"Barefoot" Walking


I've heard alot about how barefoot and minimalist running can help to strenghten the feet and lower legs making a runner much less injury prone and can in effect "fix" biomechanical problems.

I've recently bought a pair of vivobarefoot neo 2s which I got at a knock down price.  I want to start barefoot running but it's not appropriate for me just now as I'm currently running 30 miles + per week in training for the great north run so I can't do the slow transition into barefoot running at the moment.

As a compromise I'm thinking that walking to and from work (approx 3 miles per day) could be a good way to start towards the transition and might also give me some biomechanical and strength benefits.

Would I get any benefits from this our would it be a pointless exercise?




  • hi John, I'm currently rocking a pair of running sandals. I can say that walking in them is a good way to start. Whilst doing all your normal running in clumpy shoes image do some foot strengthening exercises and calf exercises. By the time you get round to starting off in them you will be better prepared. Some Barefoot experts actually say start off walking and progress to running. Just make sure you do your homework before going out running because everything will change image

  • Oh also that show I got started just a gentle jog too and from work at about the same distances image

  • There is no clear evidence of any benefit to fixing biomechanical problems by running in barefoot shoes. Then again, no one can 100% prove that there is no benefit either. If you are going down that route then gradual is the way to go. Makes sense and many people advise doing it gently and building up. Walking in them seems a sensible way to start and then run  a few miles.. Pointless? Maybe the whole thing is pointless and then again maybe not. I can only give my opinion which is that there may be some small benefit but it's all turned into a huge marketing rip off. Glad you got yours cheap. 

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    some think barefoot running is amazing.

    some think it'll mash you up even more than normal trainers.

    It's one of those "Are Ipods in races good" type threads

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    If you are walking in them you will be heel striking so I can't really see any point.

    To build up the correct muscles you will have to run in them and it could take months to fully adapt.

    Wait until after your race and then spend the winter getting used to them.

    Were you suffering injuries before?
  • Well most top runners do some barefoot drills or some barefoot running, so I've been led to believe, Farrah has said he does it for instance. Stronger feet won't hurt, just be very careful not to injure your feet, I have and I was taking it slowly, it's easily done. Walking is an excellent way to strengthen you foot bones and tendons, great idea.

  • "If you are walking in them you will be heel striking so I can't really see any point."

    This, surely? Unless you walk in a really bizarre way.

  • Speaking as someone that walked from France to Scotland* in Vibram FF Bikilas I agree that walking 'Barefoot' is totally different to running barefoot (heel/for/midfoot striking). I also think that walking 6 miles a day (to work and back) is an unwise thing to do without a prober build up.

    It is a good idea to walk a little at first, maybe just around the house then venture outside for very (very) short distances and gradually build the distance.

    ok, when I say walking..... a car, 2 planes, bus, train, taxi, train, Ferry then car where also used during my 12 hours 'walk'. Walking in bikilas is akin to walking in flippers imho.

  • 6 miles a day would be a bit much. But 3 miles a day split into 2 lots of 1 1/2 might not. Maybe take some other shoes on your way to work to build up slowly.

    As for the action of running and walking being different, if you are using the emperor's new 'barefoot' shoes (contradiction in terms) for the sake of improving your gait, then yes walking is probably not going to help. But if you are trying to strengthen your feet by walking in them I cannot see how you could fail. Well I can, if you injure yourself.

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