barefoot running

looking for barefoot running shoes

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09/10/2011 at 20:38

I too am attempting barefoot running, having learned to walk on hard surfaces first (paving slabs, tarmac etc).  The soles of my feet are like leather now and not at all sensitive as they once were.  Am not using any minimalist / VFF shoes at all, as I want to be able to run as nature intended us to (presumably).

I did make the mistake of too big a stride and that hurt my calves and my achilles tendon in my R leg.  That has all calmed down now.  I will take Robert Crussell's advice about LITTLE steps and a straight back.  This may well have been where I went wrong, and got discouraged easily.  Having watched a video on YouTube depicting a Tarahumara Indian running barefoot, his stride was much more like a shuffle, with minimal raising of the feet but with knees still bent. 

Any further tips would be most welcome.  

18/12/2011 at 08:58
I'm now 4 months in to my barefoot transition and finally have no shin or calf discomfort after up to 10k running.

The first month was the worst. After just 1k barefoot on a running machine my lower calves were really sore. Once I added about 2k to my run and paid for it!

As of today I am ditching my old running shoes and will be 100% minimalist or barefoot from now on!

So yes take it really really slowly otherwise you will have a bad experience.
19/12/2011 at 19:04
I love my Merrell trailgloves. I used them for most of my runs in the summer and early autumn, and ended up wearing them most of the time I was not running too. They look nice, and despite how much I used them there is no wear ye. My feet are very happy with them. I have not been near twisting my ankle in them (which I usually do on a regular basis). They protect the toes from rocks which is essential for someone as clumsy as me. Perfect for dry trails and multiterrain, protective enough for short distances on road. Unfortunately, they just don't cope well with mud so they have taken a break for the winter. It took me no time at all to adjust to them and to running completely barefoot on the beach.

Since I started running in these my usual achilles pain completely disappeared. Before that I was making attempts to land on my heels which was not natural for me. I think it is important to run in a way that feels good for you, and if you are a forefoot runner like me trailgloves are excellent and cheaper than five fingers. If you tend to land hard on your heels and do a lot of road-miles I would find something else.
03/01/2012 at 17:47
I've spent days trawling web sites trying to get info on the best shoes to use for transitioning to barefoot... I've given up. I'm going straight into it tomorrow, no transition, what the hell.

04/01/2012 at 03:34
Simon Willard wrote (see)
I've spent days trawling web sites trying to get info on the best shoes to use for transitioning to barefoot... I've given up. I'm going straight into it tomorrow, no transition, what the hell.


You really need someone to give you instructions?

The idea is you go slow! Its slow as in 200m at a time slow and this is if you don't want to rupture your achillies.

I hope you have a good physio on hand if your planning to "go straight in no transition". I don't like to critic others as I feel everyone finds what works for them if they 'listen' to their body and stop when they feel pain etc but mate, this is a very daft idea! I would start off slow. VERY slow and it could take months to get yourself to a level where your barefoot running proper distances.

Have you read the Born To Run book at all?

04/01/2012 at 14:01
No. I haven't. But i was being flippant.

As I never run road so don't need the cushioning I'm carrying around in my Saucony Progrids, have narrowed down to:

Adidas Adizero XT - just to keep things normal until I've done my first half-marathon in March.

Then, Saucony Kinvara 2 or Brooks Pure Connect, both of which I've just tried out and I have to say they feel great!

05/01/2012 at 03:27
Simon Willard wrote (see)
No. I haven't. But i was being flippant.

As I never run road so don't need the cushioning I'm carrying around in my Saucony Progrids, have narrowed down to:

Adidas Adizero XT - just to keep things normal until I've done my first half-marathon in March.

Then, Saucony Kinvara 2 or Brooks Pure Connect, both of which I've just tried out and I have to say they feel great!


Whew! Thats slightly less worrying- I had visions of you attempting half-marathon like runs on pavements in a pair of vibrams!

I only run on a treadmill (the roads are too painful on my knees as I have cartilidge damage which sadly is made worse by hard surfaces). I wear Nike Free TR+ Fit trainers (thinnest Nike soles and very flexible). I found that I had to start off slow and build it up as my calves got the most amazing cramp known to my body as a result of not starting off slow.

I wasn't even wearing Vibrams or actually going bare foot (and I have tried that too- would recommend it to anyone starting off as it really is very different to any type of trainers- even Virbams!) Its easy to think your body will just adjust and it'll all be fine if you just take away the cushioning...but years of conditioning ourselves to landing heel first takes a lot of undoing and its easier to run with a heel strike and learn to ignore/'breathe' through any pain and so end up with all sorts of impact damage. Starting off slow isn't only just to allow your body to become used to the new format but also to ensure you don't become tierd and fall back into old ways of doing things, eg running with a heel strike.

Common problems and methods in terms of starting off all do exist on the US Runners World forum where barefoot style running is a big deal over there and has more of a cult following and when you see the difference in cost for the footware, you'll probably have your own thoughts as to why!

05/01/2012 at 08:52
And this has all started me thinking.

I have two samll children, 2 & 5. Maybe I should be paying more attention to their footwear as well rather than slavishly taking them to Clarks and Jones every 3 months.

But I guess that's for another forum.

I ran 3 minutes in each of the Kinvara and Connect yesterday on a treadmill and immediately felt the strain in my calves. Still feeling it this-morning.

Mentioning price difference between UK and US for barefoot shoes (tortology or paradox?) teh chap in teh shop mentioned they were having real difficulty getting stock over here, especially in large sizes of 10 and up. Maybe the americans are deliberately restricting supplies into the UK to maintain a premium price for a stripped out product?

In essence though, i think yesterday taught me a valuable lesson early on - take it easy.
05/01/2012 at 10:05
By the way, i was considering Nike Free trail editions, but I understand the soles are no good in mud.
05/01/2012 at 12:05
Dear SW, I would recommend getting into a more midfoot strike very gradually! I tried to up mileage too soon and then had to have a few weeks off with sore Achilles and I don't want you to suufer the same fate! I am running in Brooks Green Silence and find it to be a good transitioning shoe as they are quite flat but still have a bit of cushioning underfoot. I also went up a size to give my toes a bit more space. Sportshoes are doing them for £35 I think. The Frees are popular but you are right about the lack of grip. Have a look at the NB MT101's and the soon to be released MT110's for your offroad forays.
ChallengeGoGoGas    pirate
05/01/2012 at 13:00
I have a pair of saucony kinvara 2's, my regular shoes are saucony Omni 10's - Achilles strain real issue if you delve into too fast! But would still recommend the Kinvara's but bear in mind that Saucony have just released the Guide 5's which have an 8mm heel drop and are therefore a transition between the "normal" running shoes and the Kinvara's - I believe they a zero drop shoe called the Hattori

So I guess they now have a complete range of transition shoes if one has the available funds superb corporate strategy, finding a way to sell 4 pairs of running shoes in less time than you can wear out one pair!

I'm just going to try and ease into it on short tempo runs and maybe some speed work for now BUT no more 4+ milers just yet, lesson learned!
05/01/2012 at 13:21
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'!
05/01/2012 at 13:49
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...

Brian.
05/01/2012 at 15:08
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.
05/01/2012 at 16:07
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
ChallengeGoGoGas    pirate
05/01/2012 at 20:07
Born to Run - yep check!

Even currently experimenting with chia seeds and other natural products to make my own energy gel, tired of paying for horrible orange flavoured stuff
05/01/2012 at 21:40
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.
06/01/2012 at 02:42
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.

06/01/2012 at 23:14
Many questions remain regarding running in minimalist footwear.

http://www.runningbarefootisbad.com/
Edited: 06/01/2012 at 23:22
07/01/2012 at 04:52
Squeakz wrote (see)
Many questions remain regarding running in minimalist footwear.

http://www.runningbarefootisbad.com/

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.
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