Running barefoot: FAQ

running without shoes

Summer is the time to prove himself in sports. And running barefoot — it is not a summer thing? Over millions of years, our ancestors spread across the planet, stepping on its surface bare feet. During those long years on our feet developed an intricate nerve network, comparable to the one that is in our hands — these nerves allow people to feel the slightest deviations from the norm to the surface at which it goes. Our feet are able to withstand crazy heat, and bitter cold by changing the intensity of the blood flow to the soles of our feet.

Over the last two millennia we have outgrown the era of hunting and gathering, and even farming. Therefore, the ability of our feet have been unjustly forgotten — now instead we have comfortable and convenient to use flats.

With the resurgence of running and walking as sports and the importance of foot health today is becoming a serious issue. On average, runners today get injured in 30-80% of cases, and this number has not changed since then, as people began to wear running shoes. On the contrary: most injuries due to running in the Western world, is not relevant for regions where shoes usually are not: for example, in Kenya or Ethiopia.

Not so long ago, people around the world discovered again the benefits of running barefoot. Even Nike running shoes which made a real revolution in running about half a century ago, began to create footwear that mimics bare feet. Basically, the sole of these sneakers mimics the shape of feet to legs work the way nature intended it — no extra cover, no function controls, no additional load and with constant contact with the ground.

Although this method of running is becoming increasingly popular to start running barefoot can be quite difficult: you have to weigh the pros and cons, all the risks and positive aspects. The more you search the Internet, so it is more controversial. The facts and anecdotes — it’s easy to get confused. So now we will collect for you all in one place and answer all frequently asked questions.

1. Why run barefoot?

The motion of running barefoot is widespread, apparently, for the last couple of years. This is largely due to the advent of the book «Born to run» by Christopher Mac-Dougall, who described his research chronicle run without injuries. The book sends the reader on a journey through the Copper Canyon of Mexico, where lives a tribe Tarahumara, who can run incredibly long distances barefoot or in sandals).

This book prompted Harvard Professor Dan Lieberman to conduct a study and compare how they are accustomed to the Shoe and those with childhood running barefoot. Studies have not emphasized the fact that running without shoes is better or worse than in sneakers, but demonstrated, so the landing is softer, and the force of impact is reduced.

In conclusion, it is said that many of those who run barefoot rarely get injuries as a result of strokes and repeated pressure on the sole. At the moment there have been several valuable studies compared to running in shoes and without, and it is hoped that the anecdotal evidence about the barefoot community will become more available as more people take part in the research.

2. It doesn’t hurt?

If run incorrectly, then Yes, it hurts. If you do everything right, you might be a little painful, but with practice the pain will go away. The reason is that the transition to barefoot running, even if running in «barefoot» shoes changes the way of running in General. This means that you start to strain muscles that are not worked in full force for many years. Your body will naturally need time to adjust to these changes, and if neglected, the process of addiction will be even longer.

Strange, but those who are beginning to run barefoot, hurt not the sole, as it would seem, should be, and calf and Achilles tendon.

If you run in shoes, you land first on the sole of the heel. The soles soften the blow, and then the pressure goes to the knees and hips. When you transition to barefoot running, you learn to land on the toe, and the body uses the natural shock absorbers: the Achilles tendons and lower legs. Such a transition requires time, and once you get used to the new way of running, you will be easy to overdo it with Jogging, and will need some rest days to your limbs recovered.

Good thing running barefoot is its inexorability. The pain you feel all over the body, is a way to say that you’re doing something wrong. Listening to the pain, you can change your run and over time you’re going to run long distances without pain. Therefore, a guru of barefoot running saying that barefoot running should begin on the gravel, not the grass. The more pain you feel in the beginning, the faster you learn to get used to it and the less likely that you’ll get used to the simple conditions of running.

3. How to go from running in shoes to running barefoot?

When you start to use muscles that had little strained, you need to spend some time to pump up. It’s like if you were many years on the couch, and then decided to play with friends in football. If you overdo it — you will definitely feel it.

You can reduce the discomfort during the transition period, using different ways to prepare your body for the transition to barefoot running.

Lifting the feet

A great preparation exercise is to lift your feet in a special way. To run it just: take off your shoes and stand on a level surface. Now raise one leg bent at the knee in front of him, then put her down gently and starting with a sock. Repeat the same with the other leg. Start slowly and do 50 repetitions of each leg — as a whole gets to 100. When you can do 100 reps with ease, do this exercise quickly. The point is not to make as many or as quickly as possible, and to concentrate and do the right thing. The guy with the video will help you.

This simple exercise almost all the muscles that participate in boss runs, and your body thanks to him developing those muscles to be used while Jogging. Following this activity before you start Jogging, you reduce the chance of overload in the first lesson.

Stretch Achilles tendon

If your shoes are mostly coarse sole, which rises to five. You may find that your Achilles tendon has lost form over the years, the underutilization and therefore with the beginning of the great exercises you can feel the pain in them, if not to get tendonitis — inflammation of the tendon tissue. To avoid pain and inflammation, it is important to stretch Achilles tendons and calves for a few days or even weeks prior to barefoot Jogging. For this you need to stand on tiptoe and do a couple of steps forward, then lower your heels again to rise on your toes and few times to get up on tiptoes. After a week of these exercises you’ll be much better prepared to transition to running without shoes.

Try to get involved

Start transition to barefoot Jogging with a pair of walks without shoes or probega for 200 meters without shoes after the main run. Then slowly increase the distance. If you start slowly and build up distance over a few nedel, it will prevent the discomfort from barefoot Jogging, and make the transitional period more tolerable.

4. My legs will become rough?

Your soles also need time to adapt to the ground contact. First can be corn, but not because the skin on the legs is not rigid, but rather because you’re not in the best shape and not mastered the technique of barefoot running, and friction between your feet and the ground is too large. When you better master the skills of barefoot running, this friction will decrease, and your legs won’t need to protect from impact with the ground. Corn will disappear. If you see a man who runs barefoot, have him show you the soles. What you will see will surprise you: his feet will be absolutely no blisters and injuries, they will have a healthy fresh skin, which is constantly updated from contact with the ground.

5. How about dirt, glass, syringes, infection, etc.?

If there is something that keeps most people from barefoot running, so it’s fear of stepping on sharp objects: glass, needles etc. In our view, the road littered with many different items and waiting for a chance to dig into our soles. Actually glass on the roads is much less than you expect, often it is a glass Windows machine that can’t hurt you. Just watch your step and plan a route to avoid danger, it’s in the bag.

Another advantage of running without shoes that if you have to step on something sharp, it will be an easy step, and your foot is flexible, the pain will be minimal and the skin is not likely to be damaged. Remember our soles are designed by nature for movement without shoes, but in nature full of sharp objects: spikes, stones, sticks — so the city garbage should not be a serious problem.

6. Asphalt is not too hard for bare feet?

To run in nature is not always as nice as you expect. Trails can be very heavy, and they can also be scattered debris. Reverse: city streets — is a convenient road, where you can run faster even than in the forest.

Your feet are designed to be maximally adapted to everything, and even to the city, the feeling underfoot many and varied. When you start to run barefoot, you notice the different types of terrain, even in city limits: pavement, grass, gravel, rough asphalt, sand. Jogging without shoes will make you notice a variety that you never paid attention.

When you learn to use the natural shock absorbers of your body, you’ll find that the very hard and rough surface can be overcome with ease. When you leave your shoes at home, you start to use your body more fully, as nature intended.

7. I should buy these gloves for the feet?

Minimalist or «barefoot» shoes are becoming more popular. Like regular shoes, they are available in different colors, shapes and styles, so that you can choose for every taste.

The best way to choose shoes first run without them. Just try and see how you like it. Maybe you decide that these shoes and really you don’t need, and in this case you’ll be able to spend my hundred bucks on something else. If you still want to buy these shoes, then you’ll at least understand what is supposed to feel your legs.

The best minimalist shoes that precise manner follows the shape of the feet. They may have fingers and can not be them, but the most important is the extremely thin sole. These shoes are very light and should be worn on bare feet. Warmly recommend you to try them in the store and not order online because the size of such shoes may differ from size conventional shoes, without socks. In addition, you can still ask advice from experienced sellers.

8. What the distance you can run barefoot?

How far and fast you can run without shoes, depends on how much and often you practice. For beginners will be feasible, only two hundred meters, but there are experienced barefoot runners who can run barefoot without problems marathon.