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Bare foot running!

found the article on barefoot running in this months issue facinating.
and those inov-8 Evoskins 'Foot condoms' look interesting!

Anyone with Barefoot experience?

Thoughts on the concept please?


  • AvoneerAvoneer Posts: 174

    Used to try it on a treadmill when recovering from various running injuries.

    Never again.

    There was a recent article in one of the running mags - general consensus was that it was good for the odd short training session to mix things up, but caused more problems doing it any more than that.

  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    There are quite a few threads on this subject on the runners world forum - so this is my regurgitated ill-informed version of what i think i remember from them... yes it can be good, you must adapt to it very slowly - and it is slowly. If you're a heel striker like me then you will take a long long time to change - i tried to change to midfoot last year and after 6 months could only manage about a 5k run consistently running midfoot. So it does take time to change, so go slowly.

    As for it causing more problems than other running, i've never heard that and it seems to go against everything else i've heard about it. Generally barefoot running increases efficiency and reduces impact/stress on the feet/legs so I can't understand how it could cause problems - unless you're unning in London and then the broken glass, stones and dog sh*t etc may be an issue.
  • BmanBman Posts: 442
    I think problems come about cos people just head out there thinking they can jump straight into it trying to run at normal pace/distance but doing it barefoot. As most of us are heel strikers/overpronate/rely on cushioning, it would cause more problems than just continuing in shoes. Like you said, it needs to be a slow process, and even then you might injure yourself. Why not work on slowly trying to become a forefoot striker, become more efficient, shorter strides etc, then maybe one day try it. Doesnt appeal to me though.
  • biccybiccy Posts: 9
    With regards to the reason I'm asking for people experiences of this, is because at the moment I'm struggling to jog for any more than 5mins, due to my cruciate injurie giving me jip from the impact.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    If you are happy to substitute achilles pain for your cruciate pain..jump right in.
    The more I read the less I know, but as with all things there is no magic bullet, cure all snake oil.
    Minimal cushioning will work for some, forefoot/mid foot will work for some, heel strike will work for some, barefoot hmmm, most is not barefoot after all any shoe will shape the foot, minimal or not. Anyhow how can a shoe called 5 fingers be good for your feet, I keep my fingers on my hands & my toes on my feet..
  • Race1Race1 Posts: 58
    I would have though if there was more to this then the Usain Bolt's/Paula Radcliffe's of this world would be doing it.

    To compare a European management consultant to an African tribesman is also maybe missing a few crucial differences. They don't run on asphalt I wouldn't think.
  • SuttsSutts Posts: 10
    I have massively tight hamstrings, a large amount of over-pronation and my ankles click repeatedly when I make circles with them. I was not born to run, indeed both podiatrists and physio's have made the comment 'how do you even walk'!!

    I made the mistake yesterday of going for a little bare foot run after a 90k cycle. I got into the swing of it with a 20min run to the park with my normal shoes on. I then did just 4 x 100m barefoot followed by a 15min run-walk home.

    Today the muscle/tendon that runs along the base of my foot feels bruised and tender. I'm not sure if this highlights just how weak my foot is, or just how good running shoes are? I will stick with it, but only very short outings (<800m) once or twice a week before a known rest day. I figure it can't hurt my foot to be stressed in a slightly different way for a short time.
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    As usual we tend to look at things in isolation; the Masai don't have back problems, oh that must be because they walk and run barefoot - hallelujiah, lets sell these shoes and programs.

    Masai don't walk or run on concrete, slump in front of a computer all day, slob out on some sofa with all the support of blancmange whilst watching 'I'm a celebrity, ice dancing, ice skating chav slapper chef get me out of here' on Sky.

    They do, however, have good posture.

    I was in agony for months, dropping Ibuprofen 4 times a day and rubbing Ralgex into my shoulder every hour. I started to do Pilates, corrected my posture, at the suggestion of my teacher, OK she nagged me, went to the GP who got me x rayed and found out I also had Spondilitis in addition to my dodgy shoulder. No miracle shoes, no DVD series or books to buy but a few simple corrections to posture and my computer and voila - pain free.

    Boys and girls we were not initially desgned to be bipedal:
    Although bipedalism incurs disadvantages, these are far outweighed by advantages. The most important advantage is that upright posture is energy efficient and allows the hands to be used for other important tasks, such as carrying or building things with tools. The disadvantages of bipedalism include slow speed and strain placed on a body that was not intentionally designed to walk upright. Many of the problems arise from the fact that the weight of the body puts an incredible strain on anything below it, which means that organs and bones that normally had very little strain put on them now had to carry the weight of everything above it. The heart, for example, which normally rested on the posterior mediastinum, a structure in the chest, came to push against the diaphragm. To deal with this problem, the pericardium attached itself to the diaphragm, which allowed the heart to move with the diaphragm, as opposed to being pushed by it. The body has adapted to deal with many other mechanical issues, but it is not perfect, and, with aging, the effects of weight strain take their toll..
    The African runners that are giving Europeans an absolute spanking may start off running barefoot but once they put on a pair of Nikes really start to fly. Technology in running shoes aim to address the shortcomings in our adopting bipedalism; most of us would be pretty chuffed if we could manage a 100m sprint in 12 seconds or 30Km/hr, don’t p##s off a gorilla as he can knock out 40km/hr in short bursts and he’s a knuckle scraper – but then so are Engerland football supporters, hey idea, for 2012 get a bunch of chav footy supporters to trial for the 100m and 200m sprints
  • wyno70wyno70 Posts: 189
    I've also recently read quite a bit about barefoot running.

    Now I'm not suggesting that it's for everyone but there is a lot of research that states that athletes that use it as a session during their training suffer much fewer injuries.

    Ever wondered where all these injuries like plantar fascilwhatever have come from??? Maybe running shoes do support arches etc but are arches meant to be supported??? Unsupported, they may learn to do what they are supposed to and become stronger. Running barefoot could assist with improving technique rather than simply masking bad technique, which expensive well cushioned running shoes will certainly do!!

    I recently did Ironman Switzerland and a fella passed me on the run wearing some 'footgloves'. Good luck to him.

    I'm a very heavy heel striker and so I doubt it would work for me, but I may give it a go, for a few minutes on some soft ground and see what happens!!
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    That is supposing that the 'defect' is one of habit in which case exercises or indeed barefoot running may help but if your bone structure is out of kilter and you need support then you need support.

    I understand that we are normally mid foot strikers but as we get older most of us become heel strikers - down to posture again - and bare foot running may have a part to play for some people but I do not see it as the next big thing for all. I am a mid foot striker (but have done fore foot on accassions) part of that may be that I have always walked about at home barefoot or in socks since I was a child.

    Reading articles it get s so confusing about whether heel strike or mid strike is best when is fore strike appropriate and sports scientists ahve come up with different research to advocate all 3 as optimal.

    Ideally a gait analysis should be performed and anything other than neutral should be investigated to see whether it is your bone structure or posture.

    As I said before, African runners may start of barefoot but as soon as they can get into a pair of Nikes then they fly.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    I think I will dig out my old plimsolls from school & run in them. Little did we know how minimalist sole, lightweight, breathable uppers were already with us?...But don't cost the best part of £100.
  • I have a pair of Vibram Five Fingers and they are the most comfortable shoe I own. I dont run vast distances and I dont do Triathlons. I walk a lot, do a martial art, rock climb and yoga amongust other stuff. Living in barefeet is not the answer to all our problems. When you drive to work, sit at a desk, eat at a table, walk round the shops and drive home again you get some funny looks if you have no shoes on.
    What if though, you didnt cram a childs foot in to a shoe the minute it could walk? What if you let them grow up as nature intended? Maybe they wouldnt develop back and knee pain, problems almost un-heard of in Africa and Asia. Maybe that stimulating the bottoms of the feet on the ground is a bit like reflexology, or hitting a pressure point in martial arts, or activating an energy line in acupuncture.
    There are times when you have to have shoes, i accept that, but lets not be closed minded to what might happen if we never had shoes in the begining.
    Sports shoes and there cushioning for runners have only been around since the mid 60's. I think that feet have been around a bit longer than that. I personaly prefere the meter long spring that is my leg to a 25mm bit of foam on my heel any day.
  • MartynMartyn Posts: 1
    I have to say that I was very sceptical about this whole Barefoot thing. Then I bought a book called "Barefoot Running" by Michael Sandler. He explains how to make the transition to barefoot running, how to toughen up your feet and how to get good technique. He claims that you can work up to a half marathon distance in as little as 4 months, barefoot. Obviously you need to have the lung capacity as well.
    Building strength in the foot muscles has done me the world of good. I now have better posture, better balance, warmer feet as muscle generates heat and I actualy feel over all better.
    I am working my way now up to 10k and loving it.
    As tri-athletes we already train every muscle going, why not have stronger feet? What harm can it do?
    Imagine being able to get off the bike at transition and just start running. No shoes to tie, no seconds lost, no extra weight to carry, more speed for less effort.
    Personaly I cant weight.
  • Phil TPhil T Posts: 49
    I thought the BF debate had raised its head again. Thankfully not

    Anyway this youtube sums it up for me
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPdb7ZDJ ... ata_player
  • HodgeHodge Posts: 9
    Most of the winter i trained BF on the treadmill once a week, building up to 20mins max. The plan was to the take it outside this summer, but it never happened, the run or the summer. To be honest i could not say if it helped or not.
  • Phil TPhil T Posts: 49
    I've done a fair amount of reading around the subject of barefoot/minimalist and a lot of the claims are false. Strengthen foot muscles? Complete horse shit. Reduce injuries compared to shod running shoes? No scientific evidence (if anyone mentions Dan Lieberman's study I will seek them out and unzip their wetsuit in the swim). There is no evidence for shod shoes either by the way. Shod shoes were designed with the idea that impact forces contribute to injury but numerous studies show they don't.

    The barefoot fade seems to have a roughly 25 yearly cycle. 1960 with Abebe Bikila (won 1960 marathon barefoot and broke the world record. Smashed his own record in 1964 wearing shoes) 1983 with Zola Budd (now wears shoes due to too many injuries) and now with Born to Run (the semi-fiction book). So the next fade will be about 2035.

    Running injuries are caused for many different reasons. Footwear is one of the reasons but isn't one of the main reasons. Number one cause of injury? Training errors...
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 52
    I haven't done anything quite so heinous as damaging the way of life of another living being on any without footwear functions yet.
  • AKAK Posts: 27
    dustinscott wrote:
    I haven't done anything quite so heinous as damaging the way of life of another living being on any without footwear functions yet.
    ?Que? (so to speak..)

  • Always a topic that divides opinion!
    I switched to forefoot running (POSE method) about 7 years ago. At the time running even relatively short distances caused me severe knee and hip problems. (Then in my late 30's.)The 'experts' in my local running store prescribed me moon boots with about 1 1/2 inches of cushioning. This had no effect. I was then advised to inserted full sorbathane insoles (which claim to reduce impact by a further 90+ %.) Again. no improvement but it meant I was about 3 inches taller when runnng!
    I happened across the POSE website one day which caught my interest. Technique not footware or orthotics was the key to more efficient and injury free running they claimed which clearly struck a chord with me and my own situation.
    Long story short, I now run injury free and pain free. I run in Innovate 220's which are basically racing flats for all my runing, be it road, trail or x-country.
    However, don't expect a quick fix. It takes a lot of perserverance and it can be frustrating. This is why a lot of people fall by the wayside because they are not prepared to put in the effort. For me however it has been a lifesaver and entirely worth it. I'm now in my late 40's and my runing is the best its ever been. I pb'd my 5k time last year which was a bonu,. but in the end if your running ain't broke I suppose don't try and fix it, but clearly mine was!
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