dare i go bare?…

bare-feetAs a child I always loved to run across our back lawn and feel the cool grass under my feet on a nice Spring day.  Of course, there came a time when my parents wanted me to keep my shoes on. While do feel that there is a time and a place for shoes (that is my own person opinion for my life and not attempting to influence another). There is also something that is freeing about releasing my feet and allowing them to embrace the earth beneath me.  The first time I noticed someone with the Barefoot Running Shoes on, I thought; how odd. But the more I’ve seen them, I am more curious about them than anything else. I began reading a few articles to get a better take / 411 on just what their all about.  I was drawn to them not knowing that they were running shoes. I thought it would be great to have a pair because I Iove being barefoot. Now I am not one who likes to walk outside on hard rocks, gravel, etc. I don’t like my feet to be dirty; nor do I have a desire to walk into a restaurant, a public bathroom, parking lot etc. with just my bare feet. What a wonderful feeling to walk through grass (that has not been graced with dogs or other animals); to splash in a rain, or just be at rest and have my feet wiggling and walking with no restrictions. When I arrive for a visit with my friends, granted they have clean floors / carpet, the first thing that I do is remove my shoes. I do the same at work (while I don’t walk around the entire building I do kick my shoes off in my work space and become comfortable and ready to focus and work. After a long day or even a short day for that matter, when I enter my car simultaneously while putting my seatbelt on, I am also removing my shoes. It really makes me feel so much more relaxed. One of my professions back in the day was the art of massage, I had a nice plush carpet and don’t think I ever put my shoes on. The foundation of the floor and being able to feel the floor just seemed to help me. Now it could be all in my mind but I can tell you that nothing helps me relax more as when my shoes are off and I can kick my feet up and relax. As for activities with the exception of sand volleyball or any sport in the sand, I have never really thought much about being barefoot or utilizing this popular idea of running in minimalist barefoot running shoes.

I can’t put my finger on why I think these shoes are just so cool and they seem as if they would be awesome for yoga, Pilates and balancing type fitness.  Now is not the time for me to purchase these shoes as I am diligently working toward debt freedom and have a few things, yet, which should be handled before running out to get them. But I can say that they are on my list of thing that I want to get for myself to experience and explore a few options.  I has always been engrained in me that we should always invest in a good running shoe which will help to prevent various injuries. As I browse the internet I have noticed the websites, blogs, organizations and numerous studies that speak to and confirmed what many in the barefoot communities have tried educating us on for quite some time.  Based on their research, it appears that barefoot running actually strengthens the feet (but I said that your feet in the beginning will be a bit weak because you’re not quite used to it) but we are encouraged to this form of running is a more natural way to run and we should, if nothing else, try it.  Barefoot shoes almost seem iron… do you want to be barefoot or do you want to have on shoes? One appears to cancel out the other.  A friend of mine told me that when she purchased her first pair of barefoot running shoes, that she had the hardest time getting them on … each toe in its proper place. She also thought it a bit weird that they didn’t appear to have much or any cushion at all; again we have been that protection for the feet is needed. She was informed by the shoes sales man that it is preferred that hard surface is used to begin running in the shoes and gradually allows you to run longer distances or time frames. She was caution that they shoes will become quite smelly and all is needed is to check the proper care instructions for washing them and they are like new in no time. Do you know that there are even studies that state barefoot runners have fewer injuries that shoe runners. It’s kind of hard to believe that

Free & Happy Feet

Wiki shows the following for learning to run barefoot:

  1. Start with thirty minutes of barefoot activity a day for 3-4 weeks. This will give your feet a chance to develop thicker skin for running at higher speeds and for longer times. Start with walking to get used to the surface.  Bounce on your feet like a boxer. Repeat 3 times. This will relax your metatarsals and calves. Exercise your ankles and feet will help with the transition as well. Whether to do hard or soft surfaces seems that it is a matter of preference since all the articles on this topic don’t appear to agree.
  2. Make minimalist running shoes if it’s cold outside, or you’re concerned about your feet getting cut, but really it is best if you don’t have to use these minimalist shoes. They are basically reinforced socks and you’ll lose many of the sensations of barefoot running.
  3. Watch ahead, but don’t look down. One of the most common doubts people have about barefoot running is “What about stepping on sharp stuff?” and the most common answer is “Use your eyes. That’s what they’re for.” With or without shoes you should always have your eyes focused ahead scanning for various objects.
  4. Pay attention to your form.  Keep the head, neck and back straight. No slouching. Lift the chest and allow the shoulders to relax. Keep your head high and keep looking forward. Relax your eye gaze to the horizon line. Bend your knees a bit. You should feel your weight come off of your heels. Push your hips forward gently. You should lead with your hips, not your head or shoulders. Counterbalance.  Keep your feet under your center of balance. No wobbling side to side.
  5. Make shorter strides. When people wear shoes with thick heels, they tend to lengthen their strides and land on their heels.
  6. Lift your feet more quickly, and earlier than regular running. You should be lifting your back foot before the front foot completely lands.
  7. Don’t stop abruptly, the way most do when they are wearing shoes. To stop, straighten the lean and straighten the knees and you will naturally come to a stop

How to Start Barefoot Running”, Edited by Nicole Marie, Krystle, DifuWu, Eric and 13 others, WikiHowToDoAnything, (http://www.wikihow.com/Start-Barefoot-Running)

I find this youtube video of comparisons interesting as well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_OR-rfCSLI

Again, I am still a little ways off from trying these shoes but it is so interesting to read the reviews and look at the research documents and videos – of which I will be referencing more and more in the near future as I get closer to wanting to make a purchase.   I am just recently began jogging and can’t really say that I am  a true runner but I love trying new things especially if it is something that will allow these feet of mine that crave freedom to be happy feet as well. I can’t say one way or the other if I plan to ever run completely barefoot.  I guess one can never say what they won’t to but I truly don’t believe, at this phase in my life that it is something that interests me. Who know what the future holds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVmzpqlrZ7c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvD45RupS6o

There is a ton of research to review on this topic!!! I am only sharing a few things that I have recently viewed or read, not because I am partial to the particular product but just learning and found the information easy to understand and helpful.

QuietByNature

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3 thoughts on “dare i go bare?…

  1. Recently wrote a blog post on Gordon Pirie’s ‘Running Fast and Injury Free’ book. It was wrote decades ago but contains some really relevant information… I have a link from my blog post: http://feetusonline.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/gordon-piries-running-fast-and-injury-free-a-must-read-for-aspiring-runners/

    And yes – Go barefoot! It could change your life! There are plenty of shoes out there too that are ‘almost barefoot’ (minimalist). I’m sure you’ll find a pair that are right for you…..

    Thanks, Lee from feetus.co.uk

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