Barefoot runners - why so intolerant?

For the third time in the last couple of weeks, I have had a barefoot-convert aggressively tell me that heel-striking is WRONG and that traditional running shoes are 'bad'.

People don't become self-righteously preachy about compression socks or energy bars or interval training, so why about this?  As it happens, I do some barefoot running as well, but it didn't save my life/improve my PB/etc.

Why can't they just get on with it, without telling everyone how great they/barefoot running is?

«13

Comments

  • Ha, you do realise that this thread will now become a magnet for barefoot runners to come and tell you why you're wrong, don't you? (NB. I'm not one).

  • Ha, you are probably right.  I can't be converted to the 'cult of barefoot' as I don't think that forefoot- and heel-striking are mutually exclusive, but I am sure that they will try!

  • I understand the theory of 'barefoot' and 'minimalistic'. I have a problem when I read that you should avoid walking about barefoot or wearing flip flops and shoes without heels as it makes you prone to plantar fasciitis i.e. increases your risk.

  • I run in minimalistic shoes and find that it works for me, after suffering a few knee injuries. I wouldn't however get all preachy and try and convert people to it.

    If your style of running works for you and you are not having any issues then just stick with it.

    It does annoy me when people try to say that their way is the only way because it's what they happen to do.
  • I'm with you, Millsy - do whatever works.  I mix both - forefoot for faster, shorter runs, heels for  longer plodding.  I often start on fore/mid-foot and move backwards as I get longer into a run.  I just don't understand how some people can say "there's no evidence to support motion control shoes" whilst espousing an alternative which has just as little empirical evidence to support it.  Some guy with a goatee and Vibrams saying it's right doesn't make it so!

  • Yes, whatever works.

    I routinely run in race shoes but after testing some barefoot running on grass and a treadmill, would find minimalist more than my feet could cope with.

    When tired, I fall down on to the flats of my feet which would give my heels a right bashing even if I didn't heel strike.

    If I warm up for a race properly and get my calf muscles fully operational I can run the whole way on the forefoot.

     

     

  • I don't care either way to be honest do what is the best for you - I run in what ever is cheapest on Amazon/Sports Direct - some suit in a white coat and an interest in horses once told me I pronated - so what I had never had a problem, ran 3,000 miles a year - my favourite running books isn't Born to Run, or Chi Running - but plimsoles on eyeballs out - the Jim Peters biography  - those guys didn't pronate or supinate they just ran and trained hard -and that is what it is all about -

  • I'm very comfortable walking around barefoot, I spend most of my time at home that way, and although I run on the forefoot I couldn't run without shoes. I had a persistent calf injury about 18 months back and on Physio's advice, did some barefoot running once a week on the beach but found it hard work and couldn't wait to get back to normal. Have noticed that BF runners can be a little over-enthusiastic about it.  

  • I sympathise with the OP's situation, but putting the shoe, or lack of shoe on the other foot, have some sympathy for barefoot zealots who have to week in week out listen to people bleating on about how they've been to a running shop and had a 'gait analysis' and been diagnosed as being an 'overpronator'.  Far too much snake oil and BS on both sides of the fence. Understandable as it's a lot simpler than either side thinking about the issues.

  • Running in central London I have NEVER seen anyone barefoot running. If I did I think I would phone 999 and get them sectioned. Even with my trainers on I avoid most of the 'liquid' and 'things' that are on the pavement.......
  • but Kafeeg.barefoot runners do not run barefoot...which is what makes me find their over enthusiam quite funny.......

    they call it barefoot but they do not actually do that....if you want to go all caveman then go ahead and do it...but they are just paying a fortune to buy into a different corporate machine that gives us the chunkier shoesimage

  • Hang on, barefoot doesn't mean barefoot? No? NO?



    I know I'm tipsy, but....
  • How many people actually take bare foot running to the extreme of literally no shoes tho?

    I saw a chap with no shoes or socks on running round the park once. Looked an absolute nutter.

  • Ian M - fair point, but have you ever heard a "shod-runner" (not sure what else to call them?!) tell a barefooter that he's a fool and doomed to injury until he comes to his senses and learns what everyone has known for years now?!  No.  Because they don't feel the need to force their medial-posts and orthotics on others!

    And as for barefooters saying that shoe companies have it all wrong - it's the same shoe companies making their minimalist shoes!  If you think that they lied about motion-control and over-pronation, why do you believe them when they say that zero-drop and no support is the solution?

  • i've ran 100% barefoot before, but only on grass, or at the local athletics track, the only road running i've done like that was on holiday where the pavements were nice tiles and very little debrit, 

  • I certainly wouldn't run actually bare-footed, even on grass or the beach.  Who knows what you might land very hard on?

    I'm not interested enough to shell out a load of dosh on minimalist shoes just to see what it's like, either.

    I wouldn't try to tell a barefoot runner that they shouldn't do it, though!

  • I know a few runners who say that cushioning in shoes is unnecessary, stops the feet doing their natural job, and is a construct from the shoe companies to make you replace your shoes every 500miles thus paying loads more out.

    They'd say you can do 1000s of miles in a pair, and they never get injuries at all.

    Seems a good argument, but personally isn't something I'd want to try, as I tend to tick over nicely doing it the traditional cushioning and 500-550 swap over manner.

    I also know runners who never take a day off running either, so some love to go against the grain!

  • I run in minimalist shoes (merrell trail glove) and love them. Whilst i'm happy to give my 'twopennorth' to someone that asked, I wouldnt try to convert someone that was happy running in normal running shoes. what works for one doesnt necessarily work for all.

  • +1 with the "what works for one doesnt necessarily work for all" comment

    neither barefoot/midfoot/heelstrike is right or wrong - we are all different - and my view is "if it ain't broke why try to fix it".

    I would love to see some opinions from the barefoot zealiots about the shoes I run in - Hoka One Ones - which have the deepest cushioning out there!  however they have a small heel to to drop (4-6mm) and a rocker motion to promote a midfoot strike.  they were originally designed with lots of cushioning to help with off-road ultras where you can be running over all sorts of things likes rocks and the cushioning helps protect the feet.

    I adopted them when I had plantar fasciitis last year as I'd read loads of reports of how people with PF did much better with Hokas and I agree - they haven't cured it by any means but have made it more manageable due to the cushioning.  the midfoot strike also helps keep the weight of the heel a bit and as a previously natural heelstriker, it's taken a little while to adapt.  but I'm up to 3hr+ runs now with minimal after effects

    I also tried the barefoot approach as a cure to the PF - sod that, it hurt my calves too much!

     

  • There are two types of people who like barefoot shoes.



    The first (people like me) just find them suitable for their feet and running style. Some of us are probably a little bit towards the sceptic end of the spectrum wrt claims made for running accoutrements (peanut butter sandwiches, jelly beans and orange squash rather than recovery drinks, protein shakes and gels for example), but then we tend to be a bit sceptical about some of the wilder claims made about barefoot running.



    The second lot are a bit confused, and are mistaking a running style for an evangelical religion. One should simply treat them like the Jehovah's witnesses - thanks but no thanks and firmly shut the door.
  • Oh, and I am astonishingly slow, so no one could ever take anything I said about running even vaguely seriously, even if I did want to be evangelical about it.
  • In It For The Cake wrote (see)

    For the third time in the last couple of weeks, I have had a barefoot-convert aggressively tell me that heel-striking is WRONG and that traditional running shoes are 'bad'.

    People don't become self-righteously preachy about compression socks or energy bars or interval training, so why about this?  As it happens, I do some barefoot running as well, but it didn't save my life/improve my PB/etc. Why can't they just get on with it, without telling everyone how great they/barefoot running is?

    As apposed to being marketed to aggressively from the present paradigm!image

     

  • I've tried it alot and consistently got injured. Barefoot running is fine if you can go running on nice dusty lanes or on nice soft grass. But how many of us run on pavements and roads? Humans were never designed to run on roads so I put running shoes on to help me with this!!

    One thing I dont believe in is buying shoes for different pronation or ways of running. I don't believe the way trainer brands try to sell their shoes by saying they do this that and the other.

    Its all rubbish IMHO because I have worn shoes for over pronation, under pronation, soft shoes, hard shoes, shoes that do this and that, neutral shoes and to be honest it hasn't made the blindest bit of difference to me. So unless the way I run incorprates all the above (Which would be a bit special to see) I can't see the point. I'll probably get slated for this but I buy trainers on three bases 1-They are my size 2-They look alright 3- They are cheap image Unfortunately spending twice as much as I would usually do on a trainer that is only half finished just isn't going to happen

  • In all seriousness i feel your pain through my work (bio-mechanist) i have to rub sholders with some of the types you descibe (i work for a shoe company).

    And they do the barefoot/natrual running more damage than good.

     

    BTW if you are running slow enough with good posture it is perfectly fine to heel strike!!

    Yes i know shock Horrorimage

    It's to do with forces. The faster you run the more force you strike the ground with.

    Therefore if your posture is good plus you are running slowly with a short stride (closer contact point to your centre of gravity) that is an appropriate shape to make for that force.

  • Runz wrote (see)

    BTW if you are running slow enough with good posture it is perfectly fine to heel strike!!

    Yes i know shock Horrorimage It's to do with forces. The faster you run the more force you strike the ground with. Therefore if your posture is good plus you are running slowly with a short stride (closer contact point to your centre of gravity) that is an appropriate shape to make for that force.

    of course when we sprint we run more on the forefoot as you can generate more power that way - even us heelstrikers know that but it's not possible to keep that pace up for a long time so naturally we go back towards a heelstrike - even forefoot strikers drop back to heelstrike when they get tired.

    but still we get preached at that we are running in the wrong shoes!!!  it's the proselytising barefoot zealots that get me on this issue.

  • fat buddha wrote (see)
    Runz wrote (see)
    BTW if you are running slow enough with good posture it is perfectly fine to heel strike!! Yes i know shock Horrorimage It's to do with forces. The faster you run the more force you strike the ground with. Therefore if your posture is good plus you are running slowly with a short stride (closer contact point to your centre of gravity) that is an appropriate shape to make for that force.

    of course when we sprint we run more on the forefoot as you can generate more power that way - even us heel strikers know that but it's not possible to keep that pace up for a long time so naturally we go back towards a heelstrike - even forefoot strikers drop back to heelstrike when they get tired.

    but still we get preached at that we are running in the wrong shoes!!!  it's the proselytising barefoot zealots that get me on this issue.

    The faster we run the more force we hit the ground with.

    To accommodate the force we change shape (skill up).

    Walking 1 x body weight

    Running talking pace 2 x body weight

    Sprinting 3 x Body weight

    To run skillfully on a healthy foot you need a shoe with a wide toe box to engage the big toe which is 4 x as thick/dense as the other toes.

    How we cushion/absorb our body weight while running is through our planter fascia and achilles acting together.

    This works on a healthy foot when you strike the ground on the 4th/5th toe and anchor/ toe off the big toe, your heel will kiss the ground to switch off your calf and it is this action which gives us cushioning performance.

    The planter fascia will absorb 17% of your 2 x BW when running and the achilles 35%.

    If runners dont take the time to absorb the information and apply/adapt over many months then dont bother because you will get injured.

    BTW i run in shoes they just dont have padding or support, i suggest thats what our ancestors did also! shoes with weather protection/puncture protection.

     

     

  • My 'minimalist' shoes cost me £30. To me, the argument for them makes sense. I'm almost exclusively a trail trunner, but find them comfortable on roads and pavements. They're also good for short (5-10k) and long (40k plus) distances as well.

    I think that as long as you frequent forums like this one, you have to accept that some other forumites will have very strong views, and they like to use forums to express them, right or wrong.

    My calves hurt today having run 26 miles on saturday, but I remain injury free after using these shoes for about a month and 150 miles, and now I think about it my shin pain has disappeared completely. Whether that's anything to do with the shoes I don't know.

    And 'yes', I have read 'Born to Run'. Good book. I recommend it, and it's not as pushy about 'barefoot' running as you may have heard.

  •  

    Runz wrote (see)
    In It For The Cake wrote (see)
    For the third time in the last couple of weeks, I have had a barefoot-convert aggressively tell me that heel-striking is WRONG and that traditional running shoes are 'bad'. People don't become self-righteously preachy about compression socks or energy bars or interval training, so why about this?  As it happens, I do some barefoot running as well, but it didn't save my life/improve my PB/etc. Why can't they just get on with it, without telling everyone how great they/barefoot running is?

    As apposed to being marketed to aggressively from the present paradigm!image

     

    But the differences are:

    - I can ignore a poster or an advert in a magazine.

    - At least they get paid.  Barefoot douchebags bang on and on about how great their new religion is, lining Merrell and Vibram's pockets.  For free!

    It's not the barefoot I object to, it's the fanatical way that some people force their opinions on others.

     

     

     

  • Was he?

«13
Sign In or Register to comment.