8 Reasons to Give Completely Barefoot Running a Try

Barefoot

The media has been slam­ming bare­foot run­ning as of late and sure, injuries might be more com­mon with­out shoes (I mean, you’re not wear­ing shoes.). But you’re gonna have to run sans shoes at some point in your life—sprint to the mail­box, scram­bling out of a sleep­ing bag to out­run a bear, too lazy to put on shoes, or what­ev­er the case may be.

Kenyan marathon­ers (the hip­sters of the run­ning world) were run­ning with­out shoes way before it was cool. It took some time before bare­foot run­ning made the main­stream on the sneak­er soaked shores of the west­ern hemi­sphere but we’re advo­cat­ing for a whole new trend; com­plete­ly bare­foot run­ning. Here are ten rea­sons to throw shoes out the win­dow and start build­ing that callus.

Makes Your Feet Tough
Do you want to impress your friends at the luau by walk­ing on hot coals? Do you want to impress 90’s pop sen­sa­tion Annie Lennox by walk­ing on bro­ken glass? If so, you’ll need tough feet, and run­ning around bare­foot is one way to tough­en up those toot­sies. It’s good for your sole.

Makes You Look Tough
Or crazy. Or poor. Or…eccentric. Bare­foot run­ners are per­ceived many ways, but they are almost nev­er accused of being wimps and they are nev­er accused of being boring.

Less injury
Or at least, less joint injury. For­get PRing, you’re just try­ing to sur­vive. Run­ning with no shoes at all will slow you down sig­nif­i­cant­ly mean­ing your joints won’t get near the wear and tear had you put on those kicks. Best of all, the skin that wears raw at the bot­tom of your feet now will grow back twice as strong and ready for more.

Saves mon­ey
The aver­age pair of run­ning shoes get what — a few hun­dred miles? Your feet will get thou­sands. Just avoid step­ping on nails, snakes or glass or your mon­ey sav­ing strat­e­gy will quick­ly turn on itself. 

And then there’s the dis­put­ed health ben­e­fits

Encour­ages Prop­er Form

Run­ning bare­foot forces you to land on the balls of your feet, rather than the heels. Heel-strike places unnec­es­sary stress on the knees and by min­i­miz­ing heel strikes, bare­foot run­ning reduces the threat of knee injuries from wear and tear.

Makes You Stronger
Your feet and ankles have many tiny sta­bi­liz­ing mus­cles and lig­a­ments that rarely get much use. With­out the sup­port of a stur­dy run­ning shoe, these mus­cles all spring into action. Exer­cis­ing these often-under­uti­lized mus­cles may pre­vent injury.

Improves Your Bal­ance
The same mus­cles men­tioned above are absolute­ly cru­cial in any activ­i­ty that involves bal­ance. Bare­foot run­ning, and bare­foot exer­cise in gen­er­al, improves bal­ance by exer­cis­ing and strength­en­ing these sta­bi­liz­ing muscles.

Increas­es Aware­ness
Run­ning bare­foot forces run­ners to be mind­ful of their envi­ron­ment. Changes in ter­rain are imme­di­ate­ly appar­ent and sig­nif­i­cant­ly impact bare­foot run­ners. Going bare­foot not only forces run­ners to focus on prop­er form in a gen­er­al sense, but it actu­al­ly forces run­ners to be mind­ful of each and every step. The increased ter­rain aware­ness trans­lates to an over­all increase in spe­cial aware­ness, and that’s always a good thing.

While bare­foot run­ning might have got­ten a bad name as of late, remem­ber that peo­ple have been doing it for thou­sands of years. For those ready to recon­nect feet with nature, try run­ning with­out shoes (com­plete­ly). For every­one else, maybe com­plete bare­foot run­ning is best left for sandy beach­es and turf soc­cer fields.