Barefoot running is a new sub-culture rising up out of the mainstream running culture. It is exactly what it sounds like: Running without shoes. Once you try it, you’ll immediately realize with astonishment that you’ve been taught the wrong way to run all your life.
Running barefoot sounds crazy because we’ve grown up with the idea all of our lives. Just think for a moment why that is. Yes, there are pragmatic uses for shoes, but the real reason is money. The more reasons companies can give us to wear shoes the more money they make. And I’m not against that. I still pay top dollar for shoes for other uses but, if I had it my way, I’d never pay another cent on running shoes. Once you go barefoot, you’ll never want to go back.
Before I knew “barefoot running” was an actual “thing,” I was already doing it out of necessity because I jogged indoors, on carpet. I never really learned to like running out doors, nor in gyms. It’s just a personal thing, but when I want to run I want to do it right now, with little overhead to start and little overhead to stop. I knew I was doing something out of the ordinary even if I didn’t know anything special about barefoot running.
When you barefoot run, you instantly recognize you run differently. You never strike the heel of your foot at any time. You can, but it’s not natural and you can tell its not good for your knees. What is natural is landing and pushing off with the ball of your foot. It’s very different than anything we’ve been taught in the mainstream but instantly you know it’s right.
The other advantage of barefoot running is it really works out your calve muscles. Never before have I felt that kind of workout. It took a long time to feel as if I was going to be okay with working out those muscles but now it just feels natural.
I’m no fitness fanatic. I started out jogging on the spot for one minute…and I was winded. I’ve worked myself up to an embarrassing current 1.3miles over 15min doing 6mph over the second half. I say embarrassing but I really don’t care as 90% of people don’t even do that. The benefits I see, however, are tremendous. Stamina is a great win and you’ll know it when you feel it in other activities besides running. Now, running does tend to get harder and harder, I think, as you tack on extra time but the runner’s high always brings you back.
I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on wearing garments during barefoot running. Barefoot running outside is just not going to work. I wear tight socks on the treadmill. Others wear “foot gloves,” minimalist coverings for feet that attempt not to inhibit your natural running while still providing some protection. Anything that isn’t your typical shoe or “siginifcant” garment on your foot can be brought under the barefoot running umbrella. There’s no need to worry about particulars. The key is that you begin to run naturally, as you were born to run.
Give barefoot running a try and I’m positive you’ll wonder why it took so long for us to realize the right way to run.