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Barefoot running and conventional wisdom 'rant'

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  • Barefoot running and conventional wisdom 'rant'

    So I have a friend who I've 'got into running' ... just the occasional 5k, nothing too serious...

    anyway... he has shin splint issues (even after 7 months of weeklyish training) and complains all the time...

    He's tried numerous different inserts and shoes and yadda yadda... the latest is different podiatrists and sports doctors who keep pointing him towards custom orthotics...

    Now granted I don't have much proof... but... I'm a pretty firm believer in barefoot running... especially when it comes to training your foot to be strong and functional

    anyway... He goes on about on and on about wah wah wah and I keep suggestion he at least tries a little barefoot running... ...

    he counters with something about how the world is covered in broken glass and hyperdermic needles (a typical response when people learn I run barefoot) so I eventually find a local football field we could run in that he would agree is manicured enough to be 'safe'... but then the reason is... 'it would be booooring'... *sigh*...

    so custom orthodics cost like 500$ or something and instead of even trying tor run barefoot just to see if it might help he is mulling over a 500$ purchase trying to justify it with stuff like 'if it lasts for 3 years they really aren't that bad if they actually let me run'... ...

    *sigh*... ... I just don't understand why he won't even try some barefoot work...even once... ....

    fucking CW

  • #2
    I tore up my foot bare foot running. I wouldn't jump into it that quickly. It takes awhile to build the foot up so its strong enough to run that way. Maybe you gain calluses after awhile that make it easier? Its easier to run on softer surfaces though.
    My journal where I attempt to overcome Chrohns and make good food as well


    • #3
      It does take a little bit to build your foot strength to running strength...but just playing around barefoot in a football field for a little bit wouldn't be bad and give his foot a taste of freedom

      The skin on your foot will get thicker as you run more and more (on different terrain) but it still takes time... as of now I can only run a few miles on concrete/sidewalk/asphalt before my feet need to rest/heal


      • #4
        Or he can begin with a minimalistic type shoe. . . I know even walking / slight jogging in my VFF's my arch has been hurting a bit, it takes a while to adjust i suppose.
        Starting Weight : 338lbs 6/11/2010
        Current Weight: 266lbs
        High-school Weight: 235lbs
        Goal: ????


        • #5
          From my experiences trying to "convert" my peers to barefoot running, I find that the social factors are a big hump for people trying it out. To the general public, the thought of someone walking around barefoot anywhere besides a pool, beach, or shower just screams "f***ing hippie". My peers don't want to be seen as hippies or people too poor to afford shoes.


          • #6
            Maybe some Nike Free's could be a baby step towards stronger feet instead of expensive orthotics


            • #7
              Originally posted by Fatkid View Post
              he counters with something about how the world is covered in broken glass and hyperdermic needles (a typical response when people learn I run barefoot)
              Suggest he google "minimalist shoe kevlar sole"

              There's not much that will go through kevlar even when it's only a few millimetres thick.

              You might also try to wake him up by printing off some information on the damage most shoes do to people's feet.

              Here's a note on a cross-cultural study by two academics at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa:


              Here's a great PDF by one of America's best-known podiatrists, entitled "Why Shoes Make Normal Gait Impossible":



              • #8
                I will walk barefoot on grass at times, but when your feet are sufficiently hardened, it's possible to run on surfaces like Barefoot Ted is here:


                I guess people underestimate just what's possible.

                The Zulus used to wear sandals until Shaka became king. He'd discarded his, because he'd found he could move faster without them when in combat. When he became king he made the whole army do the same. He heard rumours of grumbling, so he gathered the regiments together in a kraal strewed it with thorns - ones that always had a spine up whichever way they fell - and told them to stamp them in. Anyone who did so less than enthusiastically was dispatched by Shaka's attendant "Slayers". The troops soon got the message, and set too with plenty of verve. Shaka led the activity himself - his feet were already hardened, so it was nothing to him.

                The things dictators can get away with!



                • #9
                  I had all but givin up on running until I read "Born To Run". I love that book, it reads like a novel, you can't wait to see what happens at the big race at the end of the book. But it also talks about the history of running in America and the what happend with running injurys as the running shoe industry boomed.

                  I'm not a marathoner by any means but I love running 5k's and want to eventually build up to half marathons.

                  My first pair of VFFs should arrive today! I'm so excited I can't wait to get them on my feet. After running in them for a while I want to do more barefoot running.

                  Good luck to you and your friend!


                  • #10
                    Ask your friend to try this unconventional "fix" Im not crazy here ....when he is running he has to focus on his lower leg muscles. Try to relax the lower leg until he begins to feel his feet flopping around. Not so much as to lose control but very relaxed. When I was running 30 or so miles each week I got occasional shin splints and the only thing that fixed the problem pronto is focus and relaxing exercises that I did while running. The idea is to untense the lower worked well for me.
                    They used to call me No Neck, but now I have one.


                    • #11
                      I too am nervous about 100% barefoot running, more because of sharp rocks than needles. I always use my pair of Nike Free 3.0's and make it a point not to land heel first. They give me a lot more freedom than any other shoes I've tried so far and once my feet and calves got used to having to work more, running started to feel really good and I could sprint a lot better. Before then, I ran in skateboarding shoes, always landed heel first, and I would have occasional shin splints, but now I haven't had any problems in years. I think I'll try out some longer length barefoot walking before running, maybe this would ease my feet into being able to land on sharp rocks with less damage.


                      • #12
                        Here is a list of real minimalist shoes suitable for running, FatKid - as opposed to fairly hefty shoes from multinational companies that caused the problem in the first place by pushing wedge-shoes at people:


                        Feelmax and Vivo shoes both have very thin soles through which you feel the ground that are, however, made of kevlar and won't puncture easily or wear fast. Your friend could certainly find something here, if he were so inclined.


                        • #13
                          This thread has turned out exceptionally helpful! Those articles you linked to, Lewis, are actually getting him thinking about barefoot/minimalist running..

                          My friend has even gone so far as to cancel his next podiatrist appointment (for now), and he has starting running around his house barefoot!... He said he 'ran' back and forth around his house for about an hour and today his feet and calves are sore!... ... Judging by the way he is talking I think he might put some training effort into getting his feet/calves up to strength!

                          That list of shoes is awesome! Not just for my friend but for anyone looking for minimalist shoes!!!

                          Thanks for all the help guys!!!

                          @chasbuddy ... I'll have to ask him to try that... I've never heard hrm...

                          thanks again guys!!!


                          • #14
                            Fatkid, I am a middle-aged woman who's had chronic patella femoral syndrome (knee tracking problem) for almost 15 years. I believe this problem was caused by running in overly-cushioned shoes, beginning when I first started distance running in the early 80s as a teenager.

                            I am now in the process of ditching my custom-made orthotics in favor of Vibrams and a daily physical therapy program for my knees. I've also started doing some of my errands barefoot, as well as short hikes (walking). Let me tell you, after about 2 months of this regimen, my knees are feeling better than they have in YEARS. I can feel my feet getting stronger and stronger by the day. And my gait is totally different barefoot and in Vibrams than when I wore regular shoes. No more jarring heel strike.

                            These experts just want you to be dependent on their expensive "remedies" for life, like orthotics (mine cost over $700). Just like the big pharma companies who push their pills on you to treat chronic illnesses which could be best handled via diet and other natural methods.


                            • #15
                              rucker_z that is awesome! I really hope you keep reaping the benefits of minimalist running/walking/hiking/etc!

                              I've been talking to my friend today and he seems to have the bug (at least superficially) to give barefoot/minimalist running an honest chance... he is still 'scared' about outdoor stuff but plans on doing suicide-esque running in his house barefoot to the tune of about a mile total (talk about a bunch of 'laps' haha)

                              I'm optimistic that as he works with it he will 'see the light'...