5 & 1/18 Secrets to Blistered Feet & Fouled Shoes Why I hate Vibram Five Fingers

  1. Double Bubble Blisters

    Vibrams will make your feet look as if they were dipped in hot lava. Monstrous, ugly

    A woman wears Vibram
    Image via Wikipedia

    oozing blisters burst like bubbles in cannibal stew.The shoes are  elegant black gardens for world class germs. Only infection can blossom in such foul ground.

  2. Hot Brewed Stench

    Vibrams can brew a wicked and unforgivable stench. It’s a funky and deeply disturbing odor. I like to imagine there is an organic exterminator who uses the Vibram fumes to kill weeds and maybe even as a replacement for “bug bomb” in a toxic tent.

  3. Sole Shock

    Vibrams do offer some minor arch support and the sole is relatively thick for a barefoot shoe. As a result, some runners still heel strike when they wear them. In fact, Oberman got a stress fracture from running with a heavy stride in Vibrams.

  4. Stupid as Blue Mountains

    The toe glove/squid mitten is dumb. The forced separation of the toes does nothing for your foot. It’s just a marketing gimmick–kind like those stupid Coors Cold Activated Bottles; even if the mountain’s are blue, you’re better off eating yellow snow.

  5. Shoe Struggles

    It took me 5 minutes to get the damned  things on my foot. Sandals take less than a minute and that includes a custom, gladiator style lace.

    5 & 1/18. Vibrams have too many pronunciations (eg vEEbrUM, vEEbrAM, v-EYE-brum, v-EYEbrAM. I’m sure there are others). Sandals have one.

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DIY Running Sandals / Authentic Barefoot Shoes

DIY Sandal
Do It Yourself Tarahumara / Ruramari

Have you ever wanted to make your own running shoes? Steven makes it easy with his step by step Tarahumara Running Sandal Kits. He shows you everything you need to know to build a custom running sandal.

If you’re not into DIY, Invisible Shoes will also cut and construct a custom shoe for you. You just trace your foot and mail them the template.

If you’re going to run in a barefoot shoe, but don’t want to spend too much money for a running sandal, I highly recommend Invisible Shoes.

BTW, you can use Steven’s  excellent instructional videos to make your own Tarahumara running sandals out of other materials. I built some out of cardboard, oven mitts, and an old doormat. I use the oven-mit sandals for treadmill running. (The cardboard sandals were a joke.)


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3 More Secrets to Joyful Barefoot Running

  1. Run on Soft, Level Terrain

    Running straight bare on concrete hammers your feet hard. If you start out this way, you’ll most likely suffer from top of foot pain, achilles aches, and plantar faccitis. Running barefoot on concrete is ADVANCED–but definitely something to strive for because you look so damn cool running barefoot on the black asphalt. It’s entertaining just to watch the puzzled expressions of onlookers. You also learn right way about the difference between children and adults. Usually children will ask you why you’re running barefoot. They want to understand you–to fit you into their world. Most other adults think they know where you belong in their tiny world. They say thing like, “Put on some shoes.” “You forgot your shoes.” or “You’ll ruin your feet.” There are a variety of comebacks for these remarks. I will cover them in my next podcast. But beginners should not have to worry too much about such comments because running barefoot on pavement is not for beginners.

    A nice run around the soft grass of a local park or baseball diamond can instantly reveal joys of barefoot running without stressing your feet too much. When running on grass, AVOID the PERIMETER, WHERE the GRASS MEETS THE ROAD. These places are treacherous for bare-footers. They are minefields of shattered glass, rusty screws, and dirty condoms. Seriously, you don’t want step any of that with naked feet. USUALLY, the interior grass is safer, but you should always be diligent when running barefoot on any surface.

    As the skin of sole thickens, you’ll be able to stomp over most road hazards with little risk. I’ve accidentally stepped on glass. To my surprise, my bare foot broke the glass and I was unharmed. I don’t recommend it, but the skin on the sole your foot is pretty damn tough.

    Running barefoot on concrete in rain also increases the chances of cuts. The rain drains the super protection of your sole by turning the hard skin into mush. The one serious cut I got was from running barefoot was in the rain. I stepped on a shard of clear glass. It was impossible to spot in the fat Oregon rain, which pops the instant it hits the ground–quite lovely in its own way. I was able to dig the shard of glass from my foot on the curb, but it did draw blood.

  2. Forefoot/MidFoot Strike, Soft Stride

    I have a collection of videos about the every so mystical barefoot stride. Watch them. Here are two keys to a good barefoot stride: First Key: forefoot/midfoot strike: You should NOT lead with your heal when running barefoot. Instead your forefoot should land first, followed by a soft tap of the heel. The Second Key: Soft Stride. You are ACTIVELY TRYING to DECREASE THE FORCE WITH WHICH YOUR FOOT HITS THE GROUND. Wearing a necklace will help you track your stride. I have written that in many posts because it’s so damn important. Speed will come later–and it will come. When you’re starting out, it’s better to go slow and soft.

  3. Use “Barefoot” Shoes

    Although Barefoot shoes are for experienced barefoot runners, they can help you. Barefoot shoes are great for trail runs. They give the feel of bare-footing with some protection and since the trail is usually soft, you don’t have as many impact driven issue as you do on concrete. But you still have to seek a soft stride and refrain from the deadly heel strike.

The Secret to Superhuman Feet Finally Revealed

Have you ever wished for steel feet?

Ballerinas have unlocked the secret to superhuman foot strength. Ballet is insanely hard on feet; dancers suffer the same types of repetitive foot and strain injuries that barefoot runners have to endure. Ballerinas also have to abide by strict schedules and rigorous training. Over the years they have developed a system of strengthening their feet to superhuman levels. Here are some of their secrets.

  1. Secret Ballet Foot Stretches

    Ballerina Foot Stretches.

  2. Esoteric Top of Foot and Toe Stretches

    Secret Stretch moves.

  3. The Occult Power of Ballerina Footwear

    Ballerina Flats are ideal for barefoot runners, they have all of the qualities of “barefoot shoes” without the nasty mark-up. They are also designed to mold to the your foot and are perfectly suited to running.

    The Samra Ballet Flat/Barefoot Running Shoe is particularly suited to barefoot running. Flats are slightly less breathable than some of the expensive barefoot shoes, but they work just as well and cost a heck of lot less.

  4. Sublime Energy of the Tutu

    There is a mysterious quality to fabric of the tutu. It is both opaque and transparent. If a man wears a tutu while he runs barefoot, it will make other drunken males want to chase him, thereby increasing his speed training. Plus, he’ll look absolutely fabulous whilst staying in shape.

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What Everybody Ought to Know about Barefoot Shoes

Did you know that Bare foot shoes are for ADVANCED BAREFOOT RUNNERS?

Nike, Tera Plana, and, heck, even Chris MacDougal won’t say that aloud. But it’s true. The fact is if you simply slap on some Vivo Barefoot Kalis and run as fast and as far as you normally do in traditional shoes, YOU WILL PROBABLY SEVERELY INJURE YOURSELF.

Just listen to what Barefoot Ted has to say to beginning barefoot runners:
“[Barefoot Running] is not good if you are thinking it is some sort of cure-all that only requires taking off your shoes and starting to run injury free without radical changes in the way you may have been thinking of running up to now. If your running strategy has been about very specific time or distance goals, and you have been willing to push through pain to injury, then I would caution you: your bare feet will not allow you to continue this way. ”

Besides the Ridiculous Name, What’s Wrong with “Barefoot Shoes”?

First Consider the Qualities of Barefoot Shoes:

  • ZERO arch support

    If you wear shoes, your arch is weak. Running improperly or properly without it will put stress on your arch. Too much stress means injury.

  • ZERO heel cushioning

    This means your foot hits flat, causing your Achilles tendon to stretch. Regular shoes baby your Achilles. If you put too much stress on your Achilles, it can SNAP leaving you in a world of misery: surgery, cast, and lots of physical therapy.

  • ZERO stability or motion control

    You will automatically pronate when you run without shoes–shoe padding has prevented you from pronating for as long as you have been running. Pronation is nature’s course, but when you start to pronate after years of “forced stability,” you’re knees and lower leg won’t be ready for it.


    Barefoot shoes allow your toes to splay. This helps with impact. But some of your bones may be stiff from lack of use, which can result in aches.

The problem isn’t barefoot shoes. It’s what they allow you to do: GO TOO FAR OR RUN TOO FAST. The protective sole on barefoot shoes allows you run further than you would in bare feet. Furthermore, the sole, no matter how thin does provide some cushioning. The minor cushioning prevents all the necessary feedback you need to correct your stride. It also tends make you want to run as fast as you did when you wore regular shoes.

I know the forums are lighting up with barefoot running injuries. In fact most of the hits to my blog are for barefoot running injuries. Why? Because when you take off your shoes, you magnify everything. The world comes alive, but so do your atrophied muscles, and stiff tendons and ligaments. If you just “run through the pain”, your feet run the pain through you. If you piss them off too much, they’ll put you on your back.

I love to run, hike, and be barefoot. Removing my shoes has opened me to a world of new experience. But even the majestic Redwood only adds one ring a year.

There is a time for shoes and a time to be bare. The Barefoot Running Gods Welcome all. They told me that WEARING TRADITIONAL SHOES IS NOT A SIN WHEN MAKING THE TRANSITION TO BAREFOOT RUNNING.


That said.

Let your Feet be the Judge

If barefoot shoes alleviate some of straight bare ills, by all means wear them. The ultimate goal is running safely and as comfortably as possible.

Discover Nike’s Secret Barefoot Shoe

I wore my huaraches when I visited my brother. He works as junior footwear designer at Nike where he chooses fabrics, colors, and other materials for Nike Skateboard Shoes.

Although he doesn’t deal with running, he did attend a top secret running footwear show where he was privy to some of Nike’s minimalist / barefoot shoes. He whispered some top secret info about a line of Nike running shoes. He couldn’t say much about them; but, from what I gathered Nike’s going to introduce an environmentally friendly sleek line of shoes that will revolutionize bare foot shoes.

If you’ve seen any of my youtube videos, you will know that I am not fashionista or a huge fan of mega corporations such as Nike. However, I am stoked that Nike is taking minimalist running seriously. It’s almost as commendable as it is ironic. I mean even the Born to Run Store offers Nike. Yet there is an entire chapter devoted to how NIKE ripped runners apart with bad shoe design. Of course, Born to Run commits other sins as well. One of the worst is suggesting that you can just run miles and miles without shoes and it will cure all your running problems.

Personally, I’m not a fan of minimalist shoes. I think they trick you into running further than you should, resulting in injuries. I wear Ted’s Sandals, mostly for walking and when I visit my brother.

I highly recommend Barefoot Ken Bob’s Book if you want to learn to run barefoot. It’s a lot cheaper than Super Fancy Teched Out “Barefoot shoes”.

Also, you might want to watch the video at the bottom on my “how to run barefoot” page. It shows you get started SAFELY.

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.