Barefoot Training


Ive just completed a 62 mile race across the south downs wearing a pair of Inov-8 Roclite and my hips and feet took a battering, obviously with distance your body is going to get worn and i know its more my running style which causes the injuries. I have been reading information on barefoot running and the evidence is stacking in its favour for me.

Can anyone suggest any good shoes for me? I want pure minimalistic, protection from glass and sharp stones but thats about it. I am already running in Brooks Pure Cadence for shorter runs.

Also are there any good books out there for the theories behind barefoot running? i am currently reading Born To Run.

Thanks for any help


  • Hi Warren, it's not a book but have a look at the Merrell Barefoot Training Plan - as you will notice, they suggest building up VERY slowly because you will be using different muscles and you need to strengthen them first before you completely change your running style.

    Merrell Barefoot Training Plan

    Merrell Barefoot Bareform Challenge

    I've got Vibram 5 Fingers as my "barefoot shoes" and Saucony Kinvara as my minimalist distance shoes, also buying a pair of the Saucony Peregrines for trail running.

    I'm really glad that I made the change to barefoot and minimalism, but the thing that "fixed" my running problems was the strength & conditioning training that I did as a result of running in minimalist shoes, not the shoes themselves. Hope that helps!

  • Re. appropriate shoes: VivoBarefoot Neo Airmesh: 4 mm sole (+ 2 mm insole cuhioning or not, your choice), zero heel-toe differential, very flexible, with enough room in the toe box for your toes to spread out, and can be worn with or without socks, as you prefer. I really like the Neos. The Evos are more funky-looking, very slightly narrower, and some people find they rub if worn without socks (I've not worn them because I need the Neos for the toe box width). They also do Neo Trail (2 mm sole + 4 mm lugs) which is what I'll be wearing for NDW50 next month.

    Depending on size, you may find them relatively cheap on

    xine is right about the importance of changing running style: short stride, landing fore/midfoot then the heel touches down, foot landing under you not in front, high cadence (I run about 190 strides/minute).

  • Thanks for the information im sure it will prove very useful indeed!

    I went for a short run today trying to mid strike and it went ok although my legs are still tired from the race on saturday.

  • as you prefer. I really like the Neos. The Evos are more funky-looking, very slightly narrower,


  • I use vivobarefoot trail L2's and find them great - no heel - toe differential but sufficient protection from sharps etc, and also use innov-8 for road running but they' re not minimalist (progressing that way).

    I book I found really useful and informative as to techniques was by Ken Bob Saxton 'barefoot Ken' can't remember the title and have now lent it to someone and not received it back yet! 

    But as most people say - remember to take it slowly! Most injuries in barefoot running are caused by people rushing into it and not doing a proper transition. I'm no expert in either long distance or barefoot but hope you find it useful!

  • Warren - I have some merrell trailgloves which are good, but not as good as my luna sandals which I love running in (since you're reading born to run you'll hear mention of Barefoot Ted and Manuel Luna).  Takes a bit of getting used to but once you do then it's great and injury free.. (inc running the south downs marathon in them)

  • Thanks for your replies,

    ive heard of Ken Bob before, read a little bit about him on a forum somewhere.

    Im excited to think i could be doing a marathon in minimalist footwhere. In a few years time once ive perfected the technique i would like to complete a cross country marathon with no footwear, perhaps just a silicone sleeve which inov-8 do or something to protect from sharps.


  • You could try researching ChiRunning. Some of it is a bit strange but the basic running technique is very similar to barefoot running with shorter strides, increased cadence and altered posture. There's loads of stuff on the interweb!

    I'm running in VFF TrekSports when off-road and VFF Bikilas when on road. My calves are taking a bit of pain but it's all under control and I'm considering the North Devon Marathon (June 2013) as my first real barefoot marathon!

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