Barefoot beginner help

Hi guys,

as a total newbie to the whole running scene (running more than 50 yards is alien to me) I would really like some advice on where to start. I run a physio type clinic and treat many runners with injuries gained from running primarily, i dont want to end up like them! I really want to try the barefoot approach but is it suitable for a total beginner like myself? I would wear vibrams or vivobarefoot shoes so not bare flesh just yet! And is it a suitable technique for running in the gym on a treadmill?

Any other advice anyone can give would be greatly appreciated.




  • Well at least you wont run too far to begin with and injure yourself !

    You do have to go very very gently with barefoot running and ease yourself in.

    (Personally if you did the same thing with normal shoes then I doubt you'd get injured that way. I think its more of a fad than any real benefit)
  • so with a really easy starting programme would you say that barefoot would be ok as i would be going easy anyway?

    And yes, 50 yards isnt far lol! maybe i can make 55...
  • Read up lots on forefoot running to learn proper technique for running in minimalist shoes.  Heel striking is out when you've got no cushioning under your feet.

    There are exercises out there online also to help strenghten feet and calves for people new to going barefoot. 

    Runnersworld US have a forum section dedicated to barefoot running, might be worth your while to sign up on there to hear from more experianced barefooters. image

  • So here's the thing with barefoot/minimalist running.  Got it that there is a tribe in the remote mountains where everyone runs barefoot and no one gets hurt.  There is a major problem with extrapolating that to the rest of the world.  They are isolated and are therefore genetically biomechanically similar.  It doesn't necessarily follow that barefoot running is best for people of other nationalities around the world who have vastly different biomechanics.

    Barefoot running is like any other pair of shoes.  It works exceptionally well for some people and not at all for others.  By all means, please try it, but if it doesn't work for you, don't feel like you are doing something wrong if you decide you prefer standard running shoes.  Unfortunately, some of the devotees of barefoot running try to make it sound as if every barefoot running injury is the fault of the runner trying to progress too fast while every shod injury is the fault of the shoes.  

  • So here's the thing about barefoot/minimalist running - there are a lot of people that make the mistake of thinking it is a new thing, just because of THAT BOOK.

    Take Bruce Tulloh, for example, running barefoot in the 60's and 70's. 

    And Gordon Pirie in the 50's, advocating a forefoot strike and a minimalist type shoe. (google his book, Running Fast and Injury Free)

    The craze is new, but the technique aint image

    but SR is right it works for some people and not for others. it also needs to be entered  into gradually as cougie says as your muscles won't be used to it. 

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