Any Barefoot Runners

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XtremeSki2001
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Any Barefoot Runners

Post by XtremeSki2001 » Thu May 05, 2011 4:21 pm

A few posters mentioned Barefoot Running in this thread http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=66794, but no one mentioned actually running barefoot.

Any Barefoot Runners?

After running the Broad Street Run in Philly for the second time this year - I still have some soreness. Primarily from issues with over-striding and heel strike. I recently started to ease into Barefoot Running by following this plan: http://zenhabits.net/barefoot-running/.

Any success stories?
A box of rain will ease the pain and love will see you through

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Post by modal » Thu May 05, 2011 4:28 pm

Several threads here.
www.runningahead.com

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Post by tetractys » Thu May 05, 2011 4:40 pm

I used to run barefoot in college during 1980-83. People kept looking at me funny and making exclamations. You have to have pretty tough feet, stay in the shade when it's hot out, stop as soon as things start feeling sore, and not do anything too forceful that will rip the skin off. -- Tet
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ryuns
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Post by ryuns » Thu May 05, 2011 4:54 pm

I've considered it but don't do enough running to give myself problems. When I do run, it's usually HIIT, so the mileage doesn't really add up. Also, for the only places I'd run, I'd need some FiveFingers or something, and I hear a lot of mixed reviews about them, from the perspective that sizing is so specific, some people just decide their feet weren't made for them.

I'm considering a compromise, such as the Merrell Barefoot http://www.zappos.com/merrell-barefoot- ... ?zlfid=111 which are a little more presentable. FiveFingers make you look like you're trying too hard :)

I just got "Born to Run" for my b-day, so that may inspire me a bit. Also, the next place I'm moving is close to a pretty affordable Crossfit gym, and I understand the minimalist shoes double well as weight-lifting shoes.

Ryan
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton

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Post by Sammy_M » Thu May 05, 2011 6:01 pm

I ran barefoot a little bit to get the form down, but now run in my "minimalist" Nike Frees (road) or New Balance MT101s (trail). Love them both.

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Post by XtremeSki2001 » Thu May 05, 2011 8:02 pm

Thanks for all the information and links!
Sammy_M wrote:I ran barefoot a little bit to get the form down, but now run in my "minimalist" Nike Frees (road) or New Balance MT101s (trail). Love them both.
Did you have to train a bit to go from shoes -> barefoot -> minimalist. I plan to do the same thing as running barefoot this winter in the NE won't work too well!!

I've been running now for almost two years so I figure two weeks of walking 1-2 miles a day barefoot and then doing 1/8 mile run, 1/4, 1/2 and so on the following weeks until I hit 3 miles. Once I get to 3 miles I figure I'll have the form down and be okay on minimalist shoes.
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Post by tim1999 » Thu May 05, 2011 8:17 pm

This is coming from an occasional runner who always wears shoes, but what could the benefit of barefoot running possibly be? Saving money on running shoes and getting occasional excitement from stepping on broken glass and sharp pebbles? Is this some kind of hippie minimalist thing? Please excuse my ignorance.

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Post by stlutz » Thu May 05, 2011 10:00 pm

The argument is that running shoes promote bad form and hence injuries. Running barefoot (or with minimalist shoes) forces you to shorten your stride, have better posture, and helps develop muscles in your foot that don't develop when you use shoes with arch support.

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Post by Scott S » Thu May 05, 2011 11:00 pm

I haven't done any recently, but I still wear my Vivos a lot. :razz:

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Post by CaliJim » Thu May 05, 2011 11:29 pm

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StoneReader
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Barefoot Experience

Post by StoneReader » Fri May 06, 2011 8:38 am

I started two years ago when I was 68, first on grass for about 4 months and then on asphalt and cement. My barefoot mileage now totals 781 miles.

The initial problems were from insufficiently long calf muscles and Achilles tendons and from sensitive soles of the feet. Wearing regular shoes with raised heels for so many years causes short tendons/muscles so it takes a little time ( ~4-6 weeks) to let them stretch and lengthen.

There is a seasonal problem with barefoot running. I can run on snow but running below ~28 F causes numb toes which you don't want because then you are unaware of the normal warning pains. And in mid summer, the blacktop gets very hot and you can get a low-grade burn that causes your feet to swell from it. So in mid summer, it is best to stick with grass.

Surprisingly, your feet do not become hard and calloused as you might think. The soles thicken but remain generally soft and pliable.

Fears of nails, glass, acorns, stones, etc. are overblown. With the larger objects, after a few months, your sole senses them immediately and forms around them (like cupping your hands) while your knee gives way. There are something like 200,000 nerve endings on your feet and once they are retrained, your feet react quickly to whatever is below them. So such larger objects actually hurt less with bare feet than clomping down on them with running shoes.

So far, I have never cut my feet. Three times, I have been stung by bees that got caught between my toes. In one running session, I was stung twice. The stings occurred on grass fields that have not been cut recently where clover was blooming and bees were feeding. If you scrape out the stinger immediately, the pain is gone in 15 minutes so it is more of a psychological than a physical problem.

There is one nagging worry that I do have and that is the chance of picking up parasites. For example, if you step on soil somewhere where that have pinworm larvae from animal/human feces, they can attach and bore through the soles of your feet and get into your circulatory system and other organs. And there may be other such parasites to consider. If you stick to paved paths, this is probably not a problem.

So the best compromise may be to buy some Five-Finger Vibrams or similar products. I use Vibrams now in mid summer and also in the winter. Also, I now go barefoot in the house all of the time.

One unexpected benefit has been that a couple of hammer toes have gradually straightened out over time. Another benefit is that your ankles strengthen from your foot adopting to the uneven micro terrain that a shoe sole usually spans so ice skating and in-line skating become easier.

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Post by 3CT_Paddler » Fri May 06, 2011 9:02 am

I haven't read Born to Run, but this article talks about possible increased injuries from barefoot running... http://running.competitor.com/2010/05/f ... emic_10118
Darwin Fogt, PT, owner of Evolution Physical Therapy in Culver City, CA, is alarmed by a stark new trend at his facility: runners with injuries caused by barefoot (or virtually barefoot) running. Fogt says he has four or five current patients with heel injuries clearly resulting from a switch to barefoot running and has recently treated another 12 to 15 others.
“That’s up from zero a year ago,” says Fogt.
“I see one injury over and over in the barefoot runners who come to me,” says Fogt: “plantar fasciitis.” A painful and difficult-to-overcome heel injury, plantar fasciitis accounts for less than 15 percent of all running injuries. The fact that it accounts for more than 90 percent of injuries in the barefoot runners Fogt sees suggests that it is barefoot running specifically, not overuse generally, that is causing these injuries.
Defenders of barefoot running contend that such injuries are easily avoided by a gradual adoption of the practice, but that wasn’t my experience (my first “barefoot” run was one minute). Moreover, I think that this contention that every barefoot running injury is an exception to the rule is a classic fallacy of faith-based versus evidence-based belief. As Koch puts it, “It’s totally misleading to tell people that when they get injured running in shoes, it’s the shoe’s fault, and when they get injured running barefoot, it’s the athlete’s fault. It makes no sense. You’re going to have injuries either way. It’s running.”
Overall the article doesn't present a conclusive study, but lists anecdotes from local PTs. So it is nothing definitive, but an interesting take from a skeptic. I don't think there are many conclusive studies one way or the other on this issue. There is a chance that this is a fad, and there is a chance that there is some truth to it... usually I am in the skeptics camp on things like this.

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Post by KyleAAA » Fri May 06, 2011 9:10 am

I tried it. Wasn't for me. It really messes your feet up. I just don't skimp money on shoes.

Like the poster above, I've not seen any conclusive studies to establish the safety of barefoot running. It seems to me there are far more dangers from barefoot running than potential benefits.

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Barefoot Walking

Post by StoneReader » Fri May 06, 2011 9:52 am

Barefoot walking is also another option to consider. Walking gives you many of the ankle and foot strengthening benefits associated with going barefoot without any danger of the injuries that are associated with barefoot running (or any type of running).

Because of the artificial shortness of calf muscles and Achilles tendons from using shoes, even barefoot walking requires a gradual adaptation and some change in the way that you walk -- more like creeping rather than marching.

The strangest thing is how much the sensitivity of soles of your feet drastically changes. Going barefoot the first time for just 50 feet can be painful. 6 months later, you can walk 8 miles on pavement, even though your feet have not become tough and calloused as one might think. It reminds me of the saddle soreness when you begin biking in the spring. Somehow the saddle soreness mysteriously goes away after the first few sessions even though you are obviously not building up callouses on your bottom. The nerve system on the soles of the feet must have to become accustomed to the new strange inputs. Otherwise, the system apparently mistakenly interprets such unexpected inputs as pain at first.

It's fun to try all of these things just to see how your body responds.

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Post by ThinkingRunner » Fri May 06, 2011 9:54 am

I don't run barefoot per se (other than occasional strides on a grassy infield) because the terrain doesn't permit it, but I am a strong proponent and practitioner of minimalism. I have been running in the range of 1200-1500 miles a year in shoes with nearly zero "padding" (Puma H-streets) for the past six years with absolutely no injuries. It has done wonders for my running form, efficiency and lower leg strength. Plus it gives you a better workout per unit distance because you are using additional muscle groups. The trick is to ease into it.

Prior to my "conversion", I ran in bulky, heavily-padded shoes and developed severe stress reactions on my shins due to overstriding and heel-striking. I'm finding running a lot more pleasant and pain-free after the switch.

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Post by FredPeterson » Fri May 06, 2011 11:22 am

stlutz wrote:The argument is that running shoes promote bad form and hence injuries. Running barefoot (or with minimalist shoes) forces you to shorten your stride, have better posture, and helps develop muscles in your foot that don't develop when you use shoes with arch support.
Shoes were developed for comfort and protection, never for making walking or running easier.

Little pre-occupied to hunt down the science, but its been proven the most effective and proper form for the foot is when it is allowed to touch the ground directly when impacting and pushing off.

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Post by Scott S » Fri May 06, 2011 11:33 am

I try to be as skeptical as possible, too, but some of this rubs me the wrong way.
3CT_Paddler wrote:I haven't read Born to Run, but this article talks about possible increased injuries from barefoot running... http://running.competitor.com/2010/05/f ... emic_10118
Darwin Fogt, PT, owner of Evolution Physical Therapy in Culver City, CA, is alarmed by a stark new trend at his facility: runners with injuries caused by barefoot (or virtually barefoot) running. Fogt says he has four or five current patients with heel injuries clearly resulting from a switch to barefoot running and has recently treated another 12 to 15 others.
“That’s up from zero a year ago,” says Fogt.
“I see one injury over and over in the barefoot runners who come to me,” says Fogt: “plantar fasciitis.” A painful and difficult-to-overcome heel injury, plantar fasciitis accounts for less than 15 percent of all running injuries. The fact that it accounts for more than 90 percent of injuries in the barefoot runners Fogt sees suggests that it is barefoot running specifically, not overuse generally, that is causing these injuries.
I dunno, I think it's fair to tell people who continue heel-striking that they're "doing it wrong." Running barefoot demands a change in technique, and if you aren't going to put some attention into it at first, it's probably not for you.
As Koch puts it, “It’s totally misleading to tell people that when they get injured running in shoes, it’s the shoe’s fault, and when they get injured running barefoot, it’s the athlete’s fault. It makes no sense. You’re going to have injuries either way. It’s running.”
People get plantar fasciitis wearing padded shoes, too, so I'd agree that anyone who just blames the wearing of shoes is oversimplifying the issue.
Darwin Fogt wrote:Defenders of barefoot running contend that such injuries are easily avoided by a gradual adoption of the practice, but that wasn’t my experience (my first “barefoot” run was one minute). Moreover, I think that this contention that every barefoot running injury is an exception to the rule is a classic fallacy of faith-based versus evidence-based belief.
Wow, a whole minute and no complete adaptation? His idea of "gradual" must irk the wife. :lol:

- Scott
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Post by KyleAAA » Fri May 06, 2011 11:35 am

ThinkingRunner wrote:I don't run barefoot per se (other than occasional strides on a grassy infield) because the terrain doesn't permit it, but I am a strong proponent and practitioner of minimalism. I have been running in the range of 1200-1500 miles a year in shoes with nearly zero "padding" (Puma H-streets) for the past six years with absolutely no injuries. It has done wonders for my running form, efficiency and lower leg strength. Plus it gives you a better workout per unit distance because you are using additional muscle groups. The trick is to ease into it.

Prior to my "conversion", I ran in bulky, heavily-padded shoes and developed severe stress reactions on my shins due to overstriding and heel-striking. I'm finding running a lot more pleasant and pain-free after the switch.
Here's my problem with that argument: your poor stride wasn't the result of your shoes, it was a result of you not bothering to learn to run correctly because you thought the shoes would protect you. If you were to put the shoes back on, you wouldn't suddenly start getting injuries again because now you've since learned how to run properly.

And anyway, if lower leg strength is a concern running should not be the exercise of choice to fix that.

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Post by ThinkingRunner » Fri May 06, 2011 11:50 am

KyleAAA wrote:
ThinkingRunner wrote:I don't run barefoot per se (other than occasional strides on a grassy infield) because the terrain doesn't permit it, but I am a strong proponent and practitioner of minimalism. I have been running in the range of 1200-1500 miles a year in shoes with nearly zero "padding" (Puma H-streets) for the past six years with absolutely no injuries. It has done wonders for my running form, efficiency and lower leg strength. Plus it gives you a better workout per unit distance because you are using additional muscle groups. The trick is to ease into it.

Prior to my "conversion", I ran in bulky, heavily-padded shoes and developed severe stress reactions on my shins due to overstriding and heel-striking. I'm finding running a lot more pleasant and pain-free after the switch.
Here's my problem with that argument: your poor stride wasn't the result of your shoes, it was a result of you not bothering to learn to run correctly because you thought the shoes would protect you. If you were to put the shoes back on, you wouldn't suddenly start getting injuries again because now you've since learned how to run properly.

And anyway, if lower leg strength is a concern running should not be the exercise of choice to fix that.
I'm not arguing anything, just sharing my experience as an avid long-time runner. If it helps someone, great. Take it for what it's worth.

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Post by XtremeSki2001 » Fri May 06, 2011 11:57 am

KyleAAA wrote:
ThinkingRunner wrote:I don't run barefoot per se (other than occasional strides on a grassy infield) because the terrain doesn't permit it, but I am a strong proponent and practitioner of minimalism. I have been running in the range of 1200-1500 miles a year in shoes with nearly zero "padding" (Puma H-streets) for the past six years with absolutely no injuries. It has done wonders for my running form, efficiency and lower leg strength. Plus it gives you a better workout per unit distance because you are using additional muscle groups. The trick is to ease into it.

Prior to my "conversion", I ran in bulky, heavily-padded shoes and developed severe stress reactions on my shins due to overstriding and heel-striking. I'm finding running a lot more pleasant and pain-free after the switch.
Here's my problem with that argument: your poor stride wasn't the result of your shoes, it was a result of you not bothering to learn to run correctly because you thought the shoes would protect you. If you were to put the shoes back on, you wouldn't suddenly start getting injuries again because now you've since learned how to run properly.

And anyway, if lower leg strength is a concern running should not be the exercise of choice to fix that.
Similar to ThinkingRunner I have the same issue - I develop stress fractures due to poor form. Unfortunately, I don't recall learning to run and since I've run this way for my whole life it's tough to re-learn the proper way. However, when I take off my shoes and try to run my form instantly changes - my over stride is gone, no more feel strike, etc.

For me the easier way to fix my form is to lose the shoes. Whether or not shoes caused me to learn improper form ... I really don't care 8) I just want my stress fractures in my shins to stop and if Barefoot Running doesn't do this I'll try something else.
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Post by cyclegirl » Fri May 06, 2011 1:11 pm

After reading Born to Run I purchased the Vibram Five Finger runner shoes. I really love them and now need a new pair. They are great for running on trails, grass, the beach or treadmills but for me not on pavement. I often speed walk in them too. I use to have trouble with my lower back and quit running for cycling but with the Five Fingers I don't have the problem.

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Post by gkaplan » Fri May 06, 2011 1:11 pm

I think I'm going to go up to my local running shop and buy those Five Finger shoes. How much do they run?

cycylegirl, you don't think they're appropriate for running on pavement?

(Edited to add last paragraph.)
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Post by XtremeSki2001 » Fri May 06, 2011 1:18 pm

gkaplan wrote:I think I'm going to go up to my local running shop and buy those Five Finger shoes. How much do they run?

cycylegirl, you don't think they're appropriate for running on pavement?

(Edited to add last paragraph.)
They're about $100. Generally from what I've read, they suggest going Barefoot for the first few months so you learn proper form. Supposedly Five Fingers may enable poor techniques. Quite a few people I know use them on pavement.
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Post by runthetrails » Fri May 06, 2011 1:43 pm

I'm easing towards lower-profile shoes. My last 2 pairs of running shoes were the Brooks Launch and Saucony Kinvara, which are lighter, have less cushioning and lower heel-to-toe offsets than my previous running shoes. I occasionally run in Nike Frees as well.

I've known several people who became injured when they switched over abruptly to minimalist shoes, like the Free and Vibrams. A gradual transition is the way to go.

I've wanted to try Vibrams but have been somewhat put off by their unorthodox look, with the individual toes. But Merrel has recently come out with a line which uses a Vibram sole and appeals to my aesthetics more. I just picked up a pair of these but am not running in them yet. See http://www.merrell.com/US/en/Barefoot_Collection.

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Post by gravlax » Fri May 06, 2011 1:52 pm

I love running in the Kinvaras. The Nike Frees just didn't fit my feet right.

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Post by kuttolas » Fri May 06, 2011 2:11 pm

I tried running barefoot on my treadmill couple of years ago, the results blew my mind. I used to keep detailed records of every run that I did those days, such as how much time it took me to get to quarter of a mile, half a mile etc

The very first day I ran barefoot, I ran 20% more distance in 30 minutes compared to my previous run of 30 minutes two days before. The reason, I believe is because my feet hurt a lot less running barefoot, instead of running in the expensive shoe that I had used before.

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Post by Ping Pong » Fri May 06, 2011 2:42 pm

In Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel" it is mentioned that a tribe of people have flattened, widened feet with "toes splayed wide" from a lifetime of not wearing shoes. From this, I would assume that going barefoot is bad, but the barefoot runners seem to think wearing shoes it bad. Is Diamond wrong about their feet flattening and widening from not wearing shoes?

Also, how do you know if you have good form? I know I'm doing something wrong, but the symptoms like inflammation don't show up until hours later, so it's hard to figure out what I'm doing wrong since I don't feel pain at the time.

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Purchasing Vibrams & Pros/Cons Bare Feet

Post by StoneReader » Fri May 06, 2011 5:05 pm

City Sports currently has a good sale on some models of Vibrams. The fitting scheme on either the City Sports site or the Vibram site will get you the correct size Vibram.

http://www.citysports.com/Vibram-Fivefi ... ale/Search

My personal favorites are the Vibram Treks (not on sale unfortunately).
Image
http://birthdayshoes.com/vibram-five-fi ... rek-review

What are my experiential benefits of going barefooted?

Some Benefits:

1) All of my recent (starting about the age of 62) problems with plantar fasciitis(PF) & metatarsalgia disappeared completely. This is a general experience of barefoot runners. How could this possibly be? Current thinking is that PF may be caused by circulation problems in the feet rather than muscle/tendon rips. Running barefoot allows all of your foot muscles to rhythmically contract/relax, which may greatly help the circulation of blood in your feet. http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=18933.

2) Your feet feel amazingly light running barefoot and your foot turnover rate and speed will noticeably increase if your heart-lung machine can handle it.

3) All the muscles of the foot and ankle get exercised. You'll find that on some days when you mentally don't feel like running, the 37 muscles in your feet which are now use to exercise will crave for some exercise like your pet dog. I never experience this odd feeling wearing shoes.

4) External shocks are minimized. You can measure this for yourself in an easy way. Try running shod with your teeth together -- they will rattle and may even chip. Then try it with bare feet .... no problem.

Some Drawbacks:

1) Some people experience ventral muscle pain on the tops of their feet. My guess is that this comes from straining to keep the front of the toes lifted up so they don't drag on the ground. In shoes, your foot is elevated and the front of the shoe curls up some to prevent this. I never had this problem but one of my running partners did.

2) Some people experience pain in the bursa adjacent to where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel. I have had some problems in this area, especially if I over tighten the heel strap when wearing my Vibram Treks.
Image
http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/sec05/ ... h072h.html

3) Initial soreness in the calf muscles and Achilles tendon because neither are not long enough to accommodate the lower heel position with bare feet as compared to shoes (about 10-14 mm difference).

3) It is possible that the force on the various joints could actually be greater with barefoot running despite news reports to the contrary. Internal forces generated by muscles crossing the joints to bend the joints are estimated to be ~50% higher than forces from external shocks such as landing on your heel in shoes. So the minimization of external forces shown in studies like those of Lieberman at Harvard may be overshadowed by higher internal forces. No one knows.

4) Exposure to possible parasites such as pinworms, especially in southern areas of the USA, that can enter via the sole of the bare foot. Completely preventable if you wear Vibrams or a similar shoe.

5) Stepping barefoot on bees in the grass -- stung 3 times between the toes in ~800 miles. Vibrams would have prevented these stings.

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Post by ryuns » Fri May 06, 2011 5:40 pm

I know it's totally worth it if they work, but the more I think about it, the harder it is for me to get over the $100+ price tag. I guess it's like prescription drugs, and they have to recoup all the R&D money or something. Oh well--I do have a $75 REI gift card burning a hole in my wallet.

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Post by XtremeSki2001 » Fri May 06, 2011 5:45 pm

StoneReader did you convert from shoes straight to Five Fingers or did you run barefoot for a bit first?
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Post by gkaplan » Fri May 06, 2011 6:01 pm

I think I'd have a difficult time running barefoot.
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Post by gotherelate » Fri May 06, 2011 8:13 pm

You should see my 3-year-old granddaughter.
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Post by Niko » Sat May 07, 2011 12:13 am

I started running when I was 12 years old. While in college and grad school, I started running longer distances, 15-20 miles on weekends and 5-8 miles during the week. I never suffered a single injury . . . until April 2004 when my knee started killing me. To this day I don't know the cause of the injury -- runners knee, ITB, I'm just not sure. Had an MRI done with no clear answer. Either way, it more or less sidelined my running until this year. Whenever I tried to run more than a few minutes, the pain would return. Within a few weeks in 2004, I went from running 30-50 miles/week to running 3-5 miles/week.

I read Born to Run earlier this year and picked up a pair of Vibram 5-Fingers. I would have tried straight barefooting it, but I live in a third-world country without sidewalks, with pollution, public urination, etc. While here I really need some layer of protection from the streets.

The jury is still out as I've only been using them for 2 months. However, I will say that I've run faster and farther than I have since 2004 without so much as a hint of the knee pain I've experienced the last 7 years. Even the day after my runs I don't feel the dull ache I've come to expect. The VFFs definitely force my to run with proper form, avoiding heel strike, etc.

Like I said, the jury's still out for me since it's only been 2 months. However, at this point I'm nearly sold and I only wish I had discovered the barefoot/minimalist movement earlier.

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Post by Cloud » Sat May 07, 2011 6:23 am

KyleAAA wrote:
ThinkingRunner wrote:I don't run barefoot per se (other than occasional strides on a grassy infield) because the terrain doesn't permit it, but I am a strong proponent and practitioner of minimalism. I have been running in the range of 1200-1500 miles a year in shoes with nearly zero "padding" (Puma H-streets) for the past six years with absolutely no injuries. It has done wonders for my running form, efficiency and lower leg strength. Plus it gives you a better workout per unit distance because you are using additional muscle groups. The trick is to ease into it.

Prior to my "conversion", I ran in bulky, heavily-padded shoes and developed severe stress reactions on my shins due to overstriding and heel-striking. I'm finding running a lot more pleasant and pain-free after the switch.
Here's my problem with that argument: your poor stride wasn't the result of your shoes, it was a result of you not bothering to learn to run correctly because you thought the shoes would protect you. If you were to put the shoes back on, you wouldn't suddenly start getting injuries again because now you've since learned how to run properly.

And anyway, if lower leg strength is a concern running should not be the exercise of choice to fix that.
In my experience proper landing on the forefoot has cured all my running problems and I disagree with KyleAAA because you can't land forefoot properly with out trashing your calfs using normal shoes because the heal is too high. I've been running both barefoot and with flats on my tread mill. Flats are the answer for me. They offer foot protection and allow proper forefoot landings. The shoes that work for me are Saucony Kinvaras. The height of the heal makes a world of difference. With thick heals it's almost impossible to sustain proper forefoot running.

http://birthdayshoes.com/barefoot-running-shoes

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Post by StoneReader » Sat May 07, 2011 7:29 am

XtremeSki2001

I started out completely barefoot AND on grass. The feel of grass between your running toes on a warm day for the first time is an unique experience. I still enjoy it.

I used baseball fields since they were fenced in (no dog poop) and were unlikely to have broken bottles lurking in the grass since baseball fielders and groundkeepers would throw such things out. Also, the field has been leveled and has no hidden holes. Moreover, the grass is groomed and short so you can see any problems on the ground. One field had sprinklers which I did not know about until I landed on a few sprinkler heads. But they are usually arranged in a geometric pattern which you can quickly figure out. I ran barefooted on grass for two months until I could do about 4 miles. Five times around the periphery of a baseball field with 350-foot fences is 1 mile.

Being the frugal type, I hesitated about buying a $100 shoe that looks like a $10 slipper but finally overcame my penny-pinching ways and bought a KSO Vibram Five Finger after some bee stings between the toes of my barefeet.

Image

I would have stayed on grass but my running partner wanted to run on the bike path with her dog so I started wearing Vibrams when I ran on the asphalt path or on the grass to one side. The asphalt here contains greywacke whose sharp edges stick out as the asphalt evaporates and wears away. So it can be somewhat abrasive, especially in older sections of the path. The grass border along the bike path has some holes, some dog poop and more irregularities to deal with than a baseball field, e.g. may be slanted. Also there is more chance of a broken bottle head or nail along the bike trail though I have never stepped on such.

I used the KSO Vibrams for about a year and then bought some KSO Treks for winter running when they first came out. The Treks have a slightly thicker sole which makes a big difference when you run 8-10 miles on asphalt with greywacke. So over time, I find myself wearing my Treks both winter and summer.

Image

I still WALK barefooted without the Treks or any foot protection. In a perfect world with a grass path without any glass, dog poop or pin worm larvae, I would choose to run barefoot without the Vibrams. But in the real world, they are a good compromise.

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Post by XtremeSki2001 » Sat May 07, 2011 7:55 am

Thanks for the input, StoneReader. I'm definitely excited to start running. After walking a few miles barefoot each day this week and experience no pain I think I'll start doing a 1/4 mile or so running barefoot on the grass and see how my body reacts.
A box of rain will ease the pain and love will see you through

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Post by Inquirer » Sat May 07, 2011 8:38 am

Are there any socks that work with those minimalist shoes, or does that defeat the purpose? I've never seen five-fingered socks.

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5-Toed Socks

Post by StoneReader » Sat May 07, 2011 10:02 am

Yes. But you don't need them with Vibrams as far as friction or blisters go. They do help keep your toes warmer in the depths of winter. If you intend to wear them all of the time, you might want to get one size larger than what Vibrams recommends on their website.

Image

Whites are the cheapest. They are much more durable than they look like and I have yet to wear a pair out.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000O50FNI/ref ... B000O50FNI
The Performance Micro Toesock by injinji is engineered to separate and surround your toes with soft and moisture-wicking CoolMax fabric blended with durable nylon and Lycra to create an anti-friction membrane that is lightweight and breathable. Seamless in construction, the Performance Toesock forms to every contour of your foot, allowing for true restriction-free and natural movement from your heel to your five toes. This design encourages healthy circulation and eliminates skin-on-skin contact between your toes to prevent blisters and keep your blood moving without interruption. The Anatomical Interface System (AIS) is engineered to separate your toes and promote healthy digital alignment while the fabric blend and sock design effectively manages moisture.


Individual seamless toe sleeves prevent skin-on-skin friction to help prevent corns and blisters.Features:

Fabric blend: 70 percent CoolMax, 25 percent nylon, 5 percent Lycra
Recipient of the 2008 Seal of Acceptance by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)
Effectively manages moisture and promote healthy digital alignment
Individual, seamless toe sleeves prevent skin-on-skin friction to help prevent corns and blisters and enhance posture, grip, and balance
Anatomical Interface System (AIS) is engineered to separate your toes and promote healthy digital alignment
Anti-friction fibers wick moisture preventing chafing and blistering
Proper alignment for stability, gripping, and balance
True left and right anatomical fit
Type: Crew socks
Care: Machine wash on warm or hand wash your toesocks after each use; do not machine dry or dry clean
Product Description
Anatomical Interface System (AIS) is engineered to separate your toes with a CoolMax moisture wicking lining and a resistant nylon outer shell built with Lycra fibers, to create a thin, anti-friction membrane that is both lightweight and breathable. Seamless in construction, the tetratsok forms to every contour of your feet. This allows for true restriction free movement from your heel to five toes,encourages healthy circulation, and eliminates skin on skin contact between your toes to prevent blistering from occurring.

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Post by ryuns » Tue May 10, 2011 2:46 pm

Ok, I did a bit of reading and started running barefoot for the last few days. Fortunately, where I live, the sidewalks are pretty clean and our greenbelt (linear park) has miles of lawns to enjoy. It's tough, but strangely enjoyable. My calves can only handle about half a mile to a mile before my form starts to deteriorate, but I'm going to stick with it. I'd like to get to the point of being able to work in some interval work or wind sprints so that I can give up shoes for the most part, but we're not there yet.

Ryan
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton

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Post by ObliviousInvestor » Tue May 10, 2011 3:31 pm

Cloud wrote:You can't land forefoot properly with out trashing your calfs using normal shoes because the heal is too high...With thick heals it's almost impossible to sustain proper forefoot running.
Agreed.

Where I run (lakefront path in Chicago), there's always at least a few incidences of broken glass to watch out for. So no thanks on actual barefoot running.

I've been enjoying my Nike Frees though for a bit over a year (5k three times/week at a pretty slow pace of ~30 minutes). No injuries aside from slipping on ice back in January--and that was just a stupid step I took, nothing to do with the type of shoes I was wearing.
Mike Piper, author/blogger

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Re: 5-Toed Socks

Post by VictoriaF » Tue May 10, 2011 10:18 pm

Inquirer wrote:Are there any socks that work with those minimalist shoes, or does that defeat the purpose? I've never seen five-fingered socks.
StoneReader wrote:Yes. But you don't need them with Vibrams as far as friction or blisters go. They do help keep your toes warmer in the depths of winter. If you intend to wear them all of the time, you might want to get one size larger than what Vibrams recommends on their website.
What about running in socks? Just regular socks without separated toes. Socks offer most of the benefits of barefoot running, provide some protection (from bees, larva, urine, etc.), and cost a small fraction of the Vibrams.

Victoria
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Wearing Out Socks

Post by StoneReader » Wed May 11, 2011 6:11 am

VictoriaF,

I have never seen anyone using just socks. So give it a try and report back.

But socks may wear out quickly compared to Vibrams so the latter may be less expensive in the long run. And socks, of course, would provide no protection against penetrating objects.

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Post by SamGamgee » Wed May 11, 2011 7:34 am

I am a barefoot runner. Here's my two cents.

First, I would like to say that barefoot running is extremely rewarding and pleasurable. I would not switch back to shod running even if I was sure it wouldn't affect my stride, because I love to run in bare feet. I occasionally run in vibram five fingers, and I plan to use them whenever I race in an unfamiliar place. Its a great product, but I always want to tear them off my feet by the end of the run. Barefoot running feels great!

If, like me, you used to heel-strike in running shoes, causing shin splints & stress fractures, barefoot running can help you. However, my experience is that you really need to accept that it's going to take a while to acclimate yourself to it. It is learning a totally new activity. You think you're already a runner so you can go through a short transition period and then start running the same distance & speed as before, only barefoot. If you try to do that, you will hurt yourself. Tons of people switch to barefoot running and then hurt themselves. Pretty much every time, it's because they start enjoying it and do too much too soon. I have been running barefoot for over a year, and I am only now hitting my stride and feeling like I can do the kind of running I used to do in shoes. However, now that I'm not trashing my shins, I expect to surpass my former performance in due time because I won't have to keep taking time off to recover from injuries!

If you're going to try it, I strongly recommend you follow these tips.

-do some barefoot walking first, until your soles get used to it.
-do both walking and running on a surface that is hard and smooth. A very new sidewalk is the best possible surface.
-avoid dirt and grass, which can hide sharp objects. The hardness of concrete will not hurt you, but glass (or thorns, etc) hidden in the grass will. On concrete you can see and avoid such obstacles easily. (Some doubt this, but once you try it you'll see what I mean.)
-do some reading about proper barefoot running form, but listen to your body as well.
-don't try minimal or "barefoot" shoes until you have completed the transition to barefoot running. It is the sensory feedback from your feet that really teaches you how to run properly. Minimalist footwear will just slow down your learning process and hide defects in your stride.

Good luck!
Last edited by SamGamgee on Wed May 11, 2011 7:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wearing Out Socks

Post by SamGamgee » Wed May 11, 2011 7:35 am

StoneReader wrote:VictoriaF,

I have never seen anyone using just socks. So give it a try and report back.

But socks may wear out quickly compared to Vibrams so the latter may be less expensive in the long run. And socks, of course, would provide no protection against penetrating objects.
I have run in ordinary socks when the weather is cold, and it is a great solution.

Just be prepared to throw out the socks after a few runs because you'll wear right through them. (Not to mention the bottoms turn black.)

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Post by BogleTurtle » Wed May 11, 2011 12:05 pm

ryuns wrote:...I'm considering a compromise, such as the Merrell Barefoot http://www.zappos.com/merrell-barefoot- ... ?zlfid=111 which are a little more presentable. FiveFingers make you look like you're trying too hard :)

....
LOL, I felt the same at first but really didn't care. Now they are so common that the novelty has worn off on most people.

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Post by BogleTurtle » Wed May 11, 2011 12:18 pm

gkaplan wrote:I think I'm going to go up to my local running shop and buy those Five Finger shoes. How much do they run?

cycylegirl, you don't think they're appropriate for running on pavement?

(Edited to add last paragraph.)
try campmor.com

or

travelcountry.com

they have a great sale right now

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Post by XtremeSki2001 » Thu May 12, 2011 9:46 am

SamGamgee wrote:If you're going to try it, I strongly recommend you follow these tips.

-do some barefoot walking first, until your soles get used to it.
-do both walking and running on a surface that is hard and smooth. A very new sidewalk is the best possible surface.
-avoid dirt and grass, which can hide sharp objects. The hardness of concrete will not hurt you, but glass (or thorns, etc) hidden in the grass will. On concrete you can see and avoid such obstacles easily. (Some doubt this, but once you try it you'll see what I mean.)
-do some reading about proper barefoot running form, but listen to your body as well.
-don't try minimal or "barefoot" shoes until you have completed the transition to barefoot running. It is the sensory feedback from your feet that really teaches you how to run properly. Minimalist footwear will just slow down your learning process and hide defects in your stride.

Good luck!
Good post and thanks for the pointers. Similar to you I developed stress fractures when I'd hit the ~10 mile mark in my long runs or in the 15-20 miles a week mark.

It is frustrating to practically start all over again, but protecting yourself from injury is definitely important.

So far I've done two 1/4 mile barefoot runs and hope to increase my distance by ~1/4 mile each week.
A box of rain will ease the pain and love will see you through

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Post by SamGamgee » Fri May 13, 2011 7:41 am

XtremeSki2001 wrote: Good post and thanks for the pointers. Similar to you I developed stress fractures when I'd hit the ~10 mile mark in my long runs or in the 15-20 miles a week mark.

It is frustrating to practically start all over again, but protecting yourself from injury is definitely important.

So far I've done two 1/4 mile barefoot runs and hope to increase my distance by ~1/4 mile each week.
Good luck! You're biggest risk is getting over-enthusiastic about it, as I keep learning. Stick to a conservative schedule, no matter how good you feel. You'll get there before long.

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Post by walker46 » Fri May 13, 2011 9:23 am

When I ran high school cross-country in the early sixties we almost always ran barefoot. The quality of running shoes, at least the ones our school bought, was pretty bad back then so it wasn’t a hard choice to make. The trainer would paint the bottom of our feet with what I believe was some kind of formaldehyde solution in order to toughen up our feet. It helped that we practiced on the golf course next door to the high school and that almost all our meets were held on a public golf course. The only time we wore shoes was when we ran on a course out in the country that was created by someone mowing a path through an open field. There were a lot of sharp woody spikes in that one.
I’ve continued to run on and off in the decades that followed although now I mostly walk. Couldn’t do either barefoot anymore. Over the years my feet have been demanding increasingly expensive running and walking shoes. If I try to get by with cheap or worn shoes my feet let me know.

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Post by arthurb999 » Fri May 13, 2011 11:36 am

I've been using merrell trail gloves and I love them.

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