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Sunday, August 08, 2010

Barefoot Running - the Cure?

Some of my friends have converted to barefoot running or at least some sort of minimalist footwear like the Vibram Five Fingers. I am very tempted to follow - I have so far tried a total of 3 barefoot runs  each time all in a stadium on soft track. I haven't got round to buying a VFF or even a Nike Free yet though I am very tempt.

From talking to some of this guys, I am amazed that some of them think that barefoot running is the cure all for all their running injury. One guy who suffers from Plantar Flasciitis, when asked whether he was undergoing treatment said that he just need to run barefoot once or twice a week and it will go away. And this is not an isolated case. Many others swear by this - that running barefoot will eradicate all their injuries. No need to see the doctor. I have heard something like this so often that nowadays whenever I hear somebody with some running problems, I also automatically tell them to try barefoot running and see whether there is any improvement.

But is this a placebo effect thing or is it for real?  Does it really works? Can somebody enlighten?


  1. Hi there,

    Main difference for barefoot running literally force you to adopt a forefoot-midfoot strike instead of the more common heelstrike when wearing cushioned shoes. Yes the knee will be spared of the sudden impact of heelstrike, but it is because the calves muscles is working more to resist the impact like a spring. Alright if your calves are developed, but if not...

    Plus barefoot running might chalk up other types of running injuries, research is still needed..

    You might want to read this article.

    I have a pair of VFF, tried 3 runs in it so far, but did not have the chance to go barefoot (i run at bedok reservoir, so not a very good idea =P)

    It was fine, except after my first run of 5km in VFF i had sore calves for 4-5days. But previous run of 7km was fine. Guess the important thing is to start slow and do not rush the mileage or intensity. Injury results from improper training and technique, especially over training.

    (Pardon for the long post)

  2. hi there Yuan Hui, thanks for dropping by. Hmmm will look out for you at Bedok Res and said hello.

    Ispua - you in a different league of 'barefootness' already but do share more of your experience on barefoot running here and in your blog

  3. Haha.. sure, thou my running times vary between 7pm to 10pm.. You also stay around bedok area?