Barefoot running: bad or beneficial?

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    Dec 10, 2011 12:15 AM GMT
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45614741/ns/health-fitness/#.TuKkHZjyCy4
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    Dec 10, 2011 2:43 AM GMT
    I started doing a lot of running this summer through now and I must say, "barefoot" running (in vibrams, so not truly barefoot) enables me to run without pain.

    I started getting shin splints a few years ago when I wanted to start a running program and I couldn't get past the pain. I eventually found out about vibram five fingers and almost instantly my pain was gone. I've been running consistently without pain for 6 months now (longest I've ever kept with a program) and I love it!

    I can run in the vibrams on concrete and asphalt just fine but for especially rocky/pebbly terrain on some crazy trail runs, I prefer regular sneakers. The sole on the vibrams is so thin you feel every jagged rock and pebble and it can be painful at times. Where I go trail running, this has really slowed me down so I switched to regular sneakers and I'm fine.

    So, I think everyone should find what works for them whether that be vibrams/barefoot all the time, sneakers all the time, or a mix of both (my personal choice). Don't be afraid to experiment and always listen to your body; if it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't!
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    Dec 10, 2011 4:53 AM GMT
    Growing up in a country where flip-flops is normal everyday footwear, shoes are being worn on the context of looking decent and not really because it is beneficial to your health or something.

    As kids, we would play in the streets in flip-flops and yes, that includes running. I'm even a lot more comfortable hiking in flip-flops as I feel like hiking shoes are ruining my balance.

    So I personally would prefer running barefoot (or almost barefoot) than wearing proper shoes. These new Vibrams are the next best thing to being barefoot and a really good replacement for flip-flops to protect your feet from debris and the heat of concrete.

    Vibram_FiveFingers_Sprint_Coconut_Goblin
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    Dec 10, 2011 5:31 AM GMT
    I blogged about this a bit: http://evidencebasedfitness.blogspot.com/2011/11/toe-ing-line-what-i-think-about-this.html. There aren't any long-term studies since the Vibrams didn't really take off until this past year.
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    Dec 10, 2011 5:52 AM GMT
    If barefoot running works for you then you are fine. You know that you are doing a natural motion when barefoot.
    That being said, I just wear nike frees and call it good enough. I also wont get stuck by some random junkie needle. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Dec 10, 2011 6:19 AM GMT
    I can bearly stand walking on the floor barefoot. I dunno. icon_neutral.gif
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    Dec 10, 2011 7:04 AM GMT
    Art_Deco saidhttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45614741/ns/health-fitness/#.TuKkHZjyCy4


    The article references "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in this subject. It's an easy read, and provides a good introduction to some of the recent theories and research into human biology and specifically, how we run.

    My brother is a kinesiology masters student, and I've been involved in cross country running since high school. I've never tried barefoot running in earnest, but my friends who have experimented with it usually suggest breaking it in slowly. Your feet can do amazing things, but you do have to retrain how you 'pronate' or step, with each stride. Correctly done, it can reduce some stress and some injuries, and in the case of the Tarahumara, is utilized by some pretty amazing ultramarathoners. In the book, McDougall actually describes meeting the founder of Vibrams.

    http://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Hidden-Superathletes-Greatest/dp/0307266303
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    Dec 10, 2011 10:59 AM GMT
    Nobody ever ran until running shoes were invented. True fact.
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    Dec 10, 2011 3:50 PM GMT
    pre_mortem saidNobody ever ran until running shoes were invented. True fact.


    They also didn't run on concrete.icon_wink.gif
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    Dec 10, 2011 10:03 PM GMT
    I had to see an orthopedic surgeon when I was 13, because of my trouble walking. He determined I had a serious birth defect, most of the bones in my left foot all fused together. Interesting my parents never noticed, until my shoes began wearing out early in an odd pattern. Added expenditures always got their attention, even if I didn't personally.

    I love my late parents, but they really were dreadful at paying the least bit of attention to me, a consequence of them both being totally career-driven, as early as the 1950s. At least it taught me to be independent early, if not a little defiant.

    Well, anyway, one of the doctor's recommendations was that I walk barefoot, that he claimed was best for humans. This was 1962. I never did, though, considering it too dangerous.

    A few weeks ago my golf instructor was ragging me about my left foot not assuming the correct position while driving. Finally I said to him: "Look! I virtually have a club foot! It doesn't move! Here, hit it with your fist! It can't move! I'm sorry I didn't tell you this before, but I never imagined my foot deformity would be a factor in golf."

    "How did you have an Army career like that?" he asked me.

    "Guts" I answered. "During Vietnam they would have taken me if my foot had looked like a duck's. And once I was in I kept it hidden."

    A really nice guy, he modified my posture so my deformed foot could still allow for a good swing. (The main trick was putting my feet closer together than the experts recommend)

    I don't buy barefoot running at all. Fine for primitives in the wild, bad for moderns on hard man-made surfaces.
  • johndubuque

    Posts: 319

    Dec 10, 2011 10:18 PM GMT
    One of my nephews has been running in the Vibrams and loves them.
    When I was a kid on the farm I did a lot of running in bare feet over lots of different surfaces, although not concrete. I remember on the first day of football practice when we each had to be timed on a 40-yard dash several guys did it bare footed.
    Obviously it's more natural. We evolved as bare footed runners. But that doesn't mean it's best for everyone.
  • dcmacguy

    Posts: 102

    Dec 10, 2011 10:29 PM GMT
    I get horrible shin splits when I try to run in regular shoes. I definitely have some issues with my form.

    A few weeks ago, I decided to try running in my Vibrams, and it was a whole different experience. I immediately come up onto the balls of my feet and don't sound like I am trying to kill the treadmill. After 25 minutes of interval running, my calves are on fire a bit but I feel great otherwise.

    I personally am sold on barefoot running, but to each his own.
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    Dec 10, 2011 10:44 PM GMT
    pre_mortem saidNobody ever ran until running shoes were invented. True fact.


    the Tarahumara did

  • swimbikerun

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    Dec 10, 2011 10:45 PM GMT
    I don't think you need to run to get a lot of benefits from being 'barefoot'. I wear them around almost everyday.
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    Dec 11, 2011 8:01 AM GMT
    pre_mortem saidNobody ever ran until running shoes were invented. True fact.


    Oh, for real? I guess we should alert all of the people who ran in the Ancient Greek Olympics and let them know that they weren't actually running because some guy on Realjock said so. Tsk tsk, they'll be ever so disappointed. Anyone know of a good medium? icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Dec 11, 2011 7:19 PM GMT
    Runninchlt said
    pre_mortem saidNobody ever ran until running shoes were invented. True fact.


    Oh, for real? I guess we should alert all of the people who ran in the Ancient Greek Olympics and let them know that they weren't actually running because some guy on Realjock said so. Tsk tsk, they'll be ever so disappointed. Anyone know of a good medium? icon_rolleyes.gif


    I was lying. Some times people do that. And with regards to asphalt, it's fine. You just need good technique and some foot strength. Rocks and glass you can usually see, but I still prefer my Vibrams. If your calves are always on fire you might want to consider whether you are relaxing the calf in the step or not. If you don't then you are basically running 25 minutes with a clenched calf. They are crazy strong muscles but even they get a bit fire-y if you treat them like that.
  • PipHop

    Posts: 439

    Dec 12, 2011 1:59 AM GMT
    For yo guys that say you were in pain before running barefoot or vibrams, what kind of pain was it? Knee, lower leg, ankle or foot pain? From everything I've read, I'm really interested. But I am recovering from a partially torn Achilles and am not sure about the pressure that barefoot running would place on it. Anyone have any info or history on that type of injury?