirt or sand, but those are scarce commodities in or near my workplace.

As for the "ick" factor: do you wear shoes in the shower? If not, say hello to Tinea Pedis. There's only one pair of feet the treadmill is ever exposed to, and that's mine :)

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by ajdonner » Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:57 am

I have read in the past (sorry no sources), and can say from experience, that walking/running barefoot is good way to strengthen little used muscle/tendon/soft tissue in a way one cannot accomplish while wearing shoes; I consider it analogous to using freeweights in the gym as opposed to machines. Likewise, it is wise to tone down the intensity and duration so as not to overdo things...
Growing up just north of San Diego I used to run on the beach fairly regularly/whenever it was flat, about half my typical standard run distance. From an anecdotal perspective, when starting out, running barefoot on the hard pack sand was quite a bit more stressful on my feet and ankles and less stressful on my knees than running on sidewalks in good running shoes. Over time, as I got stronger, I would mix in a small amount of running in the soft and dry sand above the water's edge to really give myself a workout.
Running barefoot is quite stressful to begin with and I stretched and massaged my feet and legs regularly as part of the recovery process that I think is critical to any exercise program. Beyond improving ones running ability it also has the added benefit of increased foot strength which translates (or can) to better climbing. Additionally, it was simply a nice change of pace. Nowadays, I don't have access to nice lengths of cushy surface to run on (and my feet are weak) but I do enjoy walking around outside barefoot-something about the simplicity of it!
Have fun, and don't forget that what we, as adults, often call exercise, we, in our youth, used to call play!

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Barefoot better

by rockymtnclimber » Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:28 pm

I wanted to address that question of barefoot running being better for you. The quick answer is that, yes, your feet were designed to run barefoot and that's how they work best.

Of course, the big problem is that feet evolved to run barefoot on natural surfaces. There was very little concrete, packed trail, or flat treadmill tread during the process of foot evolution. If you run barefoot on flat hard surfaces for a long time, you would eventually stretch out your arch, and lose much of the shock absorbsion it provides. But, if you were to run on dirt, grass, sand, or even rocks (need callouses first!), your foot can curve and conform to these surfaces, and it works great. That's why the foot has more bones and joints than any part of the body!

Nice to hear you've tried out the Free. I want to, but Nike just doesn't fit my foot shape. Essentially, the Free allows your foot to contact a curved, cushioned surface, rather than a flat one, without actually controlling the movement of the foot. It's about as natural as you can get in shoes. Glad it works for you!

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by Sierra Ledge Rat » Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:23 pm

You are looking at arch collapse with any significant running, and even faster arch collapse if you run barefoot.


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