Start off Barefoot WALKING.
Just taking off your shoes and going for five mile barefoot run is sure way to get injured. It takes time for the muscles in your feet to recover from chronic shoe-wearing. The skin on the bottom of your will need to develop in order for you to run longer distances. Barefoot walking will strengthen your feet and reveal the pleasure of experiencing the world without shoes.
Always stretch before and AFTER your runs. Here are some excellent barefoot runner stretches.
Learn proper form on a treadmill, carpet, or front lawn (MAKE SURE YOU INSPECT THE LAWN CAREFULLY BEFORE RUNNING ON IT.)
You will have to own your treadmill for this because most health clubs don’t allow barefoot use of facilities. Not only do treadmills have a lower impact than concrete, but they also have a tough, yet soft(ish) surface, which is perfect for building up thick layers of skin on the soles of your feet. Treadmills will blister your feet if you run too long on them. When you run bare, you go from regular blisters to weird blood blisters, but they heal quickly. Start out SLOW–decrease the treadmill speed significantly. I find that making it go too fast leads to heel striking.
Your goal is to master good form, not run like the wind. Speed will come later. But good form will ensure that you don’t get injured and are able to run more often. Watch the stride technique videos for more information about proper running form. Running barefoot improper form will hurt and possible damage your feet; it may also cause other injuries such as ankle, knee, and back pain.
It also helps to have someone make a video of you running. WATCHING YOURSELF ON VIDEO IS THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE FORM. Be patient. When your body re-adjusts to barefoot activities, your stamina, enjoyment, and health will thrive.
“…the hallmark of my barefoot running philosophy is regaining connectedness, mindfulness, and presence in your running and in your body.” —Barefoot Ted