Best Barefoot Running Shoes?

Barefoot Running advice wanted

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31/07/2010 at 01:07
Hey, I was wondering if anyone (experienced) could advise me on barefoot running shoes (e.g. minimalist running shoes). I usually run about 10-13.1 miles at about 6-8 minute miles and wanted to know what barefoot running shoes would be best? I do know about aqua socks and there benefits but wasn't sure if I needed something that is actually meant for running e.g. Vivo Barefoot evo's or Vibram Five Fingers Belinkas. Any help welcome...
31/07/2010 at 21:58

I did try to suggest to RW that they instituted a "Barefoot Style" forum because so many people keep asking similar questions and the threads and answering posts get lost in the general hubub. They didn't even bother to answer...........

No poke meant towards you Olly, but try searching "VFFs", "Barefoot" etc. There is already a lot of information available.

The main thing you need to know is that, no matter what you get in the barefoot/minimalist line, you will not be able to go out and run more than a couple of miles at the very most to start off with (without getting injured). There is no reason at all why you can't start with cheap aqua shoes to see how you get on. I started with Vibram Five Finger Classics and then got a pair of KSOs (you meant "Bikila", not "Belinka") and get on really well with them but have not tried running in Evos and so can't comment on which is best.

Check out 



Or the American RW site which is rather more enlightened



31/07/2010 at 22:08

or you could ditch the shoes completely and start off learning barefoot by being barefoot, that does help a great deal in the long run.

My shoe of choice for when not barefoot is the Vibram fivefinger KSO, but they're not overly cheap so if you're only just starting out I wouldn't recommend them yet

cougie    pirate
01/08/2010 at 00:01
I don't know much but i do know to start off very very slowly. Tiny runs.
01/08/2010 at 08:49

I would get yourself a pair of aquashoes to start off with just incase the bf thing isn't for you. I got a pair of kso Treks a month ago for the knobblier bits of Dartmoor after a year of building up off-road milage (or kilometrerage, I s'pose). Apart from the grip and lots of folding stuff, not a lot of difference between the two.

Start off small, be patient and enjoy

03/08/2010 at 19:31
Thanks to everyone who responded. I think I am going to get a pair of Terra Planna VivoBarefoot EVO's since they are a present and I would rather get a pair of expensive shoes out of my mum and buy some aqua socks with my own money. I also just want to say hello to all your guys and gals on the forums since I am new here.
03/08/2010 at 20:16

I fancy some EVO's too but can't really justify buying yet another minimalist shoe. My wife would go ballistic.

Let us know how you get on with them though

04/08/2010 at 12:57

I bought a pair of the Terra Plana Vivobarefoots a couple of months ago and I love them. The feeling of running barefoot or in minimal shoes is amazing, and for me it meant I was tempted to go too far and too fast, too soon.

I'm now having physio for compartmental shin splints and a possible stress fracture, so I've learned that it's essential to build up barefoot running extremely slowly. If you're already a forefoot striker it might be easier (I was a heel striker).

I was used to running 6 or 7 miles, so I figured 3 or 4 would be OK: it was way too much.

However, on the plus side it's true that barefoot running does teach you to understand your running style and its faults better. I could feel something wasn't right on my right leg, and the physio has now confirmed I'm misaligned on that side as a result of an accident I suffered years ago. If it wasn't for my barefoot running (and the resultant injury), I would have gone on running incorrectly for years!

Now I'm learning how to correct the imbalance, and hoping to return to barefoot running soon!


04/08/2010 at 14:05
That sounds rough. Change of plan people I was passing by a shop in Washington DC (I am on holiday in the states) and they were literally the only place on the east coast who actually stock VFF bikila's so I got a pair of them for a discount price of $90. I am pretty pleased with them seeing as I save like $60 overall... enough to get a Nathan Sports running belt?
18/08/2010 at 13:28

I bought a pair of vibram fivefingers last week.  i went for the 'classic' version figuring that i may as well go the whole hog.  imho some of the more complicated versions fall between two stools (giving just enough protection to encourage impact whilst not having any counteracting technology).

 i've runfour or five times in them now (on hampstead heath) working up from an initial 30 minutes to around an hour.  i love them!  you get the feeling you can run forever (since you cannot go fast enough to get tired;)) and grip is suprisingly good even on slippery mud.


18/08/2010 at 16:12
There is a good article on the Chirunning blog about minimal shoes. Personally I like Saucony A3s but the colour is a bit vibrant. 190 grams but still have some cushioning. Just be really careful to build up slowly. I wear them once a week now after hurting my feet.
02/09/2010 at 14:42
Anyone know where you can buy the VFFs in the North of England so I can actually try them on?

02/09/2010 at 16:12

I had trouble finding places to try them on. In the end I did some research and carefully followed the measuring instructions on the vibram site and got the correct size. I got a set of Bikilas and I am very happy with them. Very comfortable and I can do about 5 miles in them. I am not a heel striker anyway so may have been less of a transition for me but I still took it slowly. Starting off at a steady pace over 2.5 miles.

 A lot of online places are good with returns, ok you will lose the £5 it costs in postage to return them.

02/09/2010 at 19:43
Only one I know of is naked ape in Sheffield
02/09/2010 at 22:01
Thanks YR.
I'll try there.
I was in Sheffield last Saturday, Doh! I shall have to make another visit.

06/10/2010 at 04:39
I bought some KSOs in June and found them interesting.

It does really add a different dimension to you running. I found that you do feel a little too much of the ground in them as the sharp stones tend to be felt a bit more

I bought some bikinis last week from base layer in Orpington online and they were delivered next day and they are a joy. They are really comfortable and you still get the feeling of barefoot running without the discomfort of sharpies. I also get less toe slap

Best shoes I have ever run in and they reallydo put the enjoyment and novelty back in to my running. No problem running 13 mies or so off or on road
08/10/2010 at 10:30

I went for VFF Bikilas in August and run 30-40k a week once I got over the transition from heel strike pronating runner to midfoot VFF runner (and my calf muscles got used to doing a lot more work).

I also swapped my work shoes for black leather Vivo Barefoot Aquas (which I can get away with wearing with a suit) to further increase the time I am "almost barefoot" to strengthen muscles etc.

25/10/2010 at 14:46
I'm interested in trying minimal shoes but I wonder if there is any advantage to doing so. If my feet are used to some support why change and risk injury?
25/10/2010 at 15:07
"barefoot running shoes"

oh the irony
29/10/2010 at 18:16

In response to Sarah41:

It doesn't matter so much at an earlier stage what shoe you wear. The most important thing to work on is your running form. Get this right and you can then look at either barefoot or minimalistic running shoes. I recently ran a half marathon using the POSE method, which is what barefoot running is all about. I was wearing trainers instead of my usual Vibrams KSOs as I am unable to do that sort of distance in VFF. I am now slowly training barefoot over the winter and taking it one step at a time. The Vibrams only come out for longer distances or night running.

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