looking for barefoot running shoes
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.
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 (www.5000mileproject.org) 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).
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 www.5000mileproject.org 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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