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A thread for those running barefoot or in minimalist shoes to share their experiences - and for everyone else who would like to participate, of course :)

Yesterday I ran 1km barefoot in 6:00. It was towards the end of a longer run. I just took the shoes off and ran on a 440m loop. Smooth tarmac and only the odd pebble here and there.
It was wonderful to have my feet touching the road.
My groin injury didn't hurt while running barefoot :| It did before. I then put my shoes on and continued and after a few minutes the pain came back.
If I can manage to go for my run in daylight I'll give it a go again today.
 

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My groin injury didn't hurt while running barefoot :| It did before. I then put my shoes on and continued and after a few minutes the pain came back.
That says it all - the same thing happened to me with my knee.

So with that little nugget of self-awareness, barefoot running is the only way forward. I´m just making sure I´m building up slowly.

You should also try sprinting and note how different it is.
 

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Fulmar, I changed from using the supportive trainers advised to me by an expert via a gait analysis and started running in racing flats and vibrams. My injuries cleared up within weeks, and I'm now running more miles than ever. My foot hits the floor in a different manner, my stride is different and I feel far better for it.

Stu
 

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I was diagnosed with hip osteoarthritis (suspect the diagnosis is wrong, but even so, symptoms are obviously similar enough to fool the specialists). Generally speaking advise is to wear extra cushioning in shoes to minimise impact. And not to run at all of course!

I currently wear Nike Free shoes which are on the way to being barefoot running but still with a good bit of protection (from stones etc). Much more comfy than running shoes and I think they help my hip (which incidentally is getting better all the time). When these wear out I'll be moving to something with even less protection.

I've ran a tiny bit on the beach barefoot and it's better still - slthough I'm afraid of glass, sharp shells etc. I find that when my foot is allowed to move normally all the other muscles further up the chain start to work as they should.
 

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I have a pair of Saucony Kinvara - bought more out of curiousity than anything. (I don't really get any problems in 'normal' shoes but they have always seemed a bit too big and cumbersome so I was curious to try something lighter.)
Verdict - I love them to bits :love: but


i) Only three shortish runs done so far - partly as I think its important to introduce them gradually but also

ii) I suspect they are going to wear out really quickly (there isn't any protective covering on the outsole and this is the part of shoe that always 'goes' first with me as I tend to scuff my feet when I run - although possibly in different shoes this won't happen. Depending on this I may just save them for races.

iii) I didn't feel that they changed my running style at all - but I am a forefoot striker anyway so possibly I am more suited to this type of shoe.

iv) I am wearing them with off the shelf orthotics (which I wear in my normal shoes). This might seem to defeat the object of minimalist shoes but its to solve a problem with knee pain which always recurs if I go without them for any length of time. Once I've got a bit more used to wearing them I may try them without.

Next outing will be for my timed mile tomorrow.:)
 

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I've been running and racing barefoot for more than 16 months now. And I think a few of you already know I love every minute of it :) Patience, and more patience is the key.
 

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I'm trying to switch from cushioned shoes to racing flats at the moment and initial results are positive, I tried switching to forefoot but I'm happier landing on my heels in racing flats.
 

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Since i started training again after my post IM break i've been exclusively running in my very old racing flats. Not totally barefoot but very much mid - forefoot striking.
Had a few achey calves after longer runs (up to 10miles) but seems to have settled now and feels good.
Unfortunately these flats are about to expire so I now have the debate what to buy next.

I did a couple of my long runs last summer with a 10-15min barefoot on grass in the park at the end which was great, and then carefully barefooting the last 200m or so home. Wored well for waking my feet up & refreshing my form at the end of the long run.
 

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My groin injury didn't hurt while running barefoot :| It did before. I then put my shoes on and continued and after a few minutes the pain came back.
Yea, this is interesting, and obviously backs up what are by now pretty well-established claims. Will be keen to hear how you progress from here.

I wear racing flats for all short sessions and speed work now, but I still wear neutral cushioned shoes for longer runs. Planning to phase that out too, though. Like Stu, I find my foot plant is completely different (for the better, I think) in my flats. I'm just anxious not to make the switch too abrupt.
 

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I run in Merrell Trail Gloves, they are amazing.

Interestingly, I have had an ongoing groin injury for 4 years, usually when walking rather than running, but since I started running more slowly in the trail gloves over longer distances (to improve my aerobic base), the discomfort is almost gone completely.

I have also changed my diet to avoid ALL processed carbs like wheat/flour/pasta etc etc, and this I hope has increased energy and I believe, reduced inflammation too.
 

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Excuse my ignorance, but can you wear minimal shoes if you over pronate?
I think the general idea is that minimalist or barefoot running toughens up the feet bones and ligaments to the point where you no longer have that as a problem.

I run in NB minimus, which I adore.
 

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Over pronation doesn't matter one bit. But you need to be landing under your hip with a bent knee. You will then land forefoot. Minimalist shoes with heel striking will likely lead to trouble.
 

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Fulmar, I changed from using the supportive trainers advised to me by an expert via a gait analysis and started running in racing flats and vibrams. My injuries cleared up within weeks, and I'm now running more miles than ever. My foot hits the floor in a different manner, my stride is different and I feel far better for it.

Stu
Quick question Stu. Did you heel strike in the supportive shoes?
 

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can't answer for Stu, but there is now a general consensus that for effective and injury free running, the foot should land under the hips at foot strike. This is where supporters of heel striking fall down, because it is almost impossible to heel strike under the hips, unless you are pulling your toes right up, causing all sorts of issues with the muscles in the instep and shin area.

In thin soled shoes, you should naturally find yourself taking smaller strides and increasing your stride rate, with the heel strike hopefully disappearing.
 

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In thin soled shoes, you should naturally find yourself taking smaller strides and increasing your stride rate, with the heel strike hopefully disappearing.
I don't neccasarily agree with that. Plent of people in thin soled shoes will still heel strike. Just go to a xc and watch all the spiked flats heel striking.
 

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ok, thanks. So you could, if true barefoot is not an option. Pull on a pair of school type black pumps and that would be ok? Do you need to consciously adapt your foot strike?
 

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I don't neccasarily agree with that. Plent of people in thin soled shoes will still heel strike. Just go to a xc and watch all the spiked flats heel striking.
I am sure that they do, but how many of them land with their foot under the hips?
 
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