Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
28 Jul

How to Prepare for Barefooting

barefoot2“Just go barefoot.”

How many times have you heard that from the dude with big calves, wide feet, and soles like supple calf skin? (Hmm, that came out weirder than I imagined.) Or maybe you’re that guy, and you’ve said it. Heck, I’ve probably said something to that effect before. It’s a casual recommendation that we long-term barefooters toss around… but maybe we shouldn’t. (Heresy!) Okay – bear with me, here. Everyone agrees that shoelessness is the foot’s natural state, and that getting to a place where you can enjoy that natural state is ideal. Natural isn’t always synonymous with good, but in the case of the human foot – a sensitive, capable, highly mobile appendage packed with innumerable nerve endings, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and fascia that responds and reacts to the environment as you walk and/or run – natural is almost certainly desirable. The human foot is pretty amazing, and sticking it inside a restrictive shoe obscures that fact. I think we can agree on that.

But before you tell your friends to burn their shoes, consider something: the shod foot has been living in a cast most of its life. It occasionally enjoys a bit of freedom, but it’s a fleeting, temporary freedom that’s usually only granted when there’s nothing to do but lounge and sleep. When the modern foot is called into action, like at the gym, on a walk, or when going about daily business, they are usually wearing shoes that restrict muscle engagement and turn the feet into passive pieces of leather and rubber that slap along the ground. The feet are merely along for the ride; they do nothing, while the hips and ankles must shoulder the load. Ever seen an arm that’s just had a cast removed? It’s a skinny, withered shell of its former self. The muscles have atrophied, so it’s weaker. The connective tissue can’t quite handle the demands of regular use, so strains are a real possibility. It’ll even smell bad until you wash it (just like some feet), because it’s been cramped up for so long.

The perpetually shod foot is in a very similar state. All that reactive organic material (the bones, tendons, muscles, fascia) has either atrophied, tightened up, or weakened from disuse, so you need to ease into it. Eh, “ease into it” is another phrase that gets thrown around with very little substantiation or elaboration. How, exactly, does one ease into barefooting?

Let’s explore some concrete strategies.

Buy a Lacrosse Ball

I’d like you to purchase a lacrosse ball and use it on your plantar fascia and your calves. Huh? Allow me to explain. The fascia, that interconnected sheath of connective tissue that surrounds our muscles, gets extremely tight and ornery when the muscles aren’t used, or when they’re used incorrectly. The plantar fascia, located on our feet, supports the arch and can get notoriously tight and unresponsive after a lifetime of shoe wearing. You’ve been wearing shoes for most of your life, and your plantar fascia is likely tight. This will impede your abilities to use your feet and develop natural arch support. Walking and running barefoot loads the calf muscle far more than walking and running in shoes. In fact, one of the most common complaints I hear from new barefooters is the calf pain. They go from rarely using their calves to absorbing the impact of a footfall with them – and the soreness can be excruciating. Reducing that tightness before it gets worse can go a long way toward making the barefoot transition a smooth one.

So, how does one roll one’s plantar fascia? Extremely intuitively. Place a lacrosse ball on the floor, stand on it, and roll around. Just explore your foot with the ball. It’ll be really painful at first, but that’s how you know it’s working. Roll each foot twice a day for about five minutes. Be sure to flex your foot and move your toes around as you roll over tight spots – try to put your foot through every possible range of motion it might see in the real world. You can do it while sitting, too, while watching TV or messing around the computer (at your standing workstation). It’s simple and can be done almost anywhere. There’s no excuse not to.

Rolling the calf takes more dedication. You have to be on the floor for it to work, and you have to focus. It’s still really, really simple, though: sit on the ground with your leg outstretched and the lacrosse ball underneath your calf. Place as much weight on the ball as you can handle, and roll up and down your calf. When you hit a tight spot, flex and extend your ankle until it starts to feel less tight. Be sure to hit every aspect of your calf. Roll each calf once a day for about five minutes.

All said, this won’t take more than thirty minutes out of your day. Furthermore, you don’t have to keep this up forever. Just do it for the week leading up to your barefoot transition, and thereafter on an as-needed basis.

Strengthen Your Feet

If you had spent your entire life barefoot, you wouldn’t need any specific foot-strengthening exercises – foot strength would have developed naturally – but you haven’t, so now you need them. I discussed similar exercises before in an old post on strengthening flat feet.

Toe spreads: Loop a rubber band around your toes, tight enough so that it pushes your toes together if you let it. Now, spread your toes out and hold that position for a few seconds. Do two sets of ten reps with each foot.

Toe squeezes: Stick pencils, fingers, or anything that can fit in between each toe and squeeze them together. Hold the squeeze for a few seconds before releasing. Do two sets of ten squeezes with each foot.

Toe points: Pick something in the room and point at it with your toe. Hold the position for five seconds, then try to point at your own face. Hold that position for five seconds. Repeat the process ten times with each foot.

Side roll: Stand up and slightly bend your knees. Roll onto the outer edges of your feet, take a few steps forward, then a few steps back to your starting spot. Roll back. Repeat for fifteen reps.

Sand walk: This obviously isn’t available to everyone, but if you have access to sand, go walk in it. As you walk (barefoot, of course), squeeze the sand with your feet. Sand grabbing is an old trick for grip building, and the same concept applies to your feet (which used to be grabby ape feet, if you go back far enough). I suppose you could also fill a bucket with sand and use that instead, if you can’t find enough sand to walk on.

As you move into frequent barefooting, your feet will naturally get stronger, but these overt exercises will help speed up the process.

Think About Your Walking Form

It’s important to have a few ideas about barefoot walking before actually kicking off the shoes and heading out. My basic foundation for barefoot walking? Take shorter strides, land softly; avoid over striding and harsh, jarring footfalls.

If you haven’t already, read the Definitive Guide to Walking and try out the various walking styles.

Use Linear Progression

While I’m a big fan of feeling things out and going with the flow, there’s something to be said for linear progression. That goes for strength training, endurance training, sprint training, and yes, barefooting. You don’t go from squatting the bar to squatting two plates, do you? Sure, you might get the weight up once or twice, and you might even finish the workout, but what about next time? Where do you go from there after the initial big jump? How do you think your connective tissue is going to feel without adequate adaptation?

When you start walking barefoot, keep it short. Don’t go to failure. Do a ten minute walk on flat ground (sidewalk, track), max, and head home. You’re sending some very strong, extremely new messages to your nervous system, feet, and legs, and you don’t want to overwhelm the physical structures before they’re ready.

The next time you walk, add ten more minutes. Maintain this progression until you’re up to an hour and it’s easy and effortless. Once adding more time doesn’t result in sore feet, calves, or legs, you’re ready for new terrain.

Sample New Ground Cautiously

The beauty of walking, hiking, and running barefoot is that you get to experience the ground in an entirely new way. When you’re wearing shoes, everything feels the same. You might notice big topographical changes, but you miss the little things. You miss the blades of grass between your toes, the way gravel sort of massages your soles, the way scalding sand gives way to cool, damp sand at the beach. Going barefoot, then, can shock your system. You will be awash in sensation that cannot be ignored. You can’t just clomp around in rubber soles. You’ve now got a new sensory front to consider. Eventually, this will give you greater mobility, stability, and control over your body, but it can also throw you off and lead to missteps, or even injuries, when you’re just starting.

Be ever aware of the ground on which you walk. Look for rocks, sticks, and other sharp things. In time, you will glide across the ground effortlessly, subconsciously integrating the sensory input from your feet, but not yet. No – for now, you have to focus on focusing on your surroundings. It’s a subtle distinction; you’ll never not focus on your surroundings. It’s just that the focusing will become second nature.

Swallow Your Pride

You’re effectively a beginner now, so act like it. Don’t try to be a hero and tackle a three hour hike right off the bat. And when you do head out for an extended walk, take a pair of trusty shoes along with you… just in case. Whenever I hit a decently-sized hike in bare feet, I bring a pair of Vibrams along, too. You never know what’s gonna happen and it pays to be prepared.

Especially for your first few real walks, runs, or hikes in bare feet, cut it short if anything goes awry. I mean anything. Weird foot pain, stubbed toe, tight calves, bee sting – just call it a day and stop where you are. You’re still getting acclimated to barefooting, you’re excited about it, and the last thing you want is to be sidelined for weeks because you went too hard too quickly.

Swallow your pride. It might not taste so great, but it’s a valuable nutritional supplement when transitioning to barefooting.

I don’t want to scare you away from barefooting. It’s really quite wonderful, safe, and rewarding (it’s certainly safer than regularly wearing shoes, in my opinion), but only if you do it right and acknowledge that the habitually shod foot is a pampered, emaciated thing ill-prepared for real work. Besides, the strategies I’ve outlined take maybe a week to implement and integrate. If you can’t spare a measly little week for the health and strength of your feet (you know, those miraculous pieces of evolutionary artistry that have been serving hominids well for millions of years?), you probably shouldn’t be barefooting in the first place.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Right on or I should say Grok on Daddy Grok, great advice…perfect. I started on the real soft stuff, grass, now i smoke it ever day.

    Dasbutch wrote on July 28th, 2011
  2. Im dealing with a dropped metatarsal head which started giving me problems when i started walking barefoot. i can only go barefoot for a day or so then i have to go back to a padded shoe to ease the pain. been doing foot exercises to hopefully help realign everything but it takes time.

    Mike Gager wrote on July 28th, 2011
  3. Our feet are capable of so much more than we might suspect. Zulu warriors were known to travel barefoot for 30-50 miles a day.

    “[Shaka Zulu] compelled his men to throw away their sandals and to harden their feet. His regiments (“Impis”) would be compelled to dance on thorns and if anyone showed pain they were immediately executed.”

    Timothy wrote on July 28th, 2011
  4. I used to wear shoes all the time… worked in office, long hours, etc. About 18mos ago, I started my own business and mostly work from home. I never wear shoes at home regardless of activity such as mowing, weed trimming, gardening, etc. Now I can walk through gravel and in the woods with little pain. My feet and ankles feel much better than the old days of shoes from sun up to sun down.

    00Sebb wrote on July 28th, 2011
  5. Yoish! Lots of good talk to chew on and take for a naked sole footing in fitting the feet to a set of Earth Landers. I have been following this path for many years and there are three guide lines that i use.
    Step one: Pay attention, or rather pay the price for the years that i did not pay attention and marched with denial.
    Step two: Slow down and realize how easily i can be shoed in.
    Step one and two form into a stride of being aware and watching out for shoe salesman.
    mick

    Mick Dodge wrote on July 28th, 2011
  6. I have worked myself up to 3-4 mile runs in vibrams through the desert on lava rock, dirt, and gravel. I just spent my 1 week vacation essentially barefoot. My problem is, I work a job where I am on my feet and moving 10 hours a day (thankfully), but going barefoot or even wearing my vibrams is out of the question. When I go back to work an am forced to wear shoes (I’ve tried a variety, including running shoes), my feet and calves get so sore I can hardly walk the next day! I love going barefoot and most any paid I had has resolved itself, but how to I also adapt to a world that requires shoes?

    andrea wrote on July 28th, 2011
  7. I’ve been running in fives for the last 18 months. I severly strained/tore? a calf muscle the first week so be careful and take it slow. the new lace up running shoe they make are amazingly comfortable. i’ve recently started running in huarache sandals and like it even more. i got them at invisibleshoe.com and they are seriously minimalist.

    Travass wrote on July 28th, 2011
  8. At home, I never wear shoes. However, I work at a very conservative law firm so, obviously, i have to wear shoes.

    I have an neuroma on my left foot because I supinate. I guess I’m not going barefoot enough, but when I get my pedicure they tell me to wear shoes because the bottoms of my feet make a lot of work for them!

    At home, though, the shoes come off and they do not go back on!! Even out in the yard with all of the “hazards”. When I was a kid I was barefoot all the time. Our street was tarred with large rocks poking out of it, and I could run on that and not even notice.

    Grace wrote on July 28th, 2011
  9. Hey, has anyone thought about just wearing socks to run in? I can’t think they would be very restrictive at all and much cheaper than “barefoot” shoes!

    Grace wrote on July 28th, 2011
    • Haven’t tried socks but I have worn out a couple pair of “beach/wading shoes”. They last about 3 to 4 months before the soles wear thin or they just come apart. At $7.oo a pair I feel that’s not a bad value.

      skeedaddy wrote on July 29th, 2011
  10. One thing that helps a ton is eccentric calf lowering (3×10-20 per calf per day until you don’t hurt) as I found the calves are most likely the weak link when going towards this type of running. This removed all soreness and pain from all barefoot running and I haven’t had it since. Run in my Vibram Bikilas, and it is so much fun!

    George Mounce wrote on July 28th, 2011
  11. Perfect timing with my stingray sting on the sole of my foot. Be careful in the water too. This would kill a primitive man..totally unable to hunt and gather.

    Bill wrote on July 28th, 2011
  12. I enjoy being barefoot and hate wearing shoes. However, going out to shop or to work, I must have shoes on. I am currently experiencing plantar fasciitis in my left foot, and was thinking of getting inserts or some more expensive type of shoe (I generally just buy cheap gym shoes and this is what I wear to my part time job, where I am on my feet all the time.) Any suggestions for this?

    Debbie wrote on July 28th, 2011
  13. THis explains so much! I’ve been stomping round in my Vivos and barefoot for a while now but I though I’d finally have a go at doing some light jogging/ sprints.

    The result has been the pain in my arches for about a month now. I read somewhere that this could maybe be a result of a stress fracture in the metatarsal but I don’t know if that’s unlikely or not.

    Will definitely try the lacrosse ball thang.

    Jamish wrote on July 28th, 2011
  14. I can say I was fortunate enough to grow up in the San Diego area and Hawaii for most of my childhood and wore nothing but slippers (flip flops) or bare skin. Of course now I am stationed in Germany and it has been along time since then, but I started wearing Vibrams around the beginning of the year. I rarely wear shoes at home or on my days off. First thing through the door the boots come off. I hate wearing shoes and wear my Vibrams everywhere when we do leave the house. Europeans find them rather amusing.
    I guess I am trying to say that it didn’t take long for me to transition to barefoot due to the locations were I was raised. Just waiting for society to accept being barefoot so I can really enjoy walking around!!

    Chris Q wrote on July 28th, 2011
  15. I came across Vivobarefoot shoes by Terra Plana. They have a thin, flexible, puncture-proof(ish) sole and broad toebox allowing the toes to spread and flex.
    I have two pairs and wear them most of the time as I get cold feet going barefoot. My soles are getting tougher and I can feel the ground much more. I think they are a great transitioning shoe and still look “normal” whether you’re at work, out in public or hiking through the forest etc. Also, after seven months heavy wear, the soles still look new; I’ve worn out trainers much faster.

    Corinne Spiers wrote on July 29th, 2011
    • Thanks for the suggestion! My problem isn’t going ‘barefoot’ it’s when I have to wear shoes to work (my vibrams are not acceptable attire) that I get sore calves and feet! I will be checking these out!

      andrea wrote on July 29th, 2011
  16. I’ve been barefooting – or at least shoelessing – for my entire life, as it is custom in Sweden to remove your shoes indoors.

    A month ago I decided to take the money I ususally by a commuters card and instead get a pair of VFFs (it _almost_ covered the cost…). The plan was to walk back and forth to work – which makes for a daily 17km roundtrip. Three full weeks later I’m completely hooked!

    As school and kindergarten starts again in the fall, I’ll probably have to get a bike to ride, as drop-off times won’t allow for the full 90 minute walk – but I fully intend to do so whenever the opportunity arises.

    And this gives rise to a question – does anyone know if there are any “flat-foot” boots out there? Winters in Sweden tend to get kind of harsh, with temps between 0c and -10c (that would be between 30f-15f) for months and from time to time dropping to -20-ish or below (as in the -5f’s), so prancing around in my Sprints would probably not be the best of ideas.

    I did have a look at Sodhoppers, but the process of making and price point makes them way out of my range. So, in essence, what I’m after is a moccasin-like boot that is available off the shelf. Any ideas?

    Fred wrote on July 29th, 2011
    • I was thinking about the same thing – as I live in Denmark. Ugg boot, maybe? Their soles are relatively flat and thin, and they’re on sale rigth now.

      Ulla Lauridsen wrote on July 29th, 2011
      • Might work! Only – I don’t think they make those in men’s sizes…

        Fred wrote on July 29th, 2011
        • There are mens ugg boots, but their soles are much thicker, unfortunately.

          Ulla Lauridsen wrote on July 29th, 2011
    • Vibrams was starting to make leather/fur lined boots, but as far as I know they are only available on their Austrailian site.

      andrea wrote on July 29th, 2011
  17. Has anyone experienced cramping at night after starting to wear “barefoot like shoes”?.
    I had an old pair of Runamoc which I was using from time to time, then decided to buy a new pair and I have been wearing them all the time for the past 3/4 months.
    I get cramps most nights in the sole of my foot and toes…

    nico wrote on July 29th, 2011
  18. For those of us who live where it gets cold in the winter, a pair of aqua shoes (like people wear for pool walking) and some wool socks are perfect for winter. I live in Wisconsin and my $25-on-closeout Teva water shoes have seen me thru 3 winters now. I used to put on the heavy clunky hiking boots every winter to walk the dogs, shovel the drive, etc., and it was nothing short of a revelation to go thru a winter in those neoprene water shoes and a decent pair of wooly socks. Pretty darn economical, too!

    Beth wrote on July 29th, 2011
  19. Thanks for the post! I need to start strengthening my feet, so I appreciate the information.

    Tiff wrote on July 29th, 2011
  20. Good post, Mark. I really would like to see more people on here more knowledgeable about running barefoot. i think Ken Bob’s book and website is one of the simplest places to go to learn to run. From the comments I’ve read so far it looks like a lot of people are misunderstanding the form and are paying the consequences for it. http://www.therunningbarefoot.com go to the beginning section and read. I find running to be very different from walking. Also VFFs can disguise a lot of flaws in the form so many suggest learning to run barefoot without ANYTHING first and then if you’d like put on some form of minimalist shoes. Ken Bob explains it like you are trying to hear music but you’ve got head phones on. Minimalist shoes will turn down the music dramatically, but you still can’t hear what’s going on around you perfectly (I think that’s it). Jason Robillaird also has an online book that is usually free. I would check out these sources before just going out and running. All of the tips are good for preparing to go barefoot, but I think some more instruction on actually going barefoot will really help the readers out. It is true it is a natural way to run, but unfortunately most of us have lost it and really have to relearn the form.

    Caleb wrote on July 29th, 2011
  21. I’ve been 100% barefoot (or as near as possible) for a couple of months now and loving it. Thanks to a pair of Vibrams and a pair of Vivos (my boss forbade me to wear the former, so I also invested the latter as a compromise). I used to have so many problems with my feet, legs, hips and back, and they’ve all but vanished – the only aches I get now are in my back and Achilles tendons after work, cos frankly I’m on my feet doing a physical job for ridiculously long hours. The initial transition was fairly straightforward too, although I think I’ll be waiting a while before trying one of my walks sans Vibrams ;)

    Jo wrote on July 29th, 2011
  22. Anyone ever watched “Dual Survival” on Discovery? Cody Lundin never wears shoes and only wears shorts, no matter the terrain or weather. He barefoot in the desert, in swamps, and in the snow. Once he put on a pair of wool socks to get some traction on the ice. Of course, he’s been developing this over years and years. Pretty cool, though.

    JenCat wrote on July 29th, 2011
  23. I go barefoot around the house and garden in the warmer months and my feet really do get stronger and cease aching. The soles also toughen up and you don’t notice the slightly sharper ground objects after a while.

    What do people think about working out barefoot? I lift weights now and then in Vibrams so going the full monty wouldn’t be a worry.

    John Nugent wrote on July 29th, 2011
  24. Wow! This post was extremely timely for me, as I have been feeling frustrated after kind of rushing into barefoot walking a couple of weeks ago. I felt inspired, kicked off those shoes, and went for it. It felt great at the time and I just wanted to keep going! Last week the soreness caught up to me, and I’ve been avoiding walks altogether this week due to some nasty pain on the tops of my feet. It sounds like I may need to go out and get that lacrosse ball right away. . .

    Heather-Lee wrote on July 29th, 2011
  25. This is great! EVERYONE! check out TPtherapy.com… They have amazing products for working with fascia and soft tissue… Check them out, they are a great company!

    Randy Clere wrote on July 29th, 2011
  26. Born to Run is a great book!

    Thanks Mark, I really enjoyed this post. As a physical therapist, I have treated many victims who have taken the accelerated path when indulging in barefoot training. As with anything, it’s all about moderation. For rehab, once I have a person relatively pain-free, I get them on the treadmill with a pretty decent incline (barefoot or in their barefoot shoes, of course). I then have them walk for 2-3 min once per day, increasing a minute or two a week. Being on an incline forces your weight to be centered more on your forefoot and toes, which is more biomechanically sound while moving barefoot. This prepares the foot for walking on flatter ground, when your weight should be distributed through forefoot and mid-foot…..less stomping through the heels (which supportive, cushiony shoes allow us to do, ugh). Anyway, great post and happy barefooting everyone!!

    DPT2008 wrote on July 29th, 2011
  27. I wish I’d had this post two months ago when I tried to tackle a particularly rocky hike in my Vibrams!

    Did a beach trail on Sunday (also in Vibrams) and wound up with blisters. Clearly I need to ease into this. Thanks, Mark!

    Steph wrote on July 29th, 2011
  28. comment welcom on…e.g.
    low heel ‘e arthy type shoes’ etc

    erik CanT Ur wrote on July 29th, 2011
  29. I’ve been barefoot running for a while now and I think some of the best you give is definitely to swallow your pride. When I got into it, I went out and ran a mile on hot asphalt in 95 degree weather and got such a big blister I could hardly walk for a couple of days. Definitely wasn’t the smartest move of my life. Take it slow.

    The Primal Warrior wrote on July 29th, 2011
  30. I´ve been running short distances in Vibrams and, well, it feels great but you use your leg´s muscles in a different manner and the result it´s simple: Pain. No problems anyway with my lumbar discs (I have two hernias)You have to take it slow but run barefoot are great.

    El Grog wrote on July 29th, 2011
  31. Wish I’d had the advice in this article. I bought some light weight running shoes. They felt better and my running times improved. I thought I was easing in. Then I got plantar fasciitis in both feet. It just happened one day. No warning. 18 months later my right foot is now cured; I still have to tape my left foot. I didn’t know what PF was until I had it.

    Mike wrote on July 30th, 2011
  32. Um… Would this be safe to do in New York City…? It’s so dirty.

    Egle wrote on July 30th, 2011
  33. Does anyone have an opinion about Yogatoes? They’re rubber toe separators that you wear inserted between your toes, (like what is sometimes used during pedicures, but out of a sturdier material). I have a pair and after wearing them for a few months, the muscles of my feet seem stronger and more coordinated, the ball of my foot is slightly wider, and my toes kind of stretched out and got longer. To me it seems like a good way to counteract the effects a lifetime of shoe wearing.

    tkm wrote on July 30th, 2011
    • Before I ever got into primal or doing and teaching Nia, I did use a version of Yogatoes because I was looking for something to alleviate foot pain from plantar fasciitis and other pain that was probably metatarsalgia or Morton’s neuroma. The yogatoes really helped. I just wore them every night while reading in bed (the kind I had said not to walk with them on) and I would just wear them until it hurt. Gradually the length of tine I could wear them without hurting stretched out and now I could wear them all day and it would not hurt. Meanwhile my toes straightened out and the pain I was having when walking decreased. I think that straightenign my toes (which were not very un-straight) made more room for the nerve in the ball of my foot. That’s my theory anyway. So I’d certainly recommend trying them as an aid to a more natural stance and walk. S you say, to help conteract all that shoe wearing.

      Kathy wrote on July 31st, 2011
  34. I’ve been wearing vibrams daily for the last 3 months and it’s made a great deal of difference.

    It’s been pretty easy to gradually build yourself up with them over time. The first thing I told myself when I bought them is that there is no rush.

    I’m now bringing a few runs a week (no more than 15min), and so far so good. Your feet soon adapt.

    Guy wrote on July 30th, 2011
  35. Ive been running barefoot 5k’s for about 6 months now.

    I must say it is very discouraging to start out. The longer the transition to going completely barefoot – the better. Most people want to fly out the door and be ready to run barefoot. I never used vibrams, instead I used ZEMS.

    Once you do make it, its worth all the pain. The looks I get and the conversations that people start with me is just great. Everyone wants to know why, and it brings up the perfect opportunity to share with them the benefits of barefooting.

    Evan wrote on July 31st, 2011
  36. I’ve been transitioning to eating primally for about 2 months, and I’ve been following it hardcore for about 2 weeks. I am turning primal gradually by changing small things in my life here and there.

    I was taking the dog out, and I stood on small gravel. I said to myself “Self, this hurts, just standing here. Your feet are so weak!” And thus I decided to make going barefoot my next goal. I’m excited :)

    Ben Young wrote on July 31st, 2011
  37. I have been thinking about running barefoot, but have been scared since I run like a Clydesdale Horse. Thanks for the progression into it post.

    Thrive Lancaster wrote on August 1st, 2011
  38. I’ve always thought it funny that people in US wear shoes inside the house.

    When I go to work I can’t wait to arrive so that I can take my shoes off. And even more when I come home from work I can’t wait to take my shoes AND my socks off (and the rest of the clothes as well). It’s liberating!

    Of course, now it’s summer so I walk in my Vibrams.

    Captain Obvious wrote on August 1st, 2011
  39. Hi Mark, maybe you or someone on this forum can help me with my problem! I started wearing VFFs back in June 2010. Took about a month for my feet to get acclimated, nothing extraordinary. I ran my 12th marathon, first one in VFFs in October 2010 with no problems. In March 2011, I ran my 13th marathon, 2nd in VFFs with no problems. In April, I ran a trail 5K in the VFFs and made a sprint to the finish (effectively winning my first race). Shortly thereafter, I experienced excruciating pain in my right arch – it felt as if it had collapsed. I had a 50k race at the end of that month that I was unable to complete due to my arch pain.

    It’s August 2nd and I still can’t run properly because of the pain in my feet. I went from being a heel striking runner w/ no issues to a forefoot striker w/ immense arch pain.

    Charmaine wrote on August 2nd, 2011
  40. What about fire ants? I can’t imagine going shoeless in my region because of the stupid fire ants. How do you deal with those?

    Sarah wrote on August 8th, 2011

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