Starting running – to barefoot or not?
So my experience in converting to barefoot – no injuries, sore feet for the first few times, and significantly more enjoyment. It needn’t be a major issue if you are a beginner.
I didn’t injure myself because I was only doing two or three miles at a time, because that’s all I could run without getting very uncomfortable.Posted 7 years ago
Ask me how many injuries I’ve had with minimal shoes, Ed, go on.
But your not a high mileage or fast runner (by your won admission IIRC) so you are not representative.
I do sometimes get injuries but when family/work/energy allow I train and race intensively.
You run in “minimalist” (which is only marketing hype as I have said before) and I run in “typical” mid range running shoes.
What conclusion can we draw from this?Posted 7 years ago
You run in “minimalist” (which is only marketing hype as I have said before)
Marketing hype? There’s a clear difference, it’s obvious. You may not think it’s better but it’s very obvioulsy different.Posted 7 years ago
I didn’t injure myself because I was only doing two or three miles at a time, because that’s all I could run without getting very uncomfortable.
Then you could probably run in flip flops and still not get injured. It is your opinion and frankly based on a meaningless sample.Posted 7 years ago
You may be good heel striking, but you may be even better with a different style
You missed the bit where I said I messed up my ankle? I’ll stick with what’s comfy thanks, hunPosted 7 years ago
There isnt a clear difference what you mean (and you have explained this before) is the drop between thinest and thickest point of a shoes midsole. The “minimalist” shoes you refer to are simply rebadged “racing” shoes and I have even ran marathons in such shoes. They are nothing new. It is simply marketing hype.Posted 7 years ago
I’D echo those posters who have said take it easy. The number of injured beginners and returning runners I’ve come across is ridiculous.
I’m not an expert by any means,but I have run a marathon at 16 stone. I found when I was fresh I ran easily with good technique, no problem. As I tired, unless I concentrated on form I started banging my feet into the ground, running bent over and generally being sh*t. I read a tip from an ironman triathlete to stop for 30s if you lose form. Really works for me, even when I stop my overall times are coming down.
MattPosted 7 years ago
I read a tip from an ironman triathlete to stop for 30s if you lose form.
The time to have a pee, dive headfirst into the sponge barrel, drink something disgusting and psych oneself up for the distance to the next sponge barrel. I reckon the improved form just comes from the drop in body temperature.Posted 7 years ago
The “minimalist” shoes you refer to are simply rebadged “racing” shoes
I asked about racing shoes when I was in a shop, before I bought mine, since I could see they had low heels and I knew that’s what I wantd to try. She said they wouldn’t wear well enough for training in due to softer soles.
My shoes are a different shape to those racing ones I’ve seen, the toe and forefoot is wider. But that’s nit-picking really – IMO forefoot striking is important, and if you do it in race shoes or traditional shoes then great.
You missed the bit where I said I messed up my ankle?
Fine, I’m not trying to convert you to anything, but the OP asked if minimal shoes were worth it, and I think they are. They were the key to enjoying running for me, so I think it’s pretty damn important to get your style right first.
After all, most of us have run at some point in our lives, and only some of us find it enjoyable. I wasn’t one of them, but I changed my style and now I am. Technique was the difference between loving it and hating it.Posted 7 years ago
I am not saying it’s for everyone, but I have been running barefoot, as in no shoes at all for years. I have completed ten and fifteen k assault courses sans shoes with no ill effects. Never liked footwear of any sort, only ever wear shoes, vivo barefoot, for work or in serious cold weather.
To OP, if you are serious about giving true barefoot a go, learn to walk without shoes first. Spend as much time as possible without shoes and build up slowly. After several years the soles of my feet are extremely tough. Just be patient and don’t risk injury, at the first sign of even slight pain, stop and rest.
I get pretty fed up of preachy people on both sides of the argument. Just do what’s right for you. Thousands of years of evolution have given us a natural platform for running on. The human foot is anPosted 7 years ago
awesome piece of evolution. for me, you can’t beat the feedback you get from going barefoot. Hobbits for the win!
I’ve run barefoot for short distances on tarmac. It feels fantastic, your feet feel incredibly light. It hurt the pads of my feet though quite quickly 🙂Posted 7 years ago
When I spoke to Andy from http://www.runningschool.co.uk/ about heel/forefoot running he said it didn’t matter as some heel stike and some don’t and neither is right or wrong. His view is to continue how you normally run but then tweak it to improve your technique not fundamentally change your running style. Personally I run in racing flats on the road and track, but then my technique is not bad. You would have to be putting in pretty serious mileage to be worried about wearing out the soles too quickly. Racing flats are also generally a lot cheaper than fashion minimilist shoes.Posted 7 years ago
It will hurt at first, I had awesome blisters for the first few months. I now spend as much time as possible sans shoes and it’s amazing the difference it’s made to leg strength and calf definition.
I stopped wearing socks and shoes regularly in about 2003 and can’t handle anything other than zero drop shoes anymore, it just feels odd wearing anything with a heal.
it’s fun, that’s the main thing 🙂Posted 7 years ago
How much do you think us fashion victims pay for minimalist shoes then? (Incidentally, I’ve never read a running mag ever, and I started forefoot striking before I’d ever heard of this whole debate.)
My problem with my previous gait was that my heel was striking the ground out in front of me as I landed, and my momentum was travelling up my straight leg to my hip. This battered my body and each hit slowed me down so I had to use my muscles to overcome that.
Now I land on my foot underneath my body and the energy gets stored in my achilles and foot, so when I push off I’m using that stored energy to go forwards instead of absorbing it into my skeleton. I’ve found that as long as I don’t put my foot too far out and keep it under me, it doesn’t make a huge amount of difference if I land heel first or forefoot.Posted 7 years ago
Molgrips thats exactly it. Don’t over stride and dosn’t matter if you heel or forefoot strike.Posted 7 years ago
I would agree. My running style looks like I am running on the spot. Feet and knees pretty much under my hips with a straight back and high cadence. Different strokes for different folks though I guess.
On the shoe front, I paid forty quid for the tough gloves I own and sixty for the two pairs of vivo. The vivo are by far the next best thing to going barefoot. If it wasn’t for winter and work demands I seriously doubt I would own any shoes other than for MTB and climbing.
Sorry for derailing slightlyPosted 7 years ago
I think its all a fad, as your legs strengthen you need less stability and cushioning meaning you can graduate from your big foam trainers that look like a melted coolbox, to a racing flat.
Its no surprise that newcomers to running get injury whatever their shoes.
I am no match for surfer, but a half decent runner and I would always choose a shoe with some stability and cushioning
My current shoe btw
Posted 7 years ago
I think Molgrips has it spot on. Im a distance runner using exactly the same technique molgips describes.
I changed from a heel striker.
Who remembers buying there 1st pair of real trainers as a teenager and bouncing on the heel in the shop saying ‘ooh these are comfy’? Then running to utilize that heel?! Well take your shoes off and run on your heels on the spot… Now run on your forefoot on the spot… Which is comfier?
Who has children under 10 and how do they run?
OP, personally i would buy something flat, with a bit of cushioning in the forefoot, take it steady, land on your Mid foot to forefoot with the foot underneath you as it stikes.Posted 7 years ago
I reccomend the Saucony Kinvara, it can be had for 40 quid ish.
Edit, or for off road Something like The inov8 above.
I’ve tried barefoot and it hurts my feet (muscle strains) and may use it to strengthen the muscles but I’m not particularly bothered to pursue it. I do prefer the ‘feel’ of minimal shoes though both on and off road.Posted 7 years ago
I’d recommend these as a compromise between built up and minimalist shoe.Posted 7 years ago
I have a son who’s now a little older than 10 at 15. He’s one of the best hurdlers and triple jumpers regionally, and was in his school team that was fourth in the French championships. We’ve worked on various aspects of his running but his footwork is something I’ve never felt the need to comment on. He forefoot runs in spikes over short distances on the track and heel strikes in trainers when we go out running in the woods.Posted 7 years ago
Edukator, He forefoot runs when racing. But doesn’t train that way on his long runs, Why is that? I’m not wanting an argument so don’t take offence I am just interested.Posted 7 years ago
I’m no expert just offering my opinion but i would want to train the same systems every-time i ran.
If I run on the spot I land forefoot, if I sprint i’m forefoot if i’m doing an ultra or attempting other long runs I run on my forefoot.
The difference between distance is I admittedly opt for slightly more forefoot cushioning above half marathon when on the roads.
What shoes does he use to run in the woods?
isnt it about time someone posted the timelapse of the running race showing the footstrike of all the fastest runners ?Posted 7 years ago
He does what is natural. When we do longer runs that include fartlek he progressively goes from heel strike to forefoot as we increase speed, I do exactly the same. Running in the woods includes forefoot running but as much of the time we’re heel striking trainers with a heel are more appropriate. Track sessions he does in spikes whether training or racing.
Edit to answer question: His trainers are Adidas Litestrike.Posted 7 years ago
Forefoot/flat is fastest, Trail rat, but this thread is advice for beginner and leisure runners that probably won’t be doing more than 12km/h most of the time and won’t have the strngth to maintain a forefoot stye for long. They’ll soon be heel striking and suitable trainers will reduce injury risk.Posted 7 years ago
Whats natural? Natural isnt in a big heeled shoe its barefoot or flat footed.Posted 7 years ago
It feels natural to heel strike when in heel striking shoes.
I am not sure you will see many forefoot runners if you stand at the finish line of a marathon regardless of how many started the race forefoot running. As I posted above I think it is something people get far too hung up on. The professional advice I hear for lots of runners is to shorten your stride and speed up your cadence regardless of heel/ forefoot strike. As molgrips has said it is over striding and landing heavily on your heel that is poor technique and can cause problems.Posted 7 years ago
If you can’t forefoot strike in regular shoes, don’t bother with barefoot yet.
Look at a shoe like Saucony’s Virrata/kinvara or a natural Range from Asics.
They offer cushioning with little or no heel to toe drop. So you’ll be running without a built up heel, but still have the forgiveness of a cushioned shoe. Once you can handle the technique in those then look at barefoot. You’ll need to build your technique and fitness before switching to barefoot. It’ll be worth it in the long run. There’s no quick fix.
There’s a reason shoes like Vibram, minimus, hattori etc come with big health warnings in the box.Posted 7 years ago
Edukator, Re your last post.. If i was a beginner i would want to start from scratch in the best way, forefoot.Posted 7 years ago
I think were most people go wrong is they bumble in to running, get half good then try to run forefoot doing the same distance and speedwork as they can already do and therefore Its gonna hurt and you will get injured.
You need to restart from scratch. This is where most people go wrong.
Even novice runners who just start running think they can go further and faster than there bodies will allow and then wonder why the next day they cant move.
It’s natural to heel strike when you walk, you heel strike a little less when you break into a jog, increase speed and you’ll heel strike a little less, run really fast and you’ll be flat or forefoot. Most people run at a speed where they’ll naturally be heel striking whatever they have on their feet and having something under the heel to reduce shock is a good idea.
How much you want under your heel depends on how far and how fast you intend to run. Nothing for a 100m, something for a 10 000m, a little more for a marathon and a lot more if you’re a fat marathon runner with limited fitness.Posted 7 years ago
errr edukator – you obviously havnt seen the photograph.
basically it points out that there is no correct way to run – these guys are all near top flight and all run differently.
forefoot is promenant but there are all sorts going on.Posted 7 years ago
I’ve seen lots of photographs of runners at different distances. There’s variation between runners but the general theme of heel striking less and less as you go from a walk to a sprint holds.Posted 7 years ago
If i jog on the spot i dont heel strike. I could jog on the spot for hours if i had to, wouldnt want to but i could. 🙂Posted 7 years ago
Not sure why we walk on our heels, but yeah you got me there. I guess walking is more balancing on the skeleton with little muscle usage.
Feel free to race me over a marathon with you speedwalk!
I love this subject! Sad.
Older runners may remember some Brooks shoes (I still have a pair) with a very think forefoot. The idea was maintain the natural angle of the foot and allow forefoot running but with a cushion. They did what they were supposed to do very well but I found I was slower than in shoes with a heel at least 5mm thicker than the forefoot. They were very comfortable but not quite as fast.Posted 7 years ago
Edukator – Member
It’s natural to heel strike when you walk, you heel strike a little less when you break into a jog, increase speed and you’ll heel strike a little less, run really fast and you’ll be flat or forefoot.
Try running on the spot with a heel strike, it’s awkward at best.
With a little practise, running forefoot is easy at any* speed, even 0kph. The idea that there’s a natural progression(?) from heels to toes, as speed increases, is perhaps a little misleading.
The idea that ‘forefoot’ means ‘running on your toes’, is also misleading, my heels touch down gently at the end of the ‘landing strike’.
(*obvious limits of human performance apply)Posted 7 years ago
OP, ask the question on runners world, there are slightly less self important asshats on there.
My opinion FWIW, I wouldn’t start off in barefoot shoes I know I was bloody glad of the cush from my stability shoes when I started.Posted 7 years ago
Are there as many that indulge in gratuitous insult, KINGTUT?Posted 7 years ago
Touched a nerve there I see, Edukator.Posted 7 years ago
Nope, are you going to edit again or should I wait 15min before replying to you in future.Posted 7 years ago
the accusation of sneaky edit. is that the new version of the edinburgh defence.
he may have edited but the essense of his post remains the same.Posted 7 years ago
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