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The Ax Forum
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Posted: 2010-04-21 07:45:47
Running barefoot.

Recently I have seen regular features pop up in the general press about the benefits of running barefoot. The articles seem to be based on a study in Nature. I have tried this recently on grass. Strange feeling but it helps my footstrike. I find running shoes tend to make me land on my heel which is apparently very bad technique. Anyone else have any experience or info on running barefoot?

Obviously watch out for the dog shit.
Posted: 2010-04-21 16:25:12

some basic info here
Posted: 2010-04-21 16:31:22
Posted: 2010-04-21 17:47:28
The 5 finger shoes look interesting! Didn't know about them. I do a little bit of Muay Thai and I find running barefoot helps with balance and strength on the forefoot which helps with stance and movement.
Mark L.
Posted: 2010-04-22 21:48:05
Not strange at all... shoes don't get as much of the foot going... muscles and proprioceptors etc etc going or working much... not only will they help of course but we are getting more of the body going and therfore connecting more with the body... getting a little closer to nature and the animals we are.

Lots to do with where we are specially... most of us over use our eyes for that (though they are the main way)...

My old strength training program I would do bare feet as much as I could (got NIKE frees when in a gym had to wear shoes) and there were things in there to not just get them (feet/lower legs etc) working more naturally but to enhance their function etc bare foot on swiss ball throwing medicine balls etc - one legged lifting etc

I seriously think that angle made a difference for me.

Bare foot runners have less injuries too...

My daughter (18months old now) - I try my damndest to get her very very soft soled shoes (her Mum isn't quite as big on it but i think it is big! in development - as is walking on uneven/unstable etc surfaces - is is for athletic performance ). Soft leather type stuff...

Anyway - I think it is huge!

(any area dogs shit could have parasites which enter the feet easily - tough these days - never mind mostly concrete around, lots of dogs where there isn't lol)
Brian Ritchie
Posted: 2010-04-23 20:42:18
I used to hike barefoot with a couple friends of mine. It sucks the first time, but by the second time, it's not too bad. Choosing the right trails helps. Gotta avoid rocks and roots. It definitely made my feet stronger. It will, of course, thicken up your soles. Definitely clean your feed immediately after and use lotion to keep the skin healthy or it'll crack and die.

Be aware of hook worms, like Mark pointed out. I think after you build up a thick sole on the bottom of your feet, you won't have a problem with this.

Haha, these are pretty neat.

Brian Ritchie
Posted: 2010-04-23 20:43:33
er... I meant these are pretty neat

Mark L.
Posted: 2010-04-23 22:57:07
Thicken up the skin ring worm - makes sense :)
The Crippler
Posted: 2010-04-26 06:25:30
I see a guy complete the LONDON MARATHON without shoes WTF!!!????
Mark L.
Posted: 2010-04-26 08:47:45
WTF!? is only from our socially conditioned view. We weren't born with shoes... that said we weren't designed to live or run (or most of us to run much for extended periods of time for that matter) on artificial hard flat surfaces... but we do.. so shoes have a place yet the logic of what we are and what our design is, be it Creation or evolution (or if they are one in the same) is also wise to consider imo
The Crippler
Posted: 2010-04-26 16:38:43
I agree Mark, but to run 26.2 miles on Londons roads???

I didnt know if I should respect him or slap him (Joking of course!!)
Posted: 2010-04-27 05:39:30

Getting really into the habit now but still running on grass. A road surface would be too much of a shock to my system at the present time.
Mark L.
Posted: 2010-04-28 09:38:19
yes we do not live in a natural environment... I think it wise to consider nature and design and to see close we can come to it relative to what we have and where we are etc
Posted: 2010-06-01 13:07:07
Posted: 2010-06-17 09:54:19

I over-pronate and have flat feet and even with motion control shoes and specific orthotics I would get terrible back and hip problems.

Now I run in Nike Free 5.0's cross country, Nike Free Runs on the roads, and Nike Free 3.0's for races. No problems.

They allow my foot to fall naturally with the contours of the strike and adjust and propriocate accordingly. No problems since I started using them.

I think that much of the trainer industry is a self initiated and perpertuated misnomer.

But that's just me...

Mark L.
Posted: 2010-06-22 08:59:24
My wife's boss (baby store) as a thank you to my wife found some shoes on line for our daughter and is ordering as a gift - basically socks with a soft pliable sole - :) sweet!

Smiler - always great to hear personal experience - especially from you as you use your head lol
Posted: 2010-06-22 12:02:36
Yeah, just normally in a capacity of taking shots lol!!!

Best regards,

My Blog:
Posted: 2010-07-13 02:36:33
have recentley purchased a pair of vibram fingers. they are sweet for running on grass, trails and even asphault tend to take them off for running on sand. they are pretty niffty to wear just to hang about in as well. big bonus is they are easily cleaned and dryied. dont no to much about the science behind it bt after wearing you can role the soles of your feet over a golf ball and it feels ace.
Mark L.
Posted: 2010-07-13 08:42:53
Posted: 2010-07-31 18:20:22

Went to buy some new running shoes today at UP and Running and was very pleased to see that my running foot strike has hugely improved from barefoot running training.

Had a treadmill video analysis and where as previously I was a confirmed heel striker I now land on the ball of my foot. Still an over pronator but feel much more balanced.
Brian Ritchie
Posted: 2010-08-31 13:10:42
A friend of mine recently started running with these homemade shoes/sandals called Huaraches. He ran 7 miles yesterday.

Posted: 2010-08-31 14:11:27
hhhmmmm....toe chafing methinks
firewalker jobe
Posted: 2010-09-05 16:13:46
i become interested in barefoot running becos one of my ex-fighters, peter crooke, runs with the technique of a barefooted runner even though he has shoes on and would not dream of being barefoot- other than in the ring!- but peter was a very good runner and it got me thinking that there might be something to this forefoot landing first argument- i have now been experimenting on myself and now after about a year of running barefoot would not dream of wearing shoes to run- it teaches the body to be aware and is so much more enjoyable- all my fighters now run barefoot as part of their training- it teaches the body to talk the impact by really using the muscles of the calves to shock absorb- mine felt like i had never used them at first!- i personally feel the barefoot shoes are a marketing skank becos nothing compare to the sensitivity of a bare sole- i now run on road, pavement, grass whatever, and thats in wolverhampton!!- and it is all joy as long as you listen to your body-

my advice- build up slowly, let the body teach you the art of running, and enjoy every step.....

and if someone says what about glass, tell them you do run with your eyes open...
Phil Glover
Posted: 2010-09-12 08:01:25
I don't know if this will help some of you guys but we go to Margarita every year and I always get to mix with the local lifeguards at the place me and my wife stay at.
For years now I've been maintaining my fitness by running barefoot on the beach,one of the lifeguards I got to know was an ex navy seal and I used to train with him all the time.He got me running along the edge of the water for the length of the beach doing a few sprints in between and then on our return we would run along the thicker sand further inland.
The edge of the sea is great for sudden bursts of speed,etc and the running surface felt perfect,but running through thick sand is really hard on the thighs and calfs and is fantastic for building powerful legs for kicks,etc.
Watch out for local nasties though! year I was running and being the Caribbean there is the odd desd fish that gets washed up on the sand.Some of these fish are Blowfish and they are covered in spikes!...yes! you guessed it I stepped on one and poisoned my foot! beware!!!
Mark L.
Posted: 2010-09-13 10:57:53
firewalker job3 - I think the sore calves is not so much from impact as from you use way more of your muscles in many more ways barefoot. The leg makes so many tiny little adjustments that shoes smooth out.

The proprioceptors (give us a sense of where we are in space) are abundant in the foot, ankle and lower leg and getting these working better (running barefott being one way) increases balance and co-ordination and function of the whole body, especially the lower legs and feet etc...

When i worked on that whole area I could be running, completely roll an ankle and keep going without a second thought or any damage. The lower leg, ankle, foot was much stronger and more competent etc

We generally over use our eyes to gage or location in space and with our artificial flat ground and hard shoes we loose a lot of natural abilities of balance and performance. (closed eye balance exercises can be very benefitial - if I had room I would often shadow box with my eyes closed - specifically helping with balance and awareness relating to fighting)

The more the body uses the lower leg/foot proprioceptors the more naturally functioning the body is and the less energy the nervous system puts to balance cause the balance has been trained better and the more energy the nervous system can put to striking etc

To kick explosively the body integrates and synchronizes everything and it will limit movement to the weakest link. When it can worry less about the lower legs etc and balance cause they are returned to normal natural functioning ability and or trained well it doesn't use as much energy and focus to organize and more power can be put into the kick.

That's my opinion and experience anyway.

In warm up I use to knee and teep stepping onto a bosu ball or balance board (I do stuff like that for warm up so I am not taking time from training or conditioning...

Watch Avatar and I think us humans, in the right environment and lifestyle, have much of those natural abilities.

This isn't magic training stuff. Its about normal body function and how we are designed in my opinion
Posted: 2010-09-18 09:26:24
I heard this is the best way.
Mark L.
Posted: 2010-09-18 10:29:21
firewalker jobe - awesome to hear your experience!!!!!!!!!!!
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