Why I Run in Barefoot Shoes

Why I Run in Barefoot Shoes

04/12/2017 My Story 11
Vibram FiveFingers Bikila (Blue) Barefoot Running Shoes

Change from Trainers

After my second marathon I needed to replace my running trainers. I had run so many miles in them that the stitching had split, the rubber of the soles had worn in multiple places and there were significant holes forming.

Mistakenly I had run in the same trainers for more than three years, since my first road race.

So in Autumn 2014 I researched the running shoe market. I was open-minded but was influenced by the minimalist movement.

The core principle of this movement is to focus only on those features that add value to one’s life. For shoes, this means not indulging in aspects that do not enhance performance, instead focusing on the basics. Vibram Fivefingers best fit the criteria.

The EL-X model I chose was an ideal introduction to barefoot running, and I had no problem adjusting to them in training. My first race wearing them was my third marathon.

Vibram FiveFingers EL-X Barefoot Running Shoes

My Vibram FiveFingers EL-X (Black) Running Shoes

Benefits of Barefoot Shoes

  • I experience a better fit and greater flexibility, especially for my toes.
  • I feel lighter on my feet and am able to deal with the effects of different terrain.
  • I can choose whether to run with toe socks or not. I usually wear socks in colder weather or when I run off-road. I usually do not wear socks in hotter weather or when I am undertaking faster workouts.
  • I am able to clean them easily by placing them in the washing machine.
  • I believe my feet and ankles are stronger as a result of them becoming less dependent on the cushioning of trainers, and I have developed a fatigue-resilient forefoot strike running style.

Personal Success

Running in these shoes makes me feel like a unique runner, as I am often the first ‘barefoot runner’ across the finish line. I have run more than ten races in barefoot shoes, including the V-RUN and Bikila models, and have set all my current personal best times in them.

My decision of footwear has been validated in part by a former university colleague who trained in the gym wearing them, and by inspirational runners such as Barefoot Ted and Christopher McDougall (explored in the book Born to Run). Although I do wear them out quickly, the brand provides a quality product that meets my needs.


11 Responses

  1. jennaruns says:

    Very interesting! I’m glad they work for you. I think everyone’s foot is different but have always applauded those that can run barefoot or close to it. 🙂

    • Thanks Jenna. I agree that not everyone would prefer barefoot shoes but I wonder whether a psychological barrier rather than a physiological one is at play. Perhaps using a pair for walking would at least convert some runners to appreciate the benefits of minimalist footwear and thus would be more inclined to use them on certain workouts, such as easy runs. It would be an intriguing study… 🙂

  2. […] a runner who wears barefoot shoes I spend increasingly more miles running with a forefoot strike. I find this especially efficient […]

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  4. […] first 2018 workout with my work running group saw me running Kenyan Hills. My new Vibrams felt slippery on the stony gradient. So I switched to grass. I stayed strong, using my arms to […]

  5. […] The nickname reminds me of the hard work I have made with calf raises and committing to barefoot shoes. […]

  6. […] have also experimented by running in my Vivobarefoot shoes and Vibram FiveFingers. With six weeks until the Clacton Half Marathon I feel confident that I can improve my speed […]

  7. […] career. I also represented my running club well, as the only male runner, and fastest finisher in barefoot shoes. The race was a special experience for me, located in a seaside town of which I have very fond […]

  8. […] examine the time on the saddle, but the mileage and speed don’t easily equate to distance in my barefoot shoes. My heart rate is lower on the bike than when running, but I can’t seem to get it higher. I […]

  9. […] The race was my first that started in the afternoon and the weather was crisp and dry. The atmosphere at the end was tremendous; lively and encouraging. I spoke to a number of runners afterwards, some from my running club, who praised me for my sprint finish and ‘barefoot shoes’. […]

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