Barefoot running Northern Ireland

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26/03/2012 at 14:14

Are there any other barefoot / VFF runners here in Northern Ireland or am I the only one brave enough to subvert the normal order?

About a year ago I asked the secretary of East Antrim Harriers what they thought of the matter and she replied that they'd never heard of the idea!

 I still hope to be pleasantly surprised

26/03/2012 at 14:34

I wouldnt want to be barefoot where i normally run in NI - warm dog shit might feel nice between the toes but it's not for me.

26/03/2012 at 14:57
madmickie wrote (see)

I wouldnt want to be barefoot where i normally run in NI - warm dog shit might feel nice between the toes but it's not for me.


Yeah, our towns are plastered with the stuff, but have you thought about trying any minimalist shoes? FiveFingers? Terra Plana?
26/03/2012 at 18:53
No. I wouldn't mind trying them I guess. But not something I'm pursuing at the moment.
26/03/2012 at 18:57
My uncle runs ins VFF's around Belvoir direction, so they do exist in NI! I've just bought a pair of Kinvara's, and am toying with the idea of a pair of Hattori's.
04/04/2012 at 16:27
I've just searched for barefoot runners in NI. I'm based in East Belfast and haven't run barefoot yet but would very much like to try.

I currently run in heavy control shoes (Saucony Progrid stabil) so need to take it easy. Any advice?

04/04/2012 at 17:26
Can't imagine barefoot running here, have done it on holiday before on sandy beaches.
05/04/2012 at 13:55
flemming wrote (see)
I've just searched for barefoot runners in NI. I'm based in East Belfast and haven't run barefoot yet but would very much like to try. I currently run in heavy control shoes (Saucony Progrid stabil) so need to take it easy. Any advice?


There's plenty of advice about it right here on Runner's World if you search the forums. Best piece of advice I can think of for any beginner is to take it VERY slow. It's like your body is learning how to run all over again. 

 I recommend buying a pair of minimalist running shoes to build up confidence. Most of the time, you can't go wrong with Vibram FiveFingers in spite of their appearance and price. The only other brand I've tested is Merrel. The Merrel Trail Glove didn't work so well for me as the arches were too tight, restricting blood flow. But what shoes don't fit me might be just fine for you. I wish I could recommend a good pair of "cheap" minimalist running shoes but personally I'm still hunting for those myself. I've heard some people go running in wetsuit slippers and they don't cost much Saucony have recently released their own minimalist model called the Hattori but I have no idea how they perform. Annoyingly, many of these "soft and flexible" minimalist shoes do have a breaking in period during which the exposed seams might actually cause friction burns. You'd then have to cover those with a plaster.

I can't emphasise enough the importance of taking it slowly. Your first run will be very, very short (mine was only about 10 minutes). Your calf muscles will tighten up quite quickly so be careful not to cause yourself an injury. Despite some of the trouble you can go through building strength and callouses, remember the main argument for barefoot / minimalist running is that you are using muscles that wouldn't be used (and really should be) if you were heel-striking in cushioned shoes. Also, you are taking away a lot of the impact forces on your knee and hip joints.

Search for "HowToRunBarefoot" on Youtube aswell. It's a good tutorial.

24/04/2012 at 15:13
I'm a barefooter here in NI!

I have a pair of Vivo minimalist shoes that I wear every day, and I run in those or totally barefoot on the beach (North Down).

Saying that I'm still new to it, and didn't have time (as you say, it needs to be taken slowly) to train barefoot and also mile build for the London marathon. So I ran that at the weekend in my normal runners, and mostly trained in them too. Despite that, I felt that the runs I did do in my Vivos really helped my form.

Now I get to go back to my Vivos full time. Hooray! If only there were some barefoot races in NI!
24/04/2012 at 17:04
I agree with the advice ref taking it slow. I've dabbled a bit on the north coast beaches.

If the Portrush parkrun on East Strand goes ahead I would do it. As for barefoot races, just run nirmal road races etc barefoot? If you want to forefoot strike you can in 'normal' shoes you just have to work at it.

Good luck.
05/05/2012 at 10:03

Hey there, just found this thread. Firstly, I'm not Lorraine, I'm her husband, Dave! I have been running barefoot (properly barefoot) in Belfast for about 3/4 weeks now, treadmill at first and now out on the roads. I've been blogging it here:

http://deathontwo.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/the-most-likely-cause-of-injury-will-be-a-car-hitting-me/

A few previous posts also refer to it. Ken Bob Saxton (one of the barefoot gurus - check his book on amazon) recommends starting out totally barefoot first, then using VFFs etc if you need to. His reasoning is that running unshod makes you slow down and listen to your body, VFFs allow you to run too much too soon and can cause injuries. So far so good... it's really not as mad as it seems... It's early days yet, but I'm up to about 18-20 minute runs now with only the occasional light bruise from stones!

Edited: 05/05/2012 at 10:04
05/05/2012 at 16:44

Bit of late notice maybe, but barefoot.ie have a run on tomorrow in Dublin.  Details are up on their facebook page and website.

I enjoy going barefoot when I can and wearing my Vibram Classics when I can't.  I'm hoping it will help to naturally strengthen up my feet and joints.  But I'm not brave enough to go running in them (though do the odd wee bit here and there whilst out walking the dogs) not proper running anyway.

I'd like to get another pair of VFFs for walking on stoney forest trails, not sure which ones to go for though.

27/07/2012 at 15:10
Lorraine Thompson 2 wrote (see)

Hey there, just found this thread. Firstly, I'm not Lorraine, I'm her husband, Dave! I have been running barefoot (properly barefoot) in Belfast for about 3/4 weeks now, treadmill at first and now out on the roads. I've been blogging it here:

http://deathontwo.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/the-most-likely-cause-of-injury-will-be-a-car-hitting-me/

A few previous posts also refer to it. Ken Bob Saxton (one of the barefoot gurus - check his book on amazon) recommends starting out totally barefoot first, then using VFFs etc if you need to. His reasoning is that running unshod makes you slow down and listen to your body, VFFs allow you to run too much too soon and can cause injuries. So far so good... it's really not as mad as it seems... It's early days yet, but I'm up to about 18-20 minute runs now with only the occasional light bruise from stones!

Hi Dave,

I'll definitely be keeping up with that blog So you were running barefoot down Ormeau Road? Great to see someone else in this country so enthusiastic (and with more bravery than me). I hope you'll be able to influence other runners here

The only town locations I've managed to run around completely barefoot are Six Mile Park in Ballyclare (a couple of times last summer) and Costa Adeje in Tenerife, but Tenerife doesn't count :P I've run in the VFF's all over Ballyclare and also along Hazelbank. I ran around Belfast once in the Merrel Trail Gloves and often wear them as casual shoes.

Edited: 27/07/2012 at 16:02
27/07/2012 at 16:09
Evie May wrote (see)

Bit of late notice maybe, but barefoot.ie have a run on tomorrow in Dublin.  Details are up on their facebook page and website.

I enjoy going barefoot when I can and wearing my Vibram Classics when I can't.  I'm hoping it will help to naturally strengthen up my feet and joints.  But I'm not brave enough to go running in them (though do the odd wee bit here and there whilst out walking the dogs) not proper running anyway.

I'd like to get another pair of VFFs for walking on stoney forest trails, not sure which ones to go for though.

Vibram have a shoe called the KSO Trek with a slightly deeper tread on them. They seem to advertise them as an offroad shoe but I haven't tried them.

27/07/2012 at 19:34
 
Tim Khanna wrote (see)
Evie May wrote (see)

Bit of late notice maybe, but barefoot.ie have a run on tomorrow in Dublin.  Details are up on their facebook page and website.

I enjoy going barefoot when I can and wearing my Vibram Classics when I can't.  I'm hoping it will help to naturally strengthen up my feet and joints.  But I'm not brave enough to go running in them (though do the odd wee bit here and there whilst out walking the dogs) not proper running anyway.

I'd like to get another pair of VFFs for walking on stoney forest trails, not sure which ones to go for though.

Vibram have a shoe called the KSO Trek with a slightly deeper tread on them. They seem to advertise them as an offroad shoe but I haven't tried them.

Thanks for the tip, been looking at KSOs, Bikilas and the Spyridons.  Will take a look at the KSO Trek now.   Speeds have also been recommended to me, but I don't like the look of those, do you have any experiance of them?

Edited: 27/07/2012 at 19:36
28/07/2012 at 10:31
Evie May wrote (see)
 
Tim Khanna wrote (see)
Evie May wrote (see)

Bit of late notice maybe, but barefoot.ie have a run on tomorrow in Dublin.  Details are up on their facebook page and website.

I enjoy going barefoot when I can and wearing my Vibram Classics when I can't.  I'm hoping it will help to naturally strengthen up my feet and joints.  But I'm not brave enough to go running in them (though do the odd wee bit here and there whilst out walking the dogs) not proper running anyway.

I'd like to get another pair of VFFs for walking on stoney forest trails, not sure which ones to go for though.

Vibram have a shoe called the KSO Trek with a slightly deeper tread on them. They seem to advertise them as an offroad shoe but I haven't tried them.

Thanks for the tip, been looking at KSOs, Bikilas and the Spyridons.  Will take a look at the KSO Trek now.   Speeds have also been recommended to me, but I don't like the look of those, do you have any experiance of them?

I've only tried the KSO. If I was buying another pair I'd go for the Trek Sport.

28/07/2012 at 12:09
Tim Khanna wrote (see)
 

I've only tried the KSO. If I was buying another pair I'd go for the Trek Sport.


Good to know, thanks.

03/01/2013 at 22:15
I've been barefooting for about four years or so now and live in Whitehead!
I'm so glad I threw away all my old cumbersome runners and casual shoes, I've found my feet have become more flexible as well as stronger, lower limb joints seem to have improved from the better running posture too. it's a simple fact that our feet did'nt evolve to be encased in big lumps of foam! It's great to hear the are others catching on to the benefits too.
I ordered my first set of vibram kso's from the states before they were available here and then got some of the leather kso treks from the same retailer. They're great shoes . But I have poor circulation in my feet (raynuads) so do most of my mileage in merrell trail gloves or vivo barefoot shoes now as they allow me to wear warm socks underneath, especially in the winter.
I've actually found the biggest improvements in foot health coming from wearing minimalist/barefoot shoes every day for work and recreation rather than simply using them for training. Vivobarefoot do some great casual shoes, I wonder if anyone else is finding the same benefits?

Also, I've been using inov8's bare grip 200 shoes for off road racing in 2012 and really like them for a near barefoot feel with tonnes of grip. The likes of the kso treks are useless for bombing down Slieve Donard especially given the amount of rainfall this year!
05/05/2013 at 15:34

I know it's a bit late to ask this question but is anyone else running the Belfast Marathon in minimalist shoes (or even barefoot) tomorrow? I'll be in my VFF KomodoSport LS. Yes, I went for those instead of the Trek Sport because they're a bit more up to date and have nicer treads.

04/07/2013 at 10:53

Yes mate. I've been running barefoot for about a year now. 

Ran a leg of the Belfast marathon this year barefoot, the Ards Half Marathon this year barefoot and hope to run the Belfast half in September barefoot.  

I run the coastline and trails in Crawfordsburn, barefoot, and VFFs on the roads. 

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