Paul Mumford, personal trainer and barefoot runner takes a look at the new crop of barefoot and minimal shoes hitting the market.
I’m hesitating to call it a fitness fad but barefoot running is certainly becoming more popular of late, partly thanks to the likes of Mathew McConaughey and Kate Hudson who have both being spotted doing it.
Several shoe manufacturers now offer ‘barefoot’ or minimal running shoes that give you a near barefoot experience with thinner, flat soles that protect your feet from any sharp unpleasant objects whilst making it easy to run from your forefoot.
Although these are a great way to get the barefoot experience safely, Jason Robillard, Director of the Barefoot Running University recommends you try running totally barefoot first.
“For most people, it is the fastest way to learn good running form. The tactile sensation of your feet on the ground provides an excellent feedback loop. Any shoe will insulate that feeling, which will hide flawed running form.”
He also says it’s important to be patient while learning to run barefoot.
“Traditional shoes limit movement of the foot and act as a cast which causes the foot and leg muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones to become lazy. When you begin running barefoot or wearing "barefoot" shoes, your body needs time to strengthen. It's similar to a rehabilitation period after having a cast removed from a broken arm. Rushing the transition process can lead to injury.”