barefoot running



  • Snap!Snap! ✭✭✭
    I loved the Kinvara's - just like my Omnis they have plenty of room in the toes. I might look at the Guide 5's then.

    Examining my own running style, I've noted that over 10k I start off with a pronounced mid-foot strike but settle on to my heels later on when i get tired/lazy.

    Runboy - I'm also finding size an issue. I'm having to go to 12's. My normal shoe-size is 10! I'll look out for the NB's too.

    Has everyone but me read 'Born to Run'? Thing is, i wasn't 'Born to read'!
  • Kinvara's are very good. I have used mine a lot up to 10k and I will continue to use them but I really need to build my core strength and lower leg strength so I am using the balance board every day, core strength exercises 3 or 4 sessions per week at home, cross training at the gym on a new programme as of yesterday and using foam roller/"The Stick" too. Hopefully will make my target of HM by mid March...

  • Snap!Snap! ✭✭✭
    Which half-marathon are you aiming for?

    I'm doing my first flat half in reading 1st April. I usually do a tough cross country in about 1.55, so I'm aiming for a 1.40 on the flat. I think that's reasonable.
  • Alloa Half marathon in mid March is my aim. Just been to see the pod for a full biomenchanical analysis - very interesting. Now going to get orthotics to help stabilise my pronation, slightly different leg lengths and ease tightness in muscles. Should hopefully be good image
  • Born to Run - yep check! image

    Even currently experimenting with chia seeds and other natural products to make my own energy gel, tired of paying for horrible orange flavoured stuff image
  • Snap!Snap! ✭✭✭
    So, set iPad to download, Born to Run. Ok. Here goes. Chia seeds? Really? Let me know how you get on. Those gel bars make me vomit. Can't be good.
  • jennnjennn ✭✭✭
    Simon Willard wrote (see)
    So, set iPad to download, Born to Run. Ok. Here goes. Chia seeds? Really? Let me know how you get on. Those gel bars make me vomit. Can't be good.

    Glad your onto the book- its a big read but a good read, its all waffle (important waffle but waffle all the same) until you get to about 75% of the way through, then all the waffle starts to make sense, it is worth holding out for though!

    Know what you mean about the calf issue- I got this when I took to my reduced built up trainers (Nike Free TR+s) I had been living in Asics Foundation 8s before then which are maximum support trainers so it was a bit of a come down for me. The calf pain I had caused myself wore off within a few days, just do some stretching and if you have one, use a foam roller or a "the stick", if not use a tennis ball or something else round to massage your calves over (leave ball on floor, roll over ball with calves whilst using your arms to balance) not as easy as a foam roller but still does the trick. Normal static stretching (calf stretches, touching your toes etc) all helps a lot too. But the main thing is, as you've already said yourself, build it up rather then going in head first or you'll end up punishing yourself.

  • SqueakzSqueakz ✭✭✭
    Many questions remain regarding running in minimalist footwear.
  • jennnjennn ✭✭✭
    Squeakz wrote (see)
    Many questions remain regarding running in minimalist footwear.
    As do many for supportive footware running. Maybe people need to see for themselves, each to their own but saying anything is outright "bad" when it clearly does work for so many others is kinda unfair there.
  • I was recommended barefoot running by a podiatrist. He could have charged my employer, who sent me there, over £200 for a set of custom orthotics. Instead he suggested that the cause of my shin splints and ITB could be eradicated by running barefoot. I actually elected to buy some minimalist shoes instead, I didn't fancy cutting my feet to shreds on the dog turd infested British streets!

    That was back in early November and I'm now well on my way to my modest goal of 25mi a week. Had to start slow though.

    I bought VFF's initially, which I was and still am very happy with, but I also have a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves now and they are fast becoming my favourite shoes ever!
  • I'm only 2 weeks into the transition from spongebob squaredance stability shoes, to Vibram FiveFingers Bikila shoes. I'm enjoying a lot. However, my first run out was 6km (I'll normally run a 10km on each outing, 3-4 times a week). Really overdid my calves (lots of hill as well). Not so much an injury though, more a deep burn that lasted 4-5 days. Since then, I've ran a few more slowish 4kms to break myself in gradually instead. With each run, the calves are getting used to it.

    A couple of observations:
    1. I wouldn't particularly say I'm a novice in bare feet since I train karate 3 times a week 1-2 hrs at a time; and wear either sandals or bare feet as much as I can throughout the day. So, I'm reckoning my legs & feet are a little used to springing around alfresco. With this in mind, going slow at first (which I really didn't on my first outing) can't be stressed enough! Break yourself in gradually.

    2. I can't believe how much easier it is to get up hills without the regular slab of sponge on your heels! My first hill in my usual run normally has me tired to some degree. Not in the VFFs! Felt very light and springy going up.

    3. Conversely, coming down a hill is difficult and I see the need relearn how I'm going to have to do this. Running down a hill, your heel is naturally prone to strike first. I've since bought Barefoot Ken Bob's Barefoot Running book to help me along.

    4. Form and technique is key to running barefoot. I think I've naturally found the right was to run front/mid-foot. But I know there's a lot more I can do to improve and become more efficient.

    5. I felt my pronating foot strike whilst running in the Vibrams. However, I did read somewhere that we likely evolved to do this for some reason (was it in Born to Run?) I don't feel this to be an issue in barefoot running. I've not felt and knee or hip twinges so far.
  • I find the Vivobarefoot shoes the best. The one word of advise is take it slow as your calves and achilles or going to be stretched more than they are used to as we have damaged them and our feet for so long. I am now running injury free thanks to barefoot running.
  • I've run in barefeet (not much), Vibram Classic, KSO, Bikila and Sprint, Inov-8 Bare-X 200, Inov-8 Baregrip 200, NB MT00 (the new minimus zero trail), Feel Max Osma, Merrell Trail Glove and Vivobarefoot Evo.

    I love the VFF (especially KSO) for the thin and flexible soles giving the most ground feel easily except barefeet of course. I've done a number of marathons in them (like Eden Project marathon).

    Next for flexibility amongst those listed I reckon is the Vivobarefoot soled shoes. A design flaw with the Evo means I don't run in it much (that particular shoe has a serious seem that rubs the skin off my toes that are a little hooked and so they are probably fine for lots of people). But they are a great sole if you want a good flexing sole but point rigidity protecting from sharp things under foot. I think it's a consequence of the hexagon structure. The Merrel are similar but more rigid and the ones I have I'm not keen on because they seem to size small so a EU46 feels smaller in those than smaller sizes in some of the other shoes. But they do give mild trail grip (compared to the Baregrip) and have quite rigid soles.

    I could go on but for me it boils down to 1/ try doing some barefoot proper, 2/ decided if you want just a minimalist shoe that allows running in proper form or actually also to get the maximum feel of beneath the feet.

    If it's feel then for me original soled FiveFingers still rate as the best (love to try the SeeYa). If it's just a shoe for running in good form then I'm with Dale in saying the Vivobarefoot shoes are a great place to start.

    For road running however I really got on well with the FeelMax Osma. Loved running in them and I'd have another pair if I could still get them. Roads around my way become tedious and are really uncomfortable barefoot. The Osma gave a great contact with the ground and running in them was a joy.

  • /members/images/593484/Gallery/shoe_evolution_2.jpg

    This is the path I took going from my asics to newtons then on to trailgloves and then luna sandals (although I do run in both the lunas and trailgloves now).  As others have said you do have to build up to it slowly.


  • Vivobarefoot 6mm will be on our feet for the 5000 miles ( between the caribbean and the dep south of chile - gradually introduced at first, probably with inov-8.

    Btw - that calf burn is the best "injury" I have ever had!!!! hurts but not in a scary "this is going to be a big layup" sort of a way. Amazing to find out how much is wrong with our current runnign style - best non-pro advice i can give is film yourself, a few strides (any old camera/phone will do), and play back frame by frame - unbelievable....!

  • Kev Pope wrote (see)
    I was recommended barefoot running by a podiatrist.


    How times change.


    This would have been unthinkable five years ago.


    MCF wrote (see)
     Conversely, coming down a hill is difficult and I see the need relearn how I'm going to have to do this. Running down a hill, your heel is naturally prone to strike first.


    Going downhill is a significant challenge. Try to emulate the same form as running uphill if you can.


    Concentrate on bringing your feet up immediately they touch the ground, maintaining high cadence, not allowing yourself to overstride, using your knees, hips and upper-body to absorb the shock of each step, and bringing your foot straight up into a strong butt-kick at the back.


    Don't lean forward (from the ankles) any more or less than you would on the level or going up hill. There's no need to brake: allow gravity to do its thing (but don't try to assist it).

  • DMaxDMax ✭✭✭

    On a barefoot note, has anyone tried the Vivo barefoot shoes? Itd be good to hear from someone who uses them.

  • Hi DMAX - we reviewed a lot of brands for our challenge and have ended up selecting Vivo to work with based on the expertise they have on board with Lee Saxby and our own barefoot coach Jonno Gibbins in Cornwall. As you know you'll find reviews all over the net which will confuse the hell out of you but to my mind if people who understand the mechanics behind the style required are working with them then they should be worth a try at least.

    Anyway, it doesnt have to be the last pair of shoes you ever buy (though i know a guy who is still running in his after 2000miles) but just check out the website,buy a pair you like and see how you go, odds are you'll like them.

  • DMax: I use the Vivo Barefoot Neos and really like them, also the Neo Trail. Both have a fantastic wide forefoot. If you have a narrower forefoot you might prefer the Evo but the Neo upper is softer nd less likely to rub (a problem I've read about with the Evos) and they look more "normal" - which may or may not be what you would prefer.

  • I've been running in Vibram KSO's for the last year but just bought a pair of Merrell Road Gloves and have to say i love them even more than my Vibrams! Whatever shoe you get will be a "minimal" shoe not a "barefoot" shoe as the only "barefoot" shoes you can get are actually your own feet!

  • Tried all sorts (£3 plimsolls, £6 plimsolls, Invisible Shoes, Evo II, Neo, Trail Glove etc.). I am currently still prefering the Neo although on the last couple of runs I've noticed a little soreness on the ends of a few toes & I should have some Luna sandals in the post so, while it's warm at least, the Neo may end up with a new contender for the crown...

    For a BF story you might like "Running Desperado" (on Kindle) for an insight into the transition & some other stuff.

    Of all the things I tried, I really liked a lot of the properly bare barefoot but have Morton's Toe which has affected my running both bare & in "shoes". For me the jury is out on the "best" shoe and it is always going to be a little subjective. I think that something along the lines of a huarache (like the Invisible shoe) without the under toe knot would be great in many cases but might still leave me wanting something enclosed for the rubbish weather we're frequently blessed with in the UK. Not sure if that's going to be Neo for the time being or not yet (for me).

    I think that, like with heely clunkers, you may find yourself having to try a few pairs to see what works best for you.

  • hey, i've started barefoot trail jogging and i know my feet will eventually harden up, become less sensitive and gain some padding, but will the odd sharp stone still catch me out. It's currently very hard to even jog lightly for a fair peroid of time on the worst of rocky surfaces. Can any of you guys and will i ever be able to run properly and really easily on those surfaces. I'm sure it will be always be uncomfortable atr times but will it become quite straightforward?

  • I think I've just about fully transitioned to minamalistic shoe running, with one weekly track session of proper barefoot running, but I'm disappointed with my Vivobarefoots Neos; two pairs now; and neither lasted very long.

    I've just ordered a pair of plimsols and I'll see how I get on with those.

  • I've heard good things about Skechers Go Run.. although they are minimalist not barefoot... personally I read  Born to Run a few years back and I'm still gingerly transitioning using the inov-8 arrow system.

    There was an interesting article in Trail Running magazine about minimalist running recently. Basically, it discussed the question 'Are you ready fr minimalist shoes?' and the answer was... it depends on your running form. Whether you work on your form and then change shoes or the other way around is a bit like a chicken and egg question I guess.... but I do think form does come in to the discussion.

  • the gorun was the shoe that took me from running in asics to zero drop miniumus and barefoot shoes, the style of the shoe "re trains" your running form, i still have a pair for just comfort shoes, going down the park with my son etc, very comfy, cant rate them high enough. 

  • I've fully transitioned to minamalistic shoes without any problems; though I was patient and just gradually built it up.  Running form is obviously important; you wouldn't want to heel strike in a minamalistic shoe, but it seemed to take a good while for my achilies tendon and calf to adapt to the change too.  I think they shorten due to contantly wearing a heel, so when we don't have a heel, they're under more tension till they lengthen.

    I don't think it's the 'magic bullet' when it comes to injury prevention though.  I can still overdo things, I can still get tired and lose my running form.  I've been nursing a sore forefoot from a 16 mile race (Roman Trail) where I think I either stepped on a pointy stone somewhere in the Brecon Beacons, or just slapped my feet hard on the downhill and bruised something.  I dunno?  But it hurts!

    My knees 'n' stuff are great though; no problems; and I've got quite bandy legs.  At my army medical I had to stand naked before a doctor while he checked me over visually and my bandy legs were bad enough to ask me if they caused me any problems running.  

    I run about 40 miles a week.

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