How to Start Running Barefoot

History of Barefoot Running

People have been running barefoot for thousands of years. The earliest shoes date back only to around 8000 BC, although prehistoric man have existed for much longer. What’s more, these primitive shoes usually had only very thin soles, which provided the people with little to no cushioning abilities. There is, however, an advantage to having no cushioning on the feet. It develops the leg’s ability to absorb the constant impact of running and walking. In fact, this type of shoes are so effective that some people all over the world such as tribes from Kenya and the Tarahumara from Mexico still use them to this day.

In recent years, barefoot running has started to become popular when several athletes began the practice. It has gained such a following that there are now quite a number of participants in the New York City Marathon that use this running method.

How to Get Started

If you are interested in running barefoot, it is always recommended that you start slow. Because the legs have become so used to running with shoes on, they are much weaker than they should be. Moreover, because running with shoes on requires a different technique than running barefoot, it is recommended that you start by wearing minimalist shoes like the ones found on before trying to do the real thing. Going into the practice too fast might shock your body, especially your legs, caused by the constant impact of barefoot running. Here are a few things that you should consider doing before starting running barefoot:

  1. Try running barefoot (whether wearing minimalist shoes or not) on a hard surface. Do this slowly at first so that you can get a feel for the technique involved. Unlike running with shoes on where you usually take longer strides and impact your foot at the heel, running barefoot can help you develop a softer and more natural landing.
  2. Slowly increase the amount of time you run barefoot. Once you get the hang of it and know what to expect, increase the amount of time you run barefoot. At this stage, you might not want to sprint or jog at your regular speed just yet. Let your legs develop the necessary muscles and technique to get the practice right.
  3. Try doing longer runs without using shoes. If you feel like you are now comfortable with your technique and leg strength, you can now do longer runs with no shoes at all. Just remember not to overdo things. If you start feeling uncomfortable or strained, you might want to decrease the distance on your next run. The barefoot running experience is different for everyone, so try to develop your own style and decide by yourself whether or not you should continue this practice. The most important thing to remember is to have fun and enjoy the experience. Barefoot running isn’t about increasing speed or endurance. It’s about improving the running experience by giving you more freedom and feeling.