For most people it is difficult enough to just get out and run.  They battle pains in various joints and muscles with each step they take.  After that they have to deal with the mental strain that can come with running, and that is only compounded when they have to also fight the mental barriers that come with pain.  If they can handle those issues they have to worry or wonder about what type of shoe is best for them, what kind of clothing is best, where and how they will get water while out on a run, and whether they should use energy/carbohydrate gels etc.

To put it plainly running can be very stressful on a person.  I know because I used to be one of them.  Now these same people are being hit with all kinds of studies that profess the need to wear a lesser or minimal shoe or even go barefoot.  Then for every word of praise for such things they will also find arguments against them, telling them to wear more and more of a shoe than ever.  So what do you do?  How do you know what is right?  The answers are honestly already there and they are attached to you just below your ankles.

I created this site for runners but with a tendency toward the barefoot end of the spectrum.  I did so because I have used barefoot training for years and this year realized that it was the only way I felt pain-free when running. I study shoes and keep up with all the latest and greatest so I am no stranger to the subject.  I have personally owned shoes with support, worn shoes that had a computer in them to adjust cushioning, walked on beds of air, took each step of a run on lunar cushioning materials, and tried an assortment of others.  The end result for me was to leave my shoes behind, and with them I left my knee pains.

Does that mean everyone should run bare?  No it does not.  I have known hundreds, if not more, of runners who have had completely injury-free lives running in shoes.  To them I say they should do whatever they like.  If they want to run in shoes then by all means please do because it works for them.  If you are like me and cannot find a shoe that alleviates your pains, or maybe you cannot find a shoe you feel comfortable in, then you might want to see what it is like without shoes or maybe less of a shoe.  Still, at the end of the day, the answers are dangling from your ankles.  A common mantra in the barefoot community is to let your feet be your guide.  To those of you in shoes, do the same thing.  Listen to your feet because they will let you know what is right for you.

I want this site to be an equal opportunity location for runners.  That is all, just a place for runners to come to share and learn.  Do you run?  Then you should come here because this place is for everyone.  I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know a lot of the people in the barefoot community.  They are very welcoming and helpful.  Yes, the barefoot world can be a little all-or-nothing at times, but it is a small establishment working towards credibility.  In that fight not to be seen as the “crazies,” it is easy to get caught up in the “who is right or wrong” arguments.  This is not a place for those fights as all are welcome, and I will help any of you in any way that I can to enjoy a better running experience.

In my attempt to make this post fair I wanted to search out and find a place where they argue for shoes and support that with stats and science, but I only found one place, and I have to say I have mixed feelings about it.  www.runningbarefootisbad.com is the first site Google pulled up when I searched barefoot running.  I thought it ironic that a site against what I was searching for is the first listed, but I was intrigued and hoped it would be what I was looking for.  In some ways it is, and it does have sound arguments for a lot of its claims.  My only word of caution is that it has become what it seems to hate most which is being pushy and having an all or nothing mentality.  It is a giant and hateful rant against barefoot running and barefoot runners.  I understand that this person was attacked by people who disagreed with him, but I feel that a site that has a lot of promise, based on this person’s intellectual abilities, has been ruined by a hatred of all things barefoot.  Still, some of you may find the information in there useful if you can manage to sift through all the negativity.

To the person who runs that site, I wish you luck in your quest to advocate running in shoes, and I hope you see that you can make a greater difference with a more positive approach because your information is valuable.

To everyone else I say run.  Run like the wind, and run with a smile on your face.  If you cannot do either of these then I say evaluate the way you run because everyone can run.  I know that statement seems crazy, but it is true.  You may not be able to run fast or far, but you can run, and to me there is no greater joy on this planet than putting foot to ground and enjoying all that is around me with a little self-created wind in my face.

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4 responses »

  1. Duncan says:

    Well said. For me, the discovery of the mid-foot landing transformed 30 years of running forever…and for the better. Transitioning to VFFs is exhilerating. But it is in the act of simply running,where we find mutual joy and liberation. That is where we should celebrate our common ground. Thank you for this wisdom.

    • Thanks Duncan and congratulations on finding your way to run. You are right. Running has done so much for so many people and that is an amazing thing that should be celebrated. Running is wonderful and to me it is above categories and segregation. Keep it up!

  2. Matt Hester says:

    Excellent Post Jim, what I am trying to find is what is the schedule I can put myself on to test out barefoot running to see if it is right for me. I know I cannot just go out and get a 6 mile run in barefeet. I have to work up to, so what are some good beginner schedules to running in bare feet?

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