Any barefoot/minimalist shoe runners out there

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29/01/2012 at 13:55


I started running about 10 years ago. I started slow and worked my way up and ran regularly (3-4 times a week, give or take) for about 4 years. Then on one run, I got pain in my shins bad enough to force me to stop and walk home. From that run onwards, no matter how much rest I took, the shin pain would re-surface.

I had a sports osteotherapy session and given stretches to do. I had my gait analysed and bought running shoes from a good sports shop, based n the video session and my running needs. I then only ran off-road - to remove the unforgiving nature of concrete. The pain would always return.

This is over a few years, of course, with lots of non-running time in between too. A year or so ago, I started at a gym and only ran on the treadmill (no outdoor running of any kind) and I had no shin pain. So I realised that I coudl run without this pain. My aim was then to try and get to run outside again... so what to do?

I then heard about BFR and read a lot of stuff on the web. Much of it from evangelists and vehement detractors. However, I recognised that I run, naturally, with a heel strike so I thought I may at least try it as many said it might prevent, or lessen, shin problems.

I started by running on the treadmill, in socks. Again, for very short periods (putting my trainers back in to complete the sessions of 5K). I built the time up and went barefoot too - the downside were bad blisters. I finally got a second hand pair of Vibram Five Fingers from ebay, and started using those for the full 5K distance.

Then one day I went to the gym and all treadmills were being used so I decided to do a short run, on-road. My calfs did 'smart' and I hobbled the next day, but the discomfort was from muscles beign used, not the pain of somethign wrong (as with my shins).

Since that run, I have done 1 to 2 on-road runs a week. The last three have been just shy of 10K. All using VFF's.

So far - and I stress SO FAR - changing my running style and using these barefoot shoes seems to have enabled me to run longer and further than I ever have. (I am even considering attempting a half-marathon!).

Despite how it seems to have worked for me (I stress again, so far) I wouldn't scream for every one to try BFR from the roof tops - it will suit some, but not suit others. But would point out: watch any athlete and any running distance - long, mid and short - and they all strike the floor on their fore or mid foot areas. Running spikes have no heel.

I am not an athlete, or a natural sportsman and I am the 'wrong' side of 45 . I run slowly, look like a plonker and really should know better... but I am running, regularly, again.

So, for me - and me only - trying BFR (and taking it very slowly) has - so far - paid off.

Happy trails.

03/04/2013 at 19:17

Hi there, I'm a barefoot/minimalist runner in Brighton! I'm orgonising the Brighton Barefoot Run this year as part of International Barefoot Runners Day ( a global event). The UK chapter are having our race on May 5th in Stanmer Park Brighton. It's only a 5k but it's barefoot and there are going to be lots of other barefooters there. Last year we had 60 this year we are hoping for more.

You can register on the fast and fresh website.

I also have an online store called Barefoot Britain selling minimalist footwear and I sort out group runs every few months if anyone is interested in coming along on one.....

You can also find me as Barefoot Britin on Facebook if any of yo are on there, I am connected with quite a few barefoot groups and can help you meet up with others for runs etc. Drop me a line

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