Tingling feet after running in Vibrams

Hello everyone.

I didn't want to put this in the 'injuries' section, since it's not impeding my running in any way. I didn't want it to get lost in the 'Barefoot running: genius or stupid?' thread.

Recently, I've been enjoying my minimalist shoes more and more. They're not giving me any problems with my joints or muscles, and even my calf / achilles doesn't seem to be tight after my runs.

However, I've twice now found a potential issue with my VFFs (Bikilas) when I've gone over 10 miles in them on mixed surfaces (mostly concrete). As soon as I take them off, I get a tingling sensation on the bottom of my feet (not really localised) that lasts for perhaps three minutes. I wouldn't say that it's painful - in fact, it feels quite nice.I would describe it as being like a cross between having had a head massage and pins and needles, but without the numbness.

I think that my Bikilas fit pretty well. They're the type with the strap, and they're quite snug over the top of my foot (but no tingling there). I'm not conscious of my toes touching the ends, although for the last mile or so (of 12 miles) my little toe occasionally slips out of its toe-hole as my form breaks down a little. It's also worth mentioning that I don't wear socks (but do lube myself up with Bodyglide image), and my feet get and stay damp during the course of a run.

This isn't much of an issue, but I wanted to ask whether anyone else had experienced this, since it feels like it could be something to do with my circulation. My feet don't feel pounded after these runs; nor does my body - certainly less than with my more cushioned shoes. I don't have any pre-existing circulatory issues, cold extremities or anything like that. 

Just thought there might be some 'foot-finger' type shoe wearers or medical forumites who could help illuminate why this is happening.



  • Hmm, it's not something I've experienced, but then again I'm only up to about 7.5 miles on my longest run since making the transition to minimal shoes (Vivobarefoot and Inov8 Evoskins).

    I'd guess it could be something to do with the improved circulation in your feet. As long as I can remember I always suffered cold feet, but since becoming a BF/minimal runner my feet have become incredibly warm. 

    Also, I've found that my feet have grown. I used to be a size 38, then I was a 39, and now I take size 40! Perhaps the tingling sensation is due to your feet expanding to their natural size after years of being restricted by shoes? 

  • Same here. I'm almost certain that bad shoes cause bad circulation. I think the tingling sensation is normal and enjoyable. For me, no running shoe matches the freedom of the FiveFingers.

    However I have had trouble with my right calf muscle. It's a minor stinging pain that can last for days after a run, even just a 3.5 mile run. I'm not sure but it might be because my run incorporates a half mile stretch up a 40 metre elevation on tarmac...

    But when I first started running in Vibrams, the muscle weakness in my calves was very noticeable. Almost two years later, my feet and legs feel very strong. I would never go back to wearing cushioned shoes.
  • AnneV wrote (see)
    Also, I've found that my feet have grown. I used to be a size 38, then I was a 39, and now I take size 40! Perhaps the tingling sensation is due to your feet expanding to their natural size after years of being restricted by shoes? 

    I think my feet actually shrunk a bit. It might depend on the condition of your foot arches before you start barefoot / minimalist running. My feet were particularly flat before, whereas you might have had quite high arches.

     Also the toes become nicely spaced and easy to splay. 

  • Thanks for the replies. I'm happy as long as noone knowledgable is telling me that it's the first symptoms of nerve damage or something equally morbid my imagination can cook up!

    Anne, I also have arches that are edging towards being a little high, so I'll keep an eye on whether my feet grow in future.

    Tim, do you do the soleus stretch? I found it really helped my calves / achilles when I started running in minimalist shoes. It's the one stretch I'll do several times a day even if I've not been running, and it seems to avert trouble. Using the calf-squat and ham-string curl machines in the gym seems to help keep form strong and equal throughout runs. I suppose compund barbell squats below parallel would achieve the same, but I needa bit longer before I'm confident enough to make the switch.

    I'm finding that, whereas I've been happy to switch between minimalist and cushioned shoes up 'til recently, I'm starting to find I get niggles when I run in the more cushioned ones now.
  • Actually I have fairly low arches, but the growth in my feet is mainly due to my toes splaying out more. I used to have very narrow feet, which I'm fairly sure was due to years of wearing pointy shoes out of vanity! Now I find lots of shoes are too narrow for me.

    Tim, I still suffer from some calf soreness too. I think it's a fairly normal thing when you run with correct form - my other half, who is one of those lucky people who naturally had good form even when he ran in padded shoes, has always had it. He's a seasoned marathoner. As long as the pain's mild, and it goes away when you start running again, it's probably not a big issue. If it's only one one side, though, that might indicate you have a slight imbalance in your gait.Could be worth getting that checked?

    I find magnesium spray is useful to help muscle stiffness after a run. I use this one. The action of massaging it into your muscles is helpful. (It also creates a tingly feeling, which might explain why I haven't noticed any tingling in my feet!) A foam roller is also good to work on any knotty areas.

  • Well I'm no physiologist.....I was just repeating someone else's theory about the arches image

     Thanks for the advice about the calves

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