The Dirty Truth About Barefoot Shoes and Feet

Is running barefoot in barefoot shoes the same as straight barefoot running? Yes and No. Barefeet shoes do give you a better feel for the road than cushioned shoes, but they don’t automatically stop injuries. In fact, they can increase them.

Shoes such as Vivo, foot gloves and other minimalist shoes will not turn you into Barefoot Ted. To run barefoot is NOT to run naturally. Natural running happens when you’re a child, but once you put on shoes, your stride and body change. Just going shoeless will not save you from bad barefoot running form. In fact, BAREFOOT SHOES and BAD BAREFOOT TECHNIQUE can INCREASE BAREFOOT RUNNING PAIN and can CAUSE BAREFOOT RUNNING INJURIES such as stress fractures, tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.

The secret of natural running is LISTENING TO YOUR FEET and consciously seeking A LOW IMPACT STRIDE. Barefoot shoes are better than traditional shoes, but they do buffer you from the ground. They do muffle feedback. They also protect the sole of your foot; so, it’s much easier to run faster and further than you should. The skin on the bottom of your feet serves as an automatic distance indicator. If you can’t run a mile straight bare, you SHOULD NOT RUN TWO MILES IN BAREFOOT SHOES.

Natural running requires practice. Cushiony Shoes have altered your natural stride. Even when running in barefeet, it is possible to get injured by running with the same HARD SHOE STRIDE. I suffered a partial Achilles rupture from barefoot running. The injury was the result of a HEAVY IMPACT STRIDE and adding too many hills and miles in a short time. I also ran barefoot sprints, which did NOT help with the injury.

My recovery from the barefoot running injury has been swift, but I’ve discovered that barefoot running pain is usually the result of bad form. When learning to run without shoes, you shouldn’t as run fast as you would in shoes and your SHOULD NOT hear the SLAP of your feet on PAVEMENT when running barefoot. If you do, you’re running with TOO MUCH IMPACT. The beauty of running shoeless is the feedback you get from the ground and your body. The GOAL is TO DIMINISH IMPACT, not break world records. If you’re running at the SAME PACE BAREFOOT AS YOU WERE IN SHOES, YOU’RE RUNNING WAY TOO FAST FOR A BEGINNER.

SLOW & STEADY. If you want to discover how to start barefoot running, read my page about HOW TO LEARN SHOELESS RUNNING. I have videos with barefoot running tips and ways to avoid barefoot running injuries.