Talkback: Dare to Bare: The Truth about Barefoot Running

13 messages
05/03/2012 at 21:45

Are Nike Free minimalist? Well, compare them to something like the "Invisible Shoes", which are really sandals made out of a thin piece of rubber.

In short, just because some company says "minimal" or "barefoot" that doesn't mean they are.

And even though Vivo says their shoes are only 4mm thick at the soles (same as the Invisible Shoe), they have MUCH less "barefoot feel" because the sole is stiffer.

So, even in the minimal world, language is still not quite clear or standardized, and this could cause some problems.

06/03/2012 at 19:47

Hi Lou

Yes I think I make that point in the article - some companies just stick the word 'natural' or 'minimal' on their products to make them more marketable when they're anything but.

Have to disagree about VBs though - they are super-flexible - and if you take out the insole (which is advised on the box) then groundfeel is excellent. A bit too good methinks when I'm running up the stony path sometimes!

06/03/2012 at 21:11

Minimalist running has been very good to me, going from an injured 125 miles a year to an uninjured 650 miles a year.

 Barefoot hasn't been quite so kind however, as my form is not quite there yet, and there is no where to hide.  Minimalist shoes, whether trail gloves or huaraches can hide form defects and let you run faster.  I've had several foot shredding runs in barefeet.  I'm still learning though

07/03/2012 at 19:08

Yes, it is about running form. And the best (only?) way to learn good running form is to let the nerve endings in your feet do what they were designed to do - feel the ground. It just doesn't work the same when you have a layer of rubber bandaging your feet. When else have you worn a rubber/latex sheath?

Minimalist shoes are causing an epidemic of stress fractures, which are used to blame "barefoot" running! Save your regular $100 shoe payments, plus medical bills. Use what you were given. The adjustment will take a few months, but you'll be so much happier. I speak from experience of overcoming chronic shin splints, ITBS and plantar fasciitis.

Run Barefoot Run Healthy <-Now at an Amazon near you.

07/03/2012 at 22:26
Ashish Mukharji wrote (see)

 When else have you worn a rubber/latex sheath?


Ooooh matron
08/03/2012 at 14:49

I bought a pair of Brooks Pure at the end of January and broke them in gradually. 1 run per week, then 2 and so on. It is a lot of fun studying your own style, like learning to walk again, trying it slow, then fast, noticing your different footfalls etc.

The end result after 2 months? My RE pace has gone from 5.0 mpk to 4.5 mpk, my Yasso pace has gone from 3.6 mpk to 3.42 mpk and I have no plantar or achilles problems after a 40 km run - what's really amazing is that none of this feels any harder then before.

The real tests are about to come when I run the Stramilano Half Marathon on 25 March then the Milan Marathon on 15th April.

I am quietly confident. 

08/03/2012 at 15:56
Ashish Mukharji wrote (see)

Yes, it is about running form. And the best (only?) way to learn good running form is to let the nerve endings in your feet do what they were designed to do - feel the ground. It just doesn't work the same when you have a layer of rubber bandaging your feet. When else have you worn a rubber/latex sheath?

Minimalist shoes are causing an epidemic of stress fractures, which are used to blame "barefoot" running! Save your regular $100 shoe payments, plus medical bills. Use what you were given. The adjustment will take a few months, but you'll be so much happier. I speak from experience of overcoming chronic shin splints, ITBS and plantar fasciitis.

Run Barefoot Run Healthy <-Now at an Amazon near you.

Do you have any evidence for the 'epidemic of stress fractures', or a comparison in terms of the number of injuries through minimalist running compared to other runners (either those running barefoot or those running in more 'traditional' style shoes)?

Or is it just anecdotal evidence?

08/03/2012 at 15:59
Ashish Mukharji wrote (see)

Yes, it is about running form. And the best (only?) way to learn good running form is to let the nerve endings in your feet do what they were designed to do - feel the ground. It just doesn't work the same when you have a layer of rubber bandaging your feet. When else have you worn a rubber/latex sheath?

Minimalist shoes are causing an epidemic of stress fractures, which are used to blame "barefoot" running! Save your regular $100 shoe payments, plus medical bills. Use what you were given. The adjustment will take a few months, but you'll be so much happier. I speak from experience of overcoming chronic shin splints, ITBS and plantar fasciitis.

Run Barefoot Run Healthy <-Now at an Amazon near you.

Do you have any evidence for the 'epidemic of stress fractures', or a comparison in terms of the number of injuries through 'minimalist' running compared to other runners (either those running barefoot or those running in more 'traditional' style shoes)?

Or is it just anecdotal evidence?

01/04/2012 at 19:40

Essentially one can label shoes as minimalist/"barefoot" or "traditional", by the type of injuries runners tend to incure while running in them.

"Traditional" running shoes comfortably allow runners to land with excess impact, especially heel-striking (as well as other forces, including skidding, scuffing, etc.). Therefore, we tend to see more chronic knee and back pain caused by repeated excess impact over many miles.

Minimalist (or "Barefoot") shoes make heel-striking less comfortable, and if anyone has read Dr. Lieberman's website, or McDougall's book "Born to Run" people running in these "shoes" tend to use more of a fore-foot landing/strike.

The problem is they often adapt only a fore-foot landing, and change little else (relaxing, bending the knees, letting the heels touch down), then they put excess stress on the calves, achilles, and the foot itself (which now has none of the support it may have become used to - lazy - over the past years/decades of running in highly supportive shoes), leading to stress fractures in the feet (usually proceeded by sore calves and Achilles).

25/04/2012 at 15:51

Welcome to the forum, Ken. I really hope you stick around. 

28/04/2012 at 05:31
I've been running in vibram five fingers for over a year now, my feet and legs are so much stronger. The concern I have is what shoe should i run a marathon in? For over six years ive been using new balance trainers which are good for some one who is 6ft 2in and 89kg, but i now find them really cumbersome and heavy on my feet...surely i shouldnt run a marathon in my vibram five fingers??
06/06/2012 at 16:38

I have just tried running barefoot following 15 years or so of barely running because I have been in so much pain with shin splints and achilles tendon injuries.

 I am pain free when I run barefoot. The physics makes perfect sense to me. I wish that more people looked at the science.

 I will be very happy indeed if I can go back to running, having once been a promising fell-runner ticking off elite distances as if they were a stroll in the park. I am astounded at how good the foot is at dealing with the forces of impact barefoot. It works how it was designed to work. If you think this is a question of form then you are being over-tolerant of people who support incorrect science. Barefoot is how we were made, barefoot is how we should go. No contest. Problems increase when we increase distance and footfalls. No puzzling contradictions there.

30/11/2012 at 06:11

running barefoot wont make anyone tougher tougher, just made oneself more attentive to ones own body and the surroundings. As the old Tarahumara saying goes :

“If you run with the earth and you run on the earth, you can run forever”

Check out the details in the blog written by Kowsik : http://freeradical.me/2012/11/09/does-running-barefoot-make-you-a-tough-guy/


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