My Introduction to Barefoot Running

Some of my readers may recall that Jog Blog kindly donated a pair of Vibram Five Fingers to me as I’ve been really interested in dipping into the world of barefoot running. I like being barefoot and other than my penchant for a fabulous pair of high heels, I’m not really a massive fan of wearing shoes. I like being barefoot, I like the feeling of being free and I really like to wiggle my toes.

My toe wiggling may or may not have contributed to the tension around the toes in my right foot, but I digress.

I did a lot of reading before deciding to embark on my barefoot journey. I have a pair of “classic” five fingers and I read that it is incredibly important to not do too much too soon. Rather than rush straight into running in them, I decided to first get used to walking in them and for about four weeks, I walked everywhere in them. This includes a slightly controversial clothing choice in pairing them with a wiggle dress. My feet looked ridiculous compared to my gorgeous red dress, but at least they were comfortable.

Finally, after weeks of walking in them, I decided to take the plunge and run in them. Advised by Jimmy and the internet in general, I took it very slowly and headed out with the intention of only running half a mile. What a great feeling; I was slow, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to run a mile instead before reluctantly deciding that I should listen to advice and stop there rather than risking injury. Barefoot running is great fun; I just felt so free and it reminded me of running around with no shoes on outside as a child, not caring and just enjoying until you become old enough to realise that the ground is fully of nasties like dog poo and broken glass.

I was careful to run slow and really thought about my gait, making a concious effort to land more on my forefoot. It was quite remarkable just how loud my footsteps sounded when I began my run, a bit like listening to rubbish trance ‘dub dub dub’ except it was my foot. This quietened however as I made more effort to land on my forefoot and take smaller steps.

I had been warned that my calves would feel rough the next morning and I can confirm that they hurt more than they did after the marathon last year. I’m not sure what this says about me other than the fact that my gait must be absolutely awful. This hasn’t put me off though and I ventured out again in them for the second time earlier this week.

I’m not stupid; I am not intending to try to transition into these in time for the marathon in November as that would be foolish and will lead to injury as barefoot running is clearly something that I need to ease into gradually. But I will carry on with my twice-weekly mile run in them for now and let you know how I progress.


5 thoughts on “My Introduction to Barefoot Running

    1. Hi Chris, thanks for the good luck wishes! Going to visit your blog now, look forward to reading about your journey.

  1. With all due respect, this is also why RW’s shoe rvwiees are pretty useless. Running shoes have become so specialized that they pretty much require specialized fitting. Just knowing that a shoe is intended for an over-pronator (the sort of thing that ought to appear on the box, if not on the shoe itself) is insufficient. The risk of injury with a shoe that is technically appropriate is real (been there).It wasn’t always this way, of course. I go back to when a pair of Tiger Marathons were cutting edge shoes, made with the revolutionary new material, nylon. Back then there were shoe companies that represented that the logos on the uppers were designed to provide additional lateral support. I have a copy of RW’s second Shoe Guide, a black-and-white booklet full of shoes it would cripple me to wear today. Remember the Nike Kenya? Remember running in adidas Gazelles? Good times.

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