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April 03, 2012


Don't they now make some kind of running shoe that is the shoe equivalent of running barefoot? Basically just enough to keep you from feeling all the little debris on the ground but not any more support than your bare foot would give? Or am I having weird hallucinations again? (not a runner, so not an expert...probably saw it on a billboard)

I can point to the spot on the road where my running posture changed and my knees and hips never hurt again. It was 3 years ago. Long live minimalist running for me. (I have run in Vibrams but I turn over my left big toe - the New Balance shoe with the Vibram sole is my shoe of choice).

I run in Vibrams (and a racing flat for long runs, generally over 10 miles) and I am seriously considering going to all Vibrams all the time. All other shoes make me hurt in some way. Usually it's just mashed toes or blisters, but the Vibrams never do that. They stink to high heaven, but I can live with that.

My husband has a pair of five fingers and loves them (he does not run). Many things I have read (I do not run, either) have said that the built-up shoes contribute to the problems esp in the ankle, as shoes provide too much support to our ankles, thus weakening them. My non-professional opinion :)

Do you know about work by the physical anthropologist Dan Lieberman about running barefoot? He asked why some of the world's best runners come from places where they often run barefoot. Here is the web site of the project: http://barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu/ They make no specific recommendations for runners, probably for liability reasons as well as whatever else, but his results so far do suggest that the human foot is basically designed for barefoot running (on natural surfaces), and that habitually barefoot runners tend to adopt a gait which is much less destructive to the foot than do habitually shod runners. It's very interesting stuff.

I ran competitively as a kid, on and off for fun in high school and university, then not at all for over 10 years. When I started seriously running again 7 years ago, I wore high-stability shoes because of my floppy, many-times-sprained ankles; this worked fine for over a year, until I developed shin pain. My physiotherapist told me I didn't need such stiff shoes (anymore?) and I switched, never to have shin problems (aside from those due to occasional overenthusiastic overtraining) again.

My theory is that the stiffer shoes were helpful while I built up strength, proprioception, and balance from a very low level, but eventually I didn't need them to guide me anymore; I could safely move more fluidly than they allowed, and in fact I needed more freedom to refine my gait.

I do find that the less support or cushioning my shoes have, the softer and more controlled my footfall is while running - and I've unintentionally tested this theory with high heels and bare feet in emergencies. I just got some barefoot shoes from Merrell and am excited about transitioning to them...slowly...

I second the Dan Lieberman info!

I just found this, too:

Thank you, thank you thank you -- love all the sources. And I think maybe I too needed the stability shoes at first -- and now maybe I can transition away!

I am not a runner, but I read this book recently and LOVED it. I think you would like it a lot, and it gives quite a bit of information on the physiology of our feet and shoes, etc.


I spent YEARS running in high-stability shoes and always having some sort of pain in my feet, lower legs, or knees. I just assumed that running was a tough sport. I switched to Vibrams a year ago and have not had a single pain or blister since. I have to think more now about where I put my feet, but it means I run with a lighter gait and don't plod along the way I used to. Changed my life.

And yes, they do get a little stinky, but I throw mine in the washing machine once a week, and that keeps things under control.

Yes, my husband's shoes go in the washer & you can get special socks for them, which helps w/ the smell,too.

Okay, I have that book reserved at the library now! :)


My wife runs in Merrell barefoot shoes (no toe divisions). I run (when I'm not 9 months pregnant) in Vibrams. It really is a revelation. Wife just ran her first half-marathon, and when her mileage went up, she switched to Brooks Pure Flow shoes to have a little more padding but still allowing her arches to support themselves now that they are stronger.

My husband's a barefoot runner about six months out of the year (in the colder months, he wears shoes). He swears by it--says that the aches and pains he gets when he runs with shoes don't happen when he runs without. (This winter he wore the New Balance Minimus shoe.)


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