Should we run barefoot?

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03/03/2005 at 10:25
There's been some heated debates here about whether to train in racing flats or go for more protection from a heavier shoe. Abebe Bikila famously won the Rome Olympic marathon in 2:15 barefoot, but then he went to to wear shoes in the 1964 Tokyo Marathon and won in 2:12.

Some of the issues are debated in this US Runners World article.

What do people think?
03/03/2005 at 10:40
And the Sports Science article referred to in the RW article is
03/03/2005 at 10:42
Sorry got the link wrong. It's here
cougie    pirate
03/03/2005 at 10:43
There is someone on the interweb that has a site about his barefoot running.

I'm happy sticking to shoes though, and avoiding glass and things sticking in.
03/03/2005 at 10:44
shoes do mess up your natural proprioception but in practical terms, like cougie says, we can't mange without them, since we are not running through hills in African mountains
03/03/2005 at 10:45
Me too, but then I've got softie feet. Presumably Bikila wasn't bothered by such things if he always ran barefoot.
03/03/2005 at 10:46
But the Rome marathon was on roads (not the African mountains), including a cobbled section.
03/03/2005 at 10:48
Even if we accept that we need to wear shoes, then there is still the argument as to whether we just need enough sole to protect from glass etc, rather than all that cushioning and motion control stuff.
03/03/2005 at 11:11
mumble mumble... POSE... mumble... minimalist footwear.. mumble...

;o)
03/03/2005 at 11:16
Dave
I see POSE as a separate issue, altho' I know that POSE advocates like the minimalist shoes approach. Let's not turn this into another POSE thread...
cougie    pirate
03/03/2005 at 11:19
It should be easy enough to do ourselves then - wear your racing flats on your long runs and see how your feet feel after.

It may take some time to get used to it though.

For me - I've never bothered with racing shoes - I do everything in my NB 854's so I can't test it !

One of my pals grew up in Africa, and she went barefoot all the time, and eventually got immune to the thorns and everything they had out there. Sounds tough to me !
03/03/2005 at 12:13
grass - no trouble barefoot
pavement - surprisingly no trouble barefoot (but have never done that much)
track - big problems for me - I think if I could toughen up enough for the track, then local streets would be fine.

I train in flats. Recently got a nasty glass cut from a 'puncture'. I think it would've been less severe in barefeet - would probably not've stuck in, and would've been only one painful step instead of a hundred (I completed the rep I was doing).

The cold is a problem in the UK - I won't go barefoot in the winter. Did some damage a couple of years ago.
03/03/2005 at 12:18
running bear - of course!
03/03/2005 at 12:19
As a kid used to spend much of the summers barefoot. Much of it with a wide variety of sticking plaster in lieu of socks.

Oh boy did it feel heavy and clunky and did my feet ache trying to get used to shoes in time for school in September.

(Great heavy had to be tied things)

Landing on heels barefoot quickly leads to ouch. Try running on any gravel path barefoot - you use forefoot quite naturally!

03/03/2005 at 12:42
you use the forefoot if you ar running fast as it is more efficient, but if going at a steady pace your heel should land first

(but i don't want to get into the POSE thing either)
03/03/2005 at 12:43
Rb - i assume you have heard the song "running bear"? I have got it stuck in my head for thew whole day now :-)
03/03/2005 at 12:45
Dunno, if you're running barefoot though. Does anyone here running barefoot heelstrike?

I well remember picking my way along the paths toes first at whatever speed..
03/03/2005 at 13:00
I'd like to be able to do it, but the most I have managed is running on thick grass with socks on.

Dave
Running bear - no pun intended actually!

Lurker
Thanks a lot mate! I'd forgotten about that song - it's now stuck in my head ;-)
03/03/2005 at 13:16
Have gone as high as 140mpw (over a month) with no trouble - all miles in racing flats.
Never got over 45mpw without problems in "normal" shoes...

Got up to 7.5M barefoot in the autumn, but the weather stopped me going any further. Hoping to make 15M barefoot a weekly session this year.

Built up (support/cushioning) footwear is a short term solution causing long term problems. That we put our kids in such things is a huge long term problem...
03/03/2005 at 13:20
Haven't done any actual barefoot yet, bit concerned about getting cuts etc. I do run in h-streets though and also wear vivo barefoot shoes all the time, so basically I am always walking barefoot. took sometime getting used to it, and still get the odd pain in my calves. I used to be under the impression that I needed loads of cushioning and padding as I suffer from arthritus. but since swapping to minimilast footwear it has altered the way I walk and run forcing me to land softer and therefore no jarring through the knee, hips and back. by the way been in contact with terra plana who make the vivo barefoot shoes, and there are plans to make a running version.
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