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Running Barefoot

I love when the weather gets warmer and I can finally wear flip flops and let the wind blow through my toes. Feeing the cool grass beneath my feet is what spring is all about.

Other people have taken it to the next level and run barefoot. Some athletes train and compete shoeless, like South African runner Zola Budd, a former Olympic track and field competitor.

So why do they do it? To prove they can withstand pain? To show how tough they are? Have they lost their sneakers?

Some barefoot runners like the way the ground feels on the soles of their feet, like the grounding sensation that allows you to balance in a yoga pose. Plus shoes can be constricting, and when your feet are bare, you can really spread your toes out and grip the ground.

When you run barefoot, your muscles are in control instead of your shoe, so some feel it makes their feet stronger, which improves their performance. Shoes also add weight to your feet, so running barefoot could improve your speed.

Some barefoot runners say they have fewer injuries when running shoe-less. Sneakers can cause blisters, calluses, and toe numbness, so some runners do it because it's more comfortable.

Want to know some other reasons why people run barefoot? Then

Also, when you wear sneakers, you are depriving yourself of a very important aspect of running - feedback. The ability to know you are landing too hard, or on the wrong spot of your foot, is essential in learning to run gently, smoothly, efficiently, and without the risk of injury. Wearing sneakers makes your foot blind to those sensations.

Another great thing about running without sneaks is a greater sense of awareness. You pay more attention to your surroundings, especially to the ground below. You've got to be super focused so you don't step on a piece of glass or small pebble. You also become more aware of your form - being accurate with each stride and careful not to drag your toes.

Well, it's something to think about. Have any of you ever tried barefoot running? I'd love to hear about your experiences.


Dieter-Hornemann Dieter-Hornemann 6 years
I'm barefoot.
diorbaby diorbaby 10 years
I run barefoot. It feels so mch better than with shoes....I also hate to wear closed shoes though- I am definitly a high heels girl. I also wear flip-flops year round.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 10 years
I haven't tried it yet, but I just found some great shoes/foot glove called vibram fingers and they look really, really great, and they are for barefoot running. They are über light and thin but would protect your feet from glass etc.. Has anyone tried this "glove"? I want to try barefoot running, it looks very appealing.
Ardydub Ardydub 10 years
I clicked on "Post" when I meant to click on "Post and Subscribe" so I could read comments to my email. Sorry! So, comment away! I'd love to hear from you! Ardydub Barefoot runner
Ardydub Ardydub 10 years
I have been a barefoot runner for 3 years. It started when I had a bad case of plantar faciitis (inflammation of the tendon that runs down the bottom of the foot and connects at the bottom of the heel.) My running distances had gone from 10 miles per run to zero. I was about ready to give up on running when I came across a website touting the benefits of barefoot running. It made sense, I thought I'd try it. Within a couple of months of starting it, I was able to run 2 or 3 miles without any foot pain at all! I was converted. I've never gone back to running with shoes! The things people fear and worry about are simply just not a problem. Glass, rocks, gravel, poop, bugs, etc. You learn to avoid them or to just keep on going if you do happen to step on one of them. Barefoot running teaches you to run in a much more efficient, easy, natural way that reduces shock to a minimum - so feet, ankles, knees, hips and back are not worn down by running. In fact, they are strengthened and healed by it! Also, barefoot running reduces foot striking and 'shearing' so that even if you do step on rocks or glass, they don't do damage. I think that all negative comments about running barefoot are made by those who have never really tried it - they are speaking from what they imagine it might be like, but don't really know first hand. I know first hand - its primal, child-like, fun, interesting, challenging, and healthy! Ardydub Vancouver, WA Look for me - I'm the runner with happy feet and a happy smile!
darkoblivion darkoblivion 10 years
Considering I run mostly on gravel, I don't think this would be a good idea. ;)
XDeexDeeX XDeexDeeX 10 years
I LOVE to run or to walk barefoot. I do it sometimes if its in a small neighboorhood. =)
Tropicsara Tropicsara 10 years
I have always love to be barefoot since I was a kid. I'm used to being barefoot to run, exercises, I have never had any trouble with my feet.
rubialala rubialala 10 years
i love being barefoot, i would totally try running barefoot.
Beautifulbarbie Beautifulbarbie 10 years
I'd totally like to try this.
mellie_608 mellie_608 10 years
It would take a lot of practice for sure. I can't help but imagine all the NIKE execs cringing right now at the idea of no running shoes!!
kendallina kendallina 10 years
GirlInPink GirlInPink 10 years
It, not Ii... whoops.
GirlInPink GirlInPink 10 years
Ii also helps with shin splits, supposedly. Don't ask me how, thats just what my ultimate frisbee friends have told me!
SU3 SU3 10 years
Interesting! I'd be worried about stepping onto those tiny rocks though.. ouch!
photojunkie photojunkie 10 years
I run barefoot whenever i get chance, i used to wear trainers but i have a very high arch and could not find any that offered the comfort and one pair even caused me to get shin splints which i'm still recovering from i don't walk barefoot outside, but i do wear ballet pumps that are almost like going barefoot. i feel alot less pain barefoot than wearing shoes.
the-clam the-clam 10 years
I think if you have good running bio mechanics you would benefit more than if you had flat arches or lower back problems. I'm gonna try it sometime at the track anyway. It looks like fun!
Fitness Fitness 10 years
rigatoni - I hear you on that. I guess running without the cushion of shoes takes getting used to. The good thing is that I bet you don't slam as hard on your foot with each step because it would hurt more. I bet running barefoot would make me a more gentle and graceful runner.
Rigatoni Rigatoni 10 years
running barefoot sounds fun and all...but what about the consequences of not having the cushioning a show provides? I know that even if I run barefoot on soft surfaces, my feet still hurt because I'm used to running with shoes.
mrsgrillo mrsgrillo 10 years
I remember this awesome 400 meter runner in high school. she was so fast. I met her at track camp (yes, i know....i went to track camp) and we were talking (because i loved watching her run) and she ran all summer long barefoot in the town she lived in (small town in the midwest) and around the football field and the school grounds and i think around the college campus and then ran cross country barefoot when she could. she really thought it helped her a lot.
kiwitwist kiwitwist 10 years
I love being barefoot but not in public.... I don't think I could do that
CestLaVie CestLaVie 10 years
I would totally go for this, it may be a bit unsanitary depending on where you are but I love being barefoot.
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