Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
August 10 2007

Even If the Shoe Fits… Forget It.

By Aaron
61 Comments

When was the last time you left your house without shoes? Hard to say? When was the last time you ran without shoes? Summer, circa 12 years old? If you are to listen to the growing number of barefoot runners out there you are truly missing out.

This little piggie...

Ricardipus Flickr Photo (CC)

It turns out we were all born barefoot. No, really. As hard as it is to believe, no one came strolling into this world pre-packaged with a pair of loafers or Nike’s latest cross-trainers. That alone is a good enough argument for not wearing shoes, right? Yeah, yeah, so goes the same argument for public nudity. But there really is something to the notion that going barefoot (not bare-naked) is good for you.

As a devout Primal Health philosophy follower you can count me in as a believer. I mean, what could be more primal than running around barefoot? I don’t know about you, but the idea of darting around sans shoes immediately brings two images to mind. The first being a barbarous, crazed-looking Neanderthal with a spear in one hand and a half eaten rabbit in the other – ready to pounce at any given moment. Pleasant, I know.

On the other hand it calls to mind visions of happy children relishing the feeling of recently cut grass on their naked and nimble toes as they parade about an expanse of green lawn.

drp Flickr Photo (CC)

To your average tennie-wearing John Doe these words paint two seemingly diametrically opposed pictures. But viewed through the lenses of the barefoot enthusiast they both embody the essence of going shoeless. That is, the visceral, animal-like use of feet the way they were originally ‘intended,’ while at the same time fully appreciating the extra-sensory and tactile experience you can only get without sneakers.

The Primal Health philosophy supports the notion that the fewer man-made foot crutches the better. Think about it. We have these amazing feet with intricate structures designed to keep us upright and moving gracefully. What they weren’t designed to do is operate bound up in artificial materials. Our ancestors existed without foot protection for eons. Without shoes to keep their feet protected from this harsh world they developed tough skin and strong ligaments. They fared just fine without the latest high-tops. But in an effort to guard against any potential harm modern man has employed buckles, straps, laces, Velcro, soles and toe boxes. According to some we may have gone too far. We now have shoes that look disturbingly more like a device you would expect to see employed during the Inquisition than foot protection.

Don’t get me wrong. No one is suggesting that you head on into the office Monday morning with your ugly feet leading the way. Shoes are great. I have more pairs than I would like to admit. But there may be such a thing as too much shoe.

So what is the allure of running shoeless?

Here are just a few of the arguments:

– The elevated, softened heel support found in most shoes impedes our natural gait and can result in a shortened Achilles tendon and calf muscle.

– Running without shoes takes upwards of 4% less energy than running with shoes. It makes sense really. Some effort must go into lugging the extra weight around.

– Running shoes are designed to make you land on your heel as you step forward. Can you imagine running heel to toe without shoes? You wouldn’t do it. It would be much too traumatic. So why are we forced to do it with shoes? Landing on your heel results in undue shock and potential injury to your knees and back. The natural and most effective way to run, as exemplified by top marathon runners, is to land on the ball of your foot – keeping your steps light and smooth, and allowing your arch to act like the natural spring it is.

– It is cheaper! You no longer have to fork over your hard earned cash to shoe manufacturers.

– Running shoeless helps to improve your running technique which can result in increased speed. Just ask barefoot Abebe Bikila who won the 1960 Olympic marathon in Rome.

– No more athlete’s foot or foot odor! Both are associated with sweaty and poorly ventilated shoes.

– Going shoeless helps develop strength in muscles found in your feet, hips and legs that aren’t used when wearing shoes. This in turn can increase coordination, agility and balance.

– It feels good. Literally being in touch with nature at all times makes you more aware of your surroundings and can be very therapeutic.

Can’t imagine running barefoot? Yes, I know you love your Dr. Scholl’s inserts, padded cushions, arch supports, insoles and orthotics, but part of the reason you feel like you need them is because you have been using them for so long.

Our feet are soft and weak. There are no calluses to be found. Our feet have been locked up between layers of fabric and rubber ever since they saw the light of day. They have been babied and pampered to their own demise.

Just like the rest of your body, feet need tough love too.

But don’t go cold turkey. It’s not just your skin that is soft and sensitive. Your tendons and muscles will also need some conditioning. You’ve got to ease into it. Head for grassy fields or sandy beaches and begin by walking. Or do what we do and wear shoes that are barely there.

We here at Mark’s Daily Apple are all barefoot exercising fools. When we aren’t going outright barefoot we go as near barefoot as possible. You may have heard about Mark’s love for hiking in his barely there Vibram Fivefingers. And Sara trains in her favorite Stella McCartney athletic shoes. Luckily, there are near barefoot options for those looking for a bit of protection, but who also want the biomechanical benefits of going au natural.

Sara’s Narellas

You don’t have to take it from us. The barefoot revolution has been touted by numerous newspapers (1, 2, 3), magazines, and bloggers worldwide. It has even received the attention of Nike and well-paid world-class athletes.

Although it is becoming more popular every day running barefoot is still a contentious issue. What do you think, Apples?

For further research and to find out whether going barefoot is for you check out these additional resources:

Barefoot Ted’s Adventures

Sportscience Journal Article

Yahoo! Barefoot Running Group

RunningBarefoot.org

BarefootRunner.org


Sponsor note:

This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference!

Subscribe to Mark’s Daily Apple feeds

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

61 thoughts on “Even If the Shoe Fits… Forget It.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Shoes; not necessary. A bit dangerous where rocky, but running on the sandy beach is much easier.

    And thinking about the beach…

    Considering the same Primal Health precepts, will it soon be that clothes are optional, as well?

    It would certainly get me to run more!

    😉

  2. I’ve been running without shoes for over a month and a half now. I won’t be going back to shoes.

    Feet were designed for walking and running.

  3. Barefoot? It would get rid of the sock line farmers tan. I ran a marathon 7 years ago. I noticed a man running barefoot. He also only wore a loin cloth….he finished. Aside from rocks, what about the ground, it’s hot! I’d run barefoot in sand if I had sand. I just don’t know…

  4. I’m glad to hear we have some readers that are part of the barefoot community!

    Barefoot running does have some level of danger involved and shoes do come in handy given certain conditions – ice, snow, and glass come to mind. But for the most part running without shoes just makes you focus more on where and how you place your feet.

    Crystal-
    As I said, it does take some getting us to and you really should ease into it to avoid injury. One of the reasons many people can’t even imagine running barefoot is because they have foot pain even when wearing shoes. To me that is further evidence to get rid of shoes. All that extra support leads to weak, underdeveloped feet, increased incidence of injury, and thusly pain. Give it a try and see what you think!

  5. I was told when I was younger that if your feet are comfortable then the rest of your body is as well.
    Nice read btw.

  6. Their used to be barefoot kickers in college and pro football. I have golfed on occasion in bare feet. Well groomed grass really can be therapeutic and give your foot a messaged sort of feeling with every step.
    I recommend that everyone should walk on a golf course barefoot. Just watch out for broken tees!

    1. I’ve been going primarily barefoot for nearly 40 years.

      I strongly advise against running barefoot on ANY grass ANYWHERE and especially on a golf course. Two words PESTICIDES & HERBICIDES. A friend had a dog that played on a lawn that had just been sprayed with pesticide. The dog died in convulsive agony a week later.

  7. It hasn’t even occurred to me that walking or running barefoot could be a very pleasurable experience. After reading this post I am going to head down to the beach this weekend and let my feet “breathe”. Thanks.

  8. Aaron- o.k., I’ll add that to my to-do-list. I always ran around barefoot as a kid and hated shoes. Wasn’t too excited about shoes in college either. I have regreted that because I thought it contributed to my feet problems. Maybe not! I had a chiropractor tell me to run in sand, of course I was in hawaii at the time.

  9. Our feet are the first in the line of connection to the earth and movement. Want to find your natural running stride? Go barefoot. Of course I prefer grass and sand. Probably won’t see too many heel strikers like you do with those spring-loaded shoes nowadays. Great article!

  10. As an owner of two shoe stores, I have to admit my first inclination to your blog was; you can’t be serious with all this “barefoot-ology” that you are espousing. After all, if the message of this blog gets out to the masses and really catches on, my livelihood could be in real jeopardy. But I have to say you make some powerful arguments and have definately peeked my curiosity. Just keep this on the DL, please.

    1. Re Shoe-store Owner.

      Maybe you should look into carrying some minimal moccasins and moccasin-type shoes in your stores. 🙂

  11. I don’t think I would be able to run a Ironman marathon barefoot. I have just started used a new running shoe by Newton. They are designed on striking on the forefoot. They have changed my whole running style for the better. I am able to run faster with less effort. I will never go back to the traditional running shoe again. If I could manage running barefoot during an Ironman race I would give it a try, but I don’t think I would be able to manage that considering how long the overall race is.

    1. You absolutely can run marathon distance/ultra distance/any distance while barefoot or in minimalist shoes – and it doesn’t matter if you have high arches, flat feet, pronate, supinate, whatever. We started out running 2k (was training for a 50km at the time) and then gradulally build. The less you ware on your feet, the faster you learn the new way, but you absolutely need to start really short. I’d do most of my run in my regular shoes and then just switch for the last little bit (loop passt my house to change). Each run I would use the minimalist shoes for a little more of the run until I didn’t need the old shoes at all. Been doing it for years and haven’t had a running injury since!

  12. Mark Hi….have just started reading yr blog though have read periodic stuff of yr oer the yrs.

    My question comes from looking at what you eat and the amount you exercise.

    Looking at what you eat do you have a rough estimate of how many cals you eat please ?

    I try and walk most days for 40 mins and do daily a series of ATP exercises i designed when loafing around coming back from Africa….. a cross between plyometrics, pilates, yoga and well chaotically variable exercises each done for 20 plus seconds and then again after a mins rest or so.
    Anyways i digress BUT i don’t think i could eat as you do and not be plainly hungry……..at 8% body fat and with yr level of exercise/activity it just seems woefully low albeit of course deadly healthful.

    Perplexed and off (shoe)topic.

    Sinc.

    Simon

  13. Hi Simon,

    I recognize you from your many good posts at de vany.

    I would guess I’am averging 2500 – 2800 calories a day on most days. I try to eat as many veggies as possible, but as you know, am not afraid of fats in avocado, olive oils, nuts, butter etc. I shoot for 120-130 grams of protein a day (500 calories). 100-120 grams of fat (1000). I make the rest up with vegetables (with dressings and butter) and some fruit. I’m going several days at a time with no bread/pasta/dessert/rice/potato or other starchey or refined simple carbs. Don’t miss any of that stuff anymore. When I get hungry, I grab a handful of nuts, which serves to take the edge off. But mostly, I’m never really that hungry. That’s a big change for me, since I was known for my eating prowess at college and later during my training days. I think it’s just a matter of conditioning like anything else.

    Hope that helps.

    Mark

  14. I got the Vibram fivefinger shoes last week to wear at the beach, and found the experience to be worth the price of admission! I’m not ready to go fully barefoot, but it’s the next-best thing, and you don’t have to worry about cutting your foot on a rock, shell, twig or what have you. It really does make you want to just run up a tree. I can feel the muscles in my feet getting stronger already, and plus, it’s just plain fun. Also a great conversation starter – you can’t help but stare at someone wearing five fingered “shoes”!

  15. The only time i go barefoot is when i go swimming or outside walking in the yard, or sweeping the front driveway, back patio. Other than that, I LOVE MY NIKES!!!

  16. I’m not a runner, but I am a big barefoot proponent!! I know people who never go barefoot, except in bed and the shower! Me? I kick off shoes as soon as I get home, and whenever possible. Even in work, several times I’ve been “caught” shoeless!!

    Personally I hate shoes and only wear them when I must. I can still remember as a kid having to get used to wearing shoes when school started after summer break…yep, my mom was a barefooter too! I always remember what my pediatrician told me when my kids were little….there are 2 purposes of shoes. 1. to keep the feet warm in cold weather and 2. to prevent injury.

    I think I’m going to start toughening up my feet…I live on a gravel road, so wearing shoes (at this point) is a must….but the blacktop (and grass on either side) is tolerable.

  17. My wife bought me a pair of Vibram FiveFingers (a.k.a. “MonkeyFeet”) earlier this year and I love ’em! Kinda pricy, but awesome!

    I’m forever kicking off my shoes as soon as I get home. I painstakingly worked my back yard until it was weed-free just so I could pad around barefoot out there.

  18. Hey everyone, i have put at least a couple hundred miles in with no shoes on the past few months. I will tell you one thing, ITS GREAT!, i love the looks/comments/thoughts of non barefooters. I love the quote “Don’t you know there is glass on the ground…?” I simply replay, “Really? Thanks”…..I am the one running hundreds of miles with no shoes on, and some overweight McDonalds carrying human has the nerve to tell me about ‘glass’….thanks

  19. Nice work! Barefoot is so good for the soul.

    For other ‘barefoot’ shoe choices check out my site and don’t forget Feelmax who have also put out a great product.

  20. This is an awesome article… I have written a great number similar, but just not quite as lengthy. My in-person rant is almost word for word.

    I graduated to Vibram five fingers from my Nike Frees (which I still use every now and again, but that’s still a LOT of padding on the bottom… they do travel extremely well :))

    I LOVE BAREFOOT RUNNING/WALKING/MAKING OUT 😉

    (now I need a bumper sticker)

    Anyone help a guy out??

    😉

    Clinton

  21. I was at first curious about Vibram 5 Finger shoes and contacted Vibram headquarters with further questions. Instead I received trite, manufactured, generic, dispassionate responses from their customer service department – GEORGIA SHAW (this woman has absolutely no idea what customer service is). For a small company trying to break into a very large industry, they certainly think small when hiring such incompetent staff. If they are that bad at customer service how can I trust their shoes on my feet?

  22. Huh! just finished a good 5 mile run in one of the urban parks here in Lost Angeles…. yes the trail was dusty it was nice and cool low 70’s i do my running sans stinking s#o3s thank you… your body adjusts naturally to the striking of the ground…. i don’t shuffle my feet, nor drag them… i can hear other runners coming from behind just by those two things alone…. i’m running as God intended us to run… no blisters, nor injuries here… none whatsoever.. Going up hill its running on the balls of the feet… coming down (the fun part) all out…. there are patches where there are larger size rocks and stuff but I compensate by slowing down and always looking where I’m going to land at least 2 -3 yards ahead… kind of like a radar… but truly, running without shoes is over rated it’s mostly dust and dirt it is just how it looks that is deceiving oh and yes there were looks of “disbelief” as I ran downhill full speed as other hikers were coming up…. I could feel the warmth of the sun on the sunny parts on the ground and the coolness on the shady parts… after a good shower I’m good as new.. I could not agree more… even if the s#o3 fits forget ’em

  23. Read another article about barefoot running:
    it proves that shoes may cause injuries and that running barefoot causes joy and listening to your body and it starts the discussion again whether we were born to run or not. Most of the paleo people out there – like De Vany and Sisson – tell us that we were NOT evolved to run long distances, but maybe they only know running on shoes – Marc you ran probably only ran with shoes – my experience with primeval running is that it is very non linear, stochastic, and I was never injuries, only on shoes, the same experience in the mentioned article!
    sse at: http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/diet_and_fitness/article6160557.ece

  24. I got some Vibrams last November and I haven’t worn runners since. I am running faster and no more pain or discomfort. I even bought my wife and son a pair and when my daughters feet get big enough she is getting a pair too.
    Running in vibrams was weird at first; had to adjust my stride ( no more heel strikes) and get used to the sensation of actually feeling the ground under my feet. I wish I had never waited so long to find out about bare footing ( almost bare foot anyways) and I can’t see me going back to shoes. I wear them for running, crossfit and everyday use except work as I can’t wear them in uniform.
    Bare foot or as close as you can go is the best. I am going to be emailing this link to my friends who think I may be getting weird wearing the vibrams and qouting Mark Sisson at work.

    Love the website too Mark. Weird how someone I have never met can have a positive change on my life.

    Rob

  25. Great article Mark, as always.

    Couldn’t agree more with all the comments about barefoot being good for the soul – you should connect with the earth physically at least once a day.

    Unfortunately, a motorbike accident in my teens put an end to me running in all but the most padded and supportive of shoes, but I always take the opportunity to go barefoot on the golf course, in the weights room, or on the nice cool marble floor of the local shopping centre. Everyone should try those!

    1. I wrote to an earlier post about running/walking barefoot on grass.

      In a word: DON’T

      You never know what had been sprayed with herbicides and pesticides. Don’t even assume your green friend’s lawn is OK, they may be a renter and don’t do the maintenance. Early on in my “barefoot” career, a friend had a dog that died in convulsive fits about a week after playing on a lawn that had just been sprayed with pesticide.

  26. Interesting post, it made me think back to my youth when I used to spend most of my day barefoot.

    Since we lived near the ocean I spent a lot of time going back and forth to the beach and would walk or run there barefoot crossing parking lots with sharp hot stone and walk down to the water crossing sand so hot others would run like crazy.

    Theses days just standing out on the hot cement burns my feet.

    But I do spend all my time home barefoot LOL

  27. One word of caution on the Vibram Five Fingers. If you’ve got long monkey toes, or if you 2nd toe is longer then your big toe, you will have a very hard time finding a pair that is comfortable. Until Vibram starts making shoes with longer toes some of us just can’t wear em.

    But going barefoot is great, I have been doing it for quite some time and my feet are much more healthy. Make sure to by a “Ped-egg” or something similar to cut down on the callous formation and rub some coconut oil on your feet every day to keep the skin healthy.

  28. Back in 1970 I was living in Hawaii and starting a lifetime of running. I tried running for less than a week without shoes and found myself in a world of pain…and this only about two miles a day. I was six foot tall 155 lbs and fit, and this barefoot thing nearly ruined me. I’ve spent my life running in the best shoes money can buy, and always keep several pairs that I rotate through and replace long before most people would consider them worn out. I think running shoeless or nearly shoeless is going to be great for the foot doctors. The rest of you may get by with this for a while, but sooner or later you’re going to have serious issues. Been there, done it and I say FORGET IT

    1. So you’re saying that you spent a lifetime atrophying all the muscles in your feet and ankles, then went straight to barefoot RUNNING (not walking), only gave yourself a week to adjust without rest or time off, and you’re wondering why you were in pain? Huh, who woulda thunk?

  29. barefoot running is geting more popular, but its actually tough on concrete.. i know some say the smooth surface makes it the easiest but after numerous runs I still can’t see why they would say that, grass and dirt is by far easier.. wearing vibrams are even better, this vibram five fingers site talks alot more about it.

    Have you tried the nike frees, great shoes as well but nothing like barefoot, don’t know why they make that claim to be barefoot style shoes. this review has pretty good info on how they compare with vibram fivefingers directly:

    http://barefootrunningshoes.org/2009/10/08/nike-free-versus-vibram-five-fingers-10-points/

    Great review, I’ll keep checking your site for updated info!

  30. Wow…I loved this article. I grew up going barefoot whenever I wasn’t at school or church (my husband thinks I’m a hick). In my adult life I began wearing all kinds of fashionable high heeled shoes and sports shoes, and now my feet are weird looking. Where they used to be tough enough to walk on gravel, I now hop a little when I find a pebble. What a freeing experience last year when I removed my shoes at the summit of a small mountain and hiked to the bottom with my boots tied together and slung over my shoulder. I nearly danced over the rocks and loved the springs I walked through and the cool patches of grass. An amazing experience that I’ve not forgotten and look forward to next hike.

    Recently I ran the last part of a jog without my shoes, and I noticed a difference in the muscles I was using, but I think I could get used to in short order.

    I’m a no-shoes girl, hick or not.

  31. Mark,

    Sorry to bother you, but looks like you got a spammer in your midst: “heathjones” two comments up — I see these same links to barefootrunningshoes plastered everywhere anyone talks about VFFs.

    Just thought you might want to know!

    Justin

  32. When I took up kick boxing I had to train barefoot for the first time since I was a kid. Within 3 months I threw out my expensive orthodics!

    All the jumping, jogging, twisting and turning barefoot made my feet stronger and my ankles line up better.

  33. Mark: I just read your Insider email for today about not wearing shoes in public. The social faux pas for no shoes seems about as strong as for breastfeeding babies in public. The sexualized breast must be only good for a turn on and nothing more (smirk). If I wasn’t brave enough to expose the nipple in public (over the past 7 years) for the sake of my baby, I don’t think I can be ready for bare foot in the supermarket. But, I go barefoot as often as I can, and you have inspired me. I am also trying to remember to do some time without glasses on my face to get some unfiltered UV into my eyes each day. I wonder if you could advocate for the babies and the breast in your musings. Breastfeeding moms discuss this all the time (see Mothering magazine at Borders or your local library). But, it’s the rest of society that should be reached with the idea that even such a thing as being comfortable with the breast in public (for the babies, at least) would be the first step in encouraging world peace. Babies who are peaceful, contented and well nourished can optimally develop with an unfractured sense of self–in the first seven years, the world should be a good place.

    1. Try water-socks, some call them cheap river shoes, $20 and with the very soft sole you preserve a bare-foot gait without having to toughen up your epidermis with scar-tissue (glass, etc)

    2. Actually, it’s not the social stigma….it’s the insurance.

      I’ve been going primarily barefoot for over 40 years and at least people don’t burn you with cigarettes on the dance floor because they think you’re weird but I have stopped pushing my agenda by going barefoot in busineses.

      You see, they don’t know if you’re a responsible person or not. They don’t have a clue if you would own up to your personal responsibility if you cut your foot on a piece of glass in their restaurant or stubbed your toe on a metal edge of the doorway.

      It’s out of respect for the possible loss of their livelihood that I now wear shoes in other people’s property I don’t know.

      I’m responsible but there are a lot of cock of the walks out there who would take advantage after seeing me.

  34. Interesting research on heel-first vs. ball-first walking and running: http://esciencenews.com/articles/2010/02/12/human.use.heel.first.gait.because.it.efficient.walking

    If I understand correctly, one should walk heel-first, but run ball-first… I don’t mean in what’s most energy effective (even though that seems to be the case), but purely for minimizing damage to the feet for later life.

    It seems that ball-first too much also isn’t very good (as most athletes do it in excess it seems).

    1. I’ve been barefoot (not constantly of course but always in the house) and mostly outside for over 40 years. I started this journey with a two year stint of NO shoes ever even with small amounts of snow on the ground. My only shoe for the past 8 (I think) years has been MEN’S Vibrams, (arch too high and foot way too wide in all the wrong places for any other shoe). Think Hobbit feet.

      If you are barefoot, it is best to ALWAYS step near flat foot with a slight bit of the front ball coming down first. If you try to come down heel first (even walking), it’s not a matter of if, but when you will severely damage your heel on a stone or stick. You are committing your full weight to an area of your foot the size of a quarter.

      Stepping flat allows your foot and leg to “immediately adjust” if you are on top of something sharp or irregular. Your foot will adjust around it. If you come down heel first, there’s no possibility of adjustment before damage.

  35. I tried the Vibrams about 3 years ago, but my feet were too wide for them and they’re in my sneaker graveyard. Other than that, in a world of broken glass, bottle caps and bacterial resistance it’s just impractical for the roads, for the beach, yes. Raceing flats probably offer the best compromise. Enjoy the site Mark!

  36. Personally I’m not a fan, but maybe I should give them another go once summer comes around

  37. Winter boots?

    I am new to the barefoot lifestyle/barefoot running. Going barefoot cured my plantar fasciitis, which I got when I jumped into running and didn’t realize I was doing it wrong. Now I live barefoot or in softstars mocs when I need protection. HOWEVER, now winter has come to Pittsburgh, and I can’t find a warm, dry boot that doesn’t have a heel! I tried Uggs, but it doesn’t feel and move like barefoot, either. Thinking of trying EARTH shoe brand boots, but I don’t know if that “negative heel” thing is any better than the built-up heels of other brands.
    If anyone can tell me what you do for a winter boot that feels as close to barefoot as possible, I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you!

    1. Vibrams is coming out with a winter line – check out their website.

  38. How I see it is you’re either barefoot or you’re not. I have not had a pair of shoes touch my feet in over 6 months, minus one school concert I chose to do so, although even before I made the conscious choice to not wear shoes, one would rarely see me shod.

    I have hiked on snow and ice, I have walked across parking lots full of glass, and I have taken my bare feet in many “unsafe” environments. I have to say that I have injured my feet the worst in my own backyard, because I wasn’t looking where I was going. It was then I found out that walking around thorn bushes can be quite painful, especially if the thorns have an additional irritant.

    As far as glass goes, unless it’s sticking straight up and one doesn’t slide or drag their foot over it, it isn’t a problem. And it is rare to have it sticking straight up (ever flip a coin and have it land on its side?). The beauty about being barefoot is being able to get quicker feedback about my environment. If I feel that something is sharp, I’m able to quickly adjust my step to take the weight and pressure off that area. If I were in flips, or other thin-soled shoe, I would have my much of my full weight down before I would notice there was something sharp and be able to step off. I have stepped on a few nails this way, actually.

    I did buy a pair of vibrams over 18 months ago… that are collecting dust and haven’t been worn for a year. I have taken them with me to hike a few times (in case I couldn’t handle the ice and snow), but they only stayed in the bottom of my pack.

  39. The last time I ran barefoot? Last fall, and I’ll be doing it again this spring. I’ve been going barefoot as often as possible since the day I was born (I’m also told I was quite the nudist in my younger years 😉 )

  40. This is an awesome article. I think that everyone should at LEAST try running barefoot.

    I advise all of my clients to at least imagine running barefoot when running…. this is critical to proper running form.

    Thanks for sharing!

  41. I ranted on in another post, and so I will add by saying: I tried the cushions and the fortified arch supports and the high-ankle boots and the stablizer shoes, and the custom orthotics and the shoes “made for the pronating female in mind” and ditched them all. And I think my feet (and me!) are better off for it. I think you’re right on…

  42. I have been wearing Vibram’s while hiking, walking, working out for the last few months. They have made a huge difference in how I feel when I run. I do find it harder to run right now because I am still adjusting to them, but I also find I have much less pain afterwards.

    I am not at the point where I wear them all day every day… still love wearing my sexy shoes (even though they hurt my feet!) but I definitely find myself wearing more flat flexible shoes than ever before to the office to try to simulate that barefoot feeling.

  43. Been barefoot for since 2001. I walk & run barefoot, on all surfaces. I am on the Zone, Codes & Fire boards. Most people in town have never seen me in shoes. I eat very primal. 2000-3000 cals per day. I am 6+, 165 lbs.

  44. I was wondering if wearing flip flops is good or bad for our feet? I have a friend criticizing her daughter for wearing flip flops much of the time.