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4 Reasons NOT to Run Barefoot

Posted by | Posted in Barefoot Running, Barefoot Running Shoes, Huaraches, Training for Running | Posted on 29-12-2011

[This post is guest-authored by our friend Rob Raux from www.shodless.com]

Being barefoot and running barefoot is a blissful and consciousness-expanding endeavor. The feedback supplied from the ground is powerful enough to force even experienced runners to try it for only a mile or so, if they make it that far. Barefoot running, however wonderful, should not be subscribed to dogmatically.

There are myriad resources available expounding on the benefits of being barefoot. Most of their reasons, methods, and warnings have merit. Unfortunately many of them sway to heavily towards the one-size-fits-all solution.

Experiencing life unshod isn’t always the best option. Putting on a pair of huaraches or other minimalist shoes can serve a number of beneficial purposes:

  1. Technical Trail Running.
    Many people worry that the rocks, twigs, and roots on a trail make barefoot trail running impossible. Not true. First, you use your eyes and avoid what worries you. Second, your feet aren’t rigid and can grab and grip and mold around many “obstacles.”

    That said, while there’s nothing better than feeling the grass beneath your feet, having your heel land on an embedded rock leaves something to be desired. To be more specific, it could leave behind a bruise that will take at least a week to heal.

    That doesn’t include the chance of damaging the fatty tissue which protects your heel bone from impacting the ground. If any of this sounds painful, trust me, it’s worse than you’re picturing.

    A trail has hazards which you may not wish to risk if you’re still an inexperienced barefooter. When a single false step means a week of no running, it’s just not worth it to be ideological about keeping yourself unshod.

  2. Additional mileage
    Your body may be able to take additional mileage, but the bottoms of your feet may not be ready to support it yet barefoot. Now, if you’re looking to become a better barefoot runner, this is good news — when your skin tells you to stop… STOP! Over time it’ll adapt (not callous) and you’ll be able to put in more miles.

    Until then, there’s nothing wrong with protecting your precious footsies, but only if you know your form is correct. If you are transitioning from shoes to barefoot and have yet to perfect the change from heel strike to mid foot strike or a forefoot strike, don’t ask for trouble by adding more miles in a minimalist shoe. You’ll find yourself injured promptly and thoroughly.

    If you are comfortable in your stride, you will find that your feet hit a natural point where further barefoot running may only lead to blisters (that usually means your form has broken down and you’re pulling/pushing the ground, instead of placing/lifting). In these cases, adding a protective covering will give you the opportunity to add those additional miles you crave.

  3. Racing
    A foot covering increases your margin for error while running. Proponents of barefoot running tout the pain feedback loop as a beneficial aspect. Any foot covering blocks the pain receptors, which allow you to cause more damage to your body.

    In a race, this can be a necessary evil. A reduced pain feedback loop allows you to run a longer duration of more intensity. The covering may also absorb some of the mistakes you may have made barefoot (stepping on that rock in your mental fatigue).

    There’s obviously a very fine line to be ridden here, and one that you can certainly go too far with. Go with the least amount of covering possible and you should be able to dampen and absorb just the minimal amount of error to improve your results.

    I’d love to say, “If you’re not comfortable running that distance, don’t race that distance.” But I know how some of us… I mean, YOU… can be ;-)

  4. The bitter cold
    Mother nature yields to no man. Don’t even think about getting the best of father winter.

    If you live in a climate that has a true winter, you know what frostbite feels like. Now try running barefoot.

    Amazingly, there are folks who do it, and enjoy it. And check out Steven shoveling snow in his huaraches. Frankly, I’ve tried it and even I think that’s crazy. Most people are going to need something to keep their feet protected from the elements (wind, snow, slush, etc.). Each person has a different tolerance, which will adapt as they get more comfortable with the colder weather.

    When dealing with the elements it’s best to be safer than pull up limp 3 miles from your house and walk the rest of the way home.

Barefoot in the Cold

Posted by | Posted in Barefoot Running, Huaraches | Posted on 22-12-2011

Barefoot In the cold

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, Winter is upon us. And people email me every day asking what to do if they want to be barefoot or minimalist in the cold weather. While I’ve written about running bare foot in the cold before, this is a whole new thing ;-)

First let me say: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. In other words, don’t go out and try to imitate me.

I’ve been barefoot running for over 2 and a half years, and haven’t worn a pair of real shoes for more than a total of 3 days in that time. 

Last winter, I thought, “I’ll keep my Invisible Shoes on until it seems too cold.” And the next thing I knew, it was Spring!

So, clearly I’ve acclimated. And that’s not too surprising. Humans (and our hominid cousins) lived in cold climates without shoes for a LOOOONG time. So, we’re kinda wired for it, if we give ourself time to adapt.

Here’s the video I just shot, after we got 18″+ of snow in Boulder. It’s about 15 degrees out.

What I did is this:

  • Outside for about 10 minutes
  • Inside to dry off my feet and warm them for 5
  • Outside for another 10
  • Inside to dry and warm for about 3
  • Outside for 30+ minutes… by this time my body temp had gone way up. I was sweating quite a bit. And my feet felt totally warm. Not numb. Warm. When I got inside after finishing the shoveling, they didn’t have to thaw or warm up or anything.

Lena wants me point out that you should check the Wiki about frostbite so you don’t do something stupid and get hurt ;-)

Invisible Shoes Win “Best Huaraches 2011″

Posted by | Posted in Barefoot Running, Barefoot Running Shoes, Huaraches, Reviews | Posted on 12-12-2011

Maple Grove Barefoot Guy Grovie AwardInvisible Shoes wins Best Huaraches Running Sandal 2011

Christian Peterson, better known as The Maple Grove Barefoot Guy, just announced his first ever Grovie awards for excellence in minimalist footwear.

And we are thrilled to announce that Invisible Shoes won the Best Huarache category.

Here’s what Christian had to say:

2011 was really the year of the huarache.  We saw tons of new sandal companies crop up, all with great new innovative designs.  The big two companies (Invisible Shoe and Luna) also put out some great updates to their original models.  But Invisible Shoes took that innovation to the next level.  They went out and got a former Nike shoe designer to make the FeelTrue sole of their Connect and Contact huaraches.  The result is a powerhouse of a sandal that has no real apparent weaknesses.  

Christian recently reviewed the Connect and Contact version of Invisible Shoes, so we’re especially honored to have 2 mentions in such a short period of time.

That said, while we’re happy to have won Best Huaraches running sandals, we have LOTS of plans for even more improvements and additional products for 2012. I hope that in next year’s Grovie Awards we win at least two categories, maybe even three! ;-)

2011 has been a big year for us: Releasing the only outsoles made specifically for barefoot running (some like to say “bear foot running”) sandals  that were designed with the help of former lead designers from Nike and Reebok, our 2nd Anniversary, and a HUGE upsurge in business.

Between you and me, every time I see Chris McDougall, I practically kiss his feet. If it weren’t for him and the success of “Born To Run,” this whole barefoot running trend may never have taken off.

So, thank you again to MGBG, and to everyone else who has helped us and supported us in 2011.

I can’t wait to hear the comments when we launch all our new barefoot running sandal products in the next year.