Should we run barefoot?

21 to 40 of 70 messages
03/03/2005 at 13:23
Stickless, trying running barefoot and heel-striking - it's impossible!

Your heel is the narrowest part of the foot, thus if pressure = force exerted / area; then assuming a constant exerted force, then with a smaller area you are putting more force through your legs.

Have jogged up and down the lounge barefoot, but wouldn't dream of doing it outdoors, would get covered in dog sh*t, small stones, fag packets etc.

Have just ordered my first pair of racing flats, will give them a go, but wouldn't dream of doing 140 in them.
03/03/2005 at 13:25
Whoops, not "putting more force through your legs, but "putting more pressure ..."
03/03/2005 at 13:29
Pantman I agree about putting children in built up shoes, my daughter has just started walking and clarks shoes have a heel on them! though we have her barefoot constantly indoors, I'm trying to find flat soled no padding shoes for toddlers, but it's not easy.
03/03/2005 at 13:53
I used to run barefoot for 50 minutes on the beach every day. Was fine - no probs at all, and I wear orthotics normally.
03/03/2005 at 13:54
I did a bit of barefoot running last summer, and the feet toughened up pretty quickly.
Not really a sensible option for running on cold London pavements at night though.

Oh - and Bryan - CMON ROVERS!

03/03/2005 at 14:04
I guess the question here is this: If the only concern is abrasion, temperature and the like, why not just run in thin soled surf shoes? I can at slow speeds, but cannot at faster speeds. Why? Because my body cannot efficiently absorb the extra shock created at faster speeds. These things take time...

However I have just started running in Nike Jarowe Waffles which are lighter than my usual NB150s (which are lighter than any other races left now they have been discontinued) as another step forward.

My son (just 8) does all his running in Nike "Aqua socks" - road, off-road, whatever. But then he can handle the shock. The other day he did a minute on the treadmill at 10mph (6mm pace) barefoot. All you could hear (apart from the motor) was a gentle and soft "pad", "pad"...

Moor man - we got some mini surf shoes by Speedo called "Splash socks" which come in baby sizes for our almost 2yr old. Cost £5 - protects the feet from abrasion - nought else. Most of our kids wear surf shoes outside - Clarks Doodles have become more minimalist in this years range and are OK too. NO shoes allowed inside.

03/03/2005 at 14:14
Morten Gamst Pedersen, tra-la-la-la-la!

(That one's for TMAP!)
03/03/2005 at 14:23
Do you think having low arches and unevenly bowed legs (like I do) makes a difference? I know that Noakes suggests that running shoes have made it possible for people with poor running mechanics to train at higher mileages and not get injured.

But what I'd REALLY like to know is why Bikila switched to shoes and managed a faster marathon. Presumably he tried both?

PS Hope your running is going OK. Your blog seems eerily quiet!
03/03/2005 at 14:31
rb I used to have flat feet/fallen arches until I swapped from heel striking to forefoot and minimal cushioning, now got springy highish arches.
03/03/2005 at 15:26
RB - your leg description matches mine. I used to suffer injuries on 10 mpw (shin splints and others). Since going to forefoot, arches risen slightly perhaps (but feet still flattish and hypermobile).

Now I do 70mpw (100 miles last week), all in flats.

I would guess Bikila wore shoes for cash(?) Or maybe he found them more comfortable. I don't see that it changes the fact he won a very tough Olympic marathon barefoot.
03/03/2005 at 15:48
Moor man - just out of interest, which part of the foot does your daughter walk on? I ask because I saw the recent film version of 'Vanity Fair' on monday, which includes a scene of a baby taking its first steps. There's a close-up of his feet, and he's clearly walking on the forefoot. 'Ah', thought I, 'one in the eye for those who say that heel-striking comes naturally'.

RB - if you're thinking of 'The Lore of Running', Noakes in that book seems to assume a heelstrike whenever he discusses footwear or gait. In that sense, his comment is probably true. What he doesn't do is offer a comparison between heelstrikers in technical shoes and forefoot runners in flats, which is what we really need in a discussion like this.
03/03/2005 at 15:49
I've done all my running in minimalist shoes since October, except when legs feeling particularly sore then gone in Ekidens.

As to barefoot - I was doing bits last summer. I found cricket grounds good - the tend to be well maintained, clear of glass and dog crap and nicely cut.
03/03/2005 at 15:59
its a developmental thing A, we start off toe walking and then move on the heel striking. If we continue to toe walk then the achilles gets tight and the result can be excess pronation to compensate for the lack of bend in the ankle joint
03/03/2005 at 16:14
In theory obviously
03/03/2005 at 17:07
Ok, I've been walking bare foot most mornings on the promenade and beach when walking the dogs in the morning - this was initially to toughen my skin up in preparation for a forthcoming trip to the mountains, as I always get blisters as I have such "baby skin" .....

However, I started bare foot walking about the same time as I really upped my weekly mileage - now I usually suffer from loads of niggles, calf strains, achillees and the like ---> now I seem to be quite clear of these inflictions.

I mentioned this to a mate who is a chiropractor etc as I felt walking barefoot was in some ways some fom of core stability exercise - he then mentioned that he has been reccommending to some of his patients a specifci brand of shoes - and what a coincidence - the shoes are based on barefoot technology!!

See here

Mind you I know what I'd rather do have my morning walk than fork out £120 + for a pair of shoes - mind you to be honest, I have not been able to walk much in the last couple of weeks in bare feet - and what a surprise, some of my niggles have come back!
03/03/2005 at 17:48
Moorman and FFG
I'm OK with the concept of forefoot striking at faster paces, but surely it's natural to heel strike when we walk, sprint on our toes, and do something in between, in between? It just doesn't feel right forefoot running at LSD speeds. Was it hard to get used to running like that?

Another thought. In this country (or London at least, I don't know about Barnsley or Maidstone ;-) ) people generally don't walk around barefoot in the street. Maybe we need to do that to rid ourselves of the need to wear shoes when we run.

When you see film of people in "less developed" countries walking around barefoot, I don't recall see them walking on toes like the baby in your example.
03/03/2005 at 17:51
Wow, I've just looked at the MTB website. Mindboggling!
03/03/2005 at 19:14
We always take our shoes off when in the house. In fact, when visiting other people's houses we take our shoes off there too - more out of courtesy then anything else.

I do most of my "barefoot" training by running in socks on the treadmill. Outside, I run midfoot in racing flats.

Living in London I haven't had the guts to run barefoot outside but would love to try. As an alternative, I have a pair of cheapo Tribord surf-shoes from Decathlon. The surfshoe rubber is too thin (a few mm) and quite soft. They'd wear out quickly outside. Therefore, last weekend I bought some glue-on rubber soles from Woolworths which I plan to stick onto the surf shoes to to make them durable. All for less then a tenner and some change for a MaccyD.

03/03/2005 at 21:50
RB - the forefoot walking thing was just a point of interest really. What does strike me though is that in most activities that require a combination of balance and power, and where shock absorption is crucial, the participants tend to be on their forefeet or toes (eg gymnastics, ballet, martial arts). I watched hours of olympic gymnastics in the summer, and didn't see a single heelstrike during any of the events. Naturally, all the competitors were either barefoot or in minimalist footwear.
03/03/2005 at 22:09
At a fitness weekend i went to in January I tried out those MBT shoes and to be honest wasn't that impressed. Not worth 120 quid in my opinion. Did an hours 'walking workout' and my feet hurt, real arch pain. Never have that when I walk barefoot.
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