Friday, August 20, 2010

Barefoot Running

I began reading this amazing book this year that inspired me in many, many ways. Apparently, many others are becoming interested in what it has to offer. The book is called, "Born to Run" and has impacted thousands!

Author Christopher Mcdougall creates an astonishing read that incorporates real live people who are changing running history as we speak. The book is of the journey Christopher takes to discover why he was continually getting injured only running a few miles a week, while others could run marathons and remain uninjured. His journey leads him to a virtually unknown tribe, called the Tarahumara, who dwell in Mexico. This unique group of beings are known for their ability to run amazingly long distances and with little resources to propel their strong running abilities. Throughout his journey, Christopher meets many people who all have seemingly inhuman qualities about them.

One character that Christopher portrays in his book is a man named Barefoot Ted. Now if I had known of this man sooner I would've gotten to listen to him lecture at the college I was attending. Unfortuantly, I missed this opportunity but even so I am still uniquely interested in what he has to offer. His story is intriguing and inspiring, and his running method is becoming more of a fad each day! People have become more excited by the idea each day that I finally found a yahoo page that supported the idea that Barefoot Ted has been promoting.

Barefoot running has started to become a trend. Once again, it seems that humans are shifting back to an older method of running that our oldest ancestors likely used.

Incase the link doesn't open, here's what yahoo page says:

Baring It All: The Barefoot Running Trend user by Susan Rinkunas, RUNNER'S WORLD.

Have you seen the alien shoes spotted on celebrities recently? Matthew McConaughey and girlfriend Camila Alves wear them to work out, actor Channing Tatum runs in them, and Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George sports them for beach football.

Just what are these funky, rubber glove toe socks? They’re Vibram FiveFingers—shoes that are meant to mimic the experience of running without shoes, yet protect your feet from dirt and debris. Why would people want to run without their cushy trainers? Running without shoes can strengthen your feet, ankles, and lower legs and improve balance. Some say modern running shoes are to blame for injuries. And one man wrote an immensely popular book that concluded as much.

The 10 laws of injury prevention

Vibram started making the five-toed shoes in 2006, but the trend really picked up steam last year, following the publication of Christopher McDougall's book “Born to Run.” The book describes how Mexico’s Tarahumara Indians have become some of the greatest long-distance runners in the world despite running barefoot or in sandals fashioned from tire rubber. McDougall chronicles an ultramarathon race in Mexico’s Copper Canyons attended by a group of Americans including “Barefoot Ted” McDonald, who either ran sans shoes or in FiveFingers, in case of sharp rocks. The author argues that we’d be better off without the souped-up shoes marketed to us by giants like Nike and Adidas, which he says have done nothing to prevent injuries. The book made “The New York Times” bestseller list, and now TMZ is photographing celebrities in their very own lizard shoes.

According to CNN, the FiveFingers have become so popular that the company is having a hard time keeping them in stock—and stopping counterfeiters from selling knock-offs online.

Some barefoot devotees simply like the sensation of feeling the surface they’re running on while others swear up and down that ditching traditional running shoes has helped them prevent injuries. While there’s no scientific evidence to support the latter claim, we do know that running barefoot or in barefoot-style shoes like the FiveFingers or Nike Free changes one’s running mechanics. When runners aren’t wearing shoes with built-up soles, they tend to land in the middle or toward the front of their feet rather than on their heel and researchers believe that such midfoot or forefoot striking results in less impact on the body. But as Susan Paul, M.S., exercise physiologist and program director for the Orlando Track Shack Foundation says, “To date, there are no studies indicating that running shoes contribute to injury or, conversely, that barefoot running reduces injury or makes you run faster.”

The mechanics of barefoot running

If you’re thinking about shedding your shoes, consider these guidelines:

Barefoot training is not for people who are just starting to run or returning from a long layoff—it’s something to slowly incorporate into an existing running regimen.
If you have persistent or serious foot problems, consult your podiatrist first.
Ease in slowly. Paul advises starting with a few minutes on a flat, relatively forgiving surface once a week. Grassy fields, smooth roads, and soft trails qualify. Running on sand might be tempting, but barefooting newbies should stick to wet sand at first as the unstable soft stuff puts a lot of torque on your joints and is much harder to run on.

Listen to your body. “Barefoot Ken Bob” Saxton, founder of and finisher of more than 70 barefoot marathons, says, “Luckily, your feet are sensitive, which is a good thing. Listen to them and they'll keep you from doing something stupid.”

(No Copyright Infringement Intended)

For more information on "Born to Run" check out Christopher McDougall's blog:


  1. I've read an article that tackled the same topic. I find barefoot running weird, but that's probably because I'm so accustomed to shoes.

  2. Christopher is one of the few people who got me started running... I love his story and would certainly recommend it to anyone deeply into barefoot running...A piece of advise, before hitting the road, be sure to have a good barefoot running shoes