Volunteer Barefoot Runners (and writers) Wanted

Help contribute to book on the benefits (or otherwise) or running barefoot.

1 to 20 of 43 messages
11/05/2010 at 18:00
I'm writing a book about running barefoot. Specifically, the adaptations (good and bad) experienced by ordinary runners in the early days of starting to run all, or some, of their miles barefoot.
We can read the research, find out about torque stresses of the joints and the effects of running unshod on a treadmill. But what about running in the real world? What can running barefoot offer the ordinary runner? Will it be good for us? Can it help us on the road to running injury free? What are the challenges that others faced when they started? How do they adapt and manage the transition?
These, and many others, are the questions I am looking to answer.
If you have recently started to run barefoot, I'd be interested in your experiences.
Please message me or look at the further info below for more details.
All contributors will receive a copy of book on publication.
More info here.
Read what others are writing here.
Graham Chapman
Edited: 12/05/2010 at 13:03
14/06/2010 at 14:06
Hi there, Graham.

I came across your post yesterday, just as I was researching barefoot running. I've been having a bit of a conflict lately between my motion-control road shoes and my very flexible off-road shoes, which offer virtually no support. I'm convinced the motion-control ones were doing more damage.

I've just run 30 hilly miles cross-country in the off-road ones and started to get twinges in the joints of one of my arches. I was about to go down the route of more support - probably through corrective insoles, when I heard about the barefoot runner, Chris McDougall, on Midweek on Radio 4.

This has made me think again and I've dug out a pair of Vivo Barefoot shoes I bought about five years ago and just done my first run - which strangely made my right thigh think it was doing a lot of work.

Anyway, if you're interested in hearing more of how I get on then I'm happy to let you know.

All the best

Dominic Weston
14/06/2010 at 20:37


I guess that Scunty's post has brought this thread back up as I hadn't seen it before. Like Scunty I came to conclusion quite some time ago that motion-control road shoes were probably causing me problems. Like him I had a couple of pairs of fell running shoes and felt that these, with little or no support or control, were far better even on road sections.

Also, like Scunty, I have only just heard about Chris McDougall (this time via the new Trail Running mag') and the fact that the only "shoes" he ever wears are the Vibram Five Fingers. I had never heard of them but checked them out, baught a pair and have started running in them.

Not, perhaps strictly "barefoot" but I'd be happy to pass on my thoughts if they might be of any interest.


Edited: 14/06/2010 at 20:39
15/06/2010 at 11:18

I also do a fair bit of barefoot and VFF running after falling out with my motion control shoes. I have the opinion that each persons biomechanical oddities are compensated for by the body itself and running in flat shoes or no shoes at all allow the body to do this effectively.

I run treadmill barefoot most mornings and I run in five fingers at all other times. Depending on conditions I often start and finish my fivefinger runs barefooted as well.

If I can be of help I'd be happy to do so

16/06/2010 at 09:52
Hi Buzzard and Rob,

I've seen Five Fingers but wondered if they would suit me as a couple of my toes are far from straight - how do you find them?


16/06/2010 at 10:00

Dominic - I have a couple of crooked toes as well and I think running barefoot and in VFF's is starting to help straighten them (although I'm not 100% as it's still early days yet) I don't find any problems from wearing VFF's though.

Do you have any pain from your toes at the moment? if you don't I doubt it will be a problem for you.

16/06/2010 at 10:05
No, no pain, just a couple of dodgy nails from wearing over-padded running shoes that were cramping my toes. Thanks for the information. D
16/06/2010 at 23:30

I don't think that anybody has "normal" feet Dominic and, since the toe sleeves(?) on the VFFs are very flexible, I doubt that you would have any trouble with them. The whole point of the VFFs is to allow your toes to move independantly, to help with the foot's natural cushioning, and so prevent the cramping so often found in "ordinary" running shoes.

Unfortunately It's not easy to find a VFF retailer and try them on before you buy which is why I got my first pair on e-bay...£50 was rather more acceptable for a punt than £80odd!

This site gives quite a lot of useful information on VFFs   http://birthdayshoes.com/

04/07/2010 at 22:25

I have just started barefoot training as insoles didnt seem to help my runners knee and ITB problem. Its early days but so far Im adapting well and my foot strike, running gait completely changed, I have less noticeably pain on my knee so invested in Vibram bikila running shoe which is due out shortly this month.

I have tried to vary where possible from smooth pavement to grass but hope the Vibrams will help me to train back to my marathon days

 Be cautious people of buying online Vibram as not many websites sell the original product at a discounted price, if its really cheap be careful, after investigating I found out that 175 websites are FAKE and use different materials on the shoes, a yellow octagon vibram symbol on the bottom is likely to mean its genuine.

I will be keeping up my barefoot training and really hope I can run my next marathon in sep with Vibram five fingers on my feet, better still barefoot! or perhaps with duck tape on my soles.....:0

09/07/2010 at 16:52
Thanks for these comments, apologies, I've been away from the forum for a while.
Yes, still looking for volunteers.
For those who have just started to run barefoot (or have good memories of when they did), then I'm looking for regular progress reports; during your first 15 weeks (and beyond if you like). The original post gives links to more details.
For those who are more established barefoot runners, then I have a questionnaire available which asks about your barefoot running journey; let me know if you'd like a copy; it'll only take a few minutes to complete and will help me to piece together what works and what doesn't with regards to barefoot running.
Personally, running barefoot has eliminated my plantar fasciitis which had been stubbornly and painfully resisting other supposed remedies. It's also made me realise that I don't need a medial post or orthotics in my shoes to stop me getting runner's knee. But I've also had to deal with the odd problem or two along the way.
Also eager to hear from people who've had no joy from barefoot running; so far, there are not many.
09/07/2010 at 20:27
Where do you want these updates? On here or email or what? I'm game, currently do about 2 runs a week barefoot depending on weather etc and usually do mixed terrain, the rest of my runs are in five fingers or aqua shoes. I've been running this way for about 3 months or so
09/07/2010 at 22:19
YB, if you look at GrahamC's first post on this thread you will see a link which leads to a runner's diary link. 
09/07/2010 at 22:21

YR do you mean, how come everyone reads it as yorkshire bob? does make me laugh

Cheers Buzzard, I looked at that before but didn't spend much time on it really. I'll check it out

09/07/2010 at 23:58

I did my first foray into BF running yesterday on the treadmill. I went for 10 minutes, probably with an average pace around 9-ish m/m. Getting off the 'mill and walking back to the changing room felt awesome - I felt that my walking form was the best it's ever been - my foot strike felt so natural. My form soon deteriorated once I got back into shoes.

The plan is to go BF on the 'mill at least twice a week, with somewhere around a 10% increase p/week. I could probably do 30-mins+ now without problem as I strike on the FF anyway and wear race shoes, but I'm being very conservative.

Keep up the good work Graham. There really aren't enough studies into BF running - you'll be doing the community a service.

10/07/2010 at 00:03
Sorry YR.....never could spell!
11/07/2010 at 11:44
Thanks for the encouragement, Is_it_safe?

You raise an important point, concerning the early adaption to barefoot running.
As you mention, your natural forefoot plant running style means that you'll probably adapt well to running without shoes. Most other runners, the vast majority who heel strike, will usually have to introduce barefoot running more gradually.
Nevertheless, you say that you'll be conservative in the introduction of barefoot running; this is sensible and absolutely vital for most people.
Good luck,
11/07/2010 at 17:33

Hi GrahamC,

Have a look  here - my earier posts have a bit about starting off bf.


12/07/2010 at 16:35
I prescribe to the barefoot style of running. I currently wear Newtons and Viabrims. If anyone has problem with Viabrims, they might want to transition to them by wearing toe socks. My hammertoes hurt so bad that I had to quit wearing Viabrims. It has been about three weeks since I started wearing toe socks in my running shoes. Today i put my Viabrims on and am wearing them now without pain. So, if anyone has bad hammertoes don't give up on the Viabrims ; try transitioning to them with toe socks. If it hadn't been for the barefoot style of running , I would not be running today. The positioning of the leg under the hips with the foot strike on the ball of the foot and a slight lean from the ankle has made my running effortless and enjoyable. Though I am not running barefoot, I have gotten away from the cushoning in the shoes but do have some protection on my feet with Newtons and Viabrims.
Edited: 12/07/2010 at 16:37
12/07/2010 at 16:42
I will be keeping up my barefoot training and really hope I can run my next marathon in sep with Vibram five fingers on my feet, better still barefoot! or perhaps with duck tape ADIDAS fludmotion shoes on my soles.
12/07/2010 at 21:15
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Edited: 12/07/2010 at 21:22
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