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Going Shoeless: A discussion about barefoot living

 
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Hi, all!

I'm new here, and this is my first post.

I'm so glad to have found this particular thread. I injured my ankle two years back, and I am a serious, competitive runner.

I took nearly 10 months to recover, and when I eventually returned to running, I went down with a stress reaction. I mainly worked on my form to address this issue, in addition to changing my strength training routine, but I kept facing severe pain.

I took a friend's advice and began barefooting it at home, where I spend most of my time. It has really changed my life. I am a better runner now, and the ankle no longer troubles me. I also train barefoot on lawn/grass, which also helps a lot.

I have shared this with many of my running friends, but they don't think barefooting it was the gamechanger.

Now, being barefoot is more than just a means to be a better runner. It has become a political statement. I don't buy new clothes, either. The lase time I got a new shirt was 4 years back. The shirt is still in great shape. I work from home as an academic editor, and I have no need to please people with my dressing, which I think is a luxury.

Anyway, Happy New Year, all!
 
steward
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Mark: Sorry about the injury. I sure missed "runner's high" after I injured my calf muscle as part of my transition to barefoot living. I'm glad you are able to run again.

Chronic aches in my knees, hips, and back disappeared after I started living barefoot.

The advise that I frequently hear on barefoot running groups, for developing the most natural gait, is to run on pavement. The theory being that there is less margin for error, and the body quickly adapts to the most efficient form for avoiding landing shock. My transition to barefoot living took a good two years to lengthen the calf-muscles and Achilles tendon, and loosen up the foot/ankle joints.
 
Mark Rainer
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@Joseph

Thanks!

Being unable to run as much as one would like is truly depressing, so I understand what it must be like to miss or crave the "runner's high." It is such a nice feeling--face red with good blood circulation and exhaustion and the feeling of contentment after a good cool down!

I am refraining from training barefoot on pavements--at least for another 3 months. But I must certainly--and I want to--do it. Ive been imagining what a barefoot trail run must be like. That's also something I'd like to try.

And 2 years to acclimatize to barefoot living? Wow! How much do we take for granted?! Take away footwear and it necessitates a lifestyle change. Uff! Congrats on the sustained barefooting!  
 
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I'm in the middle... while I don't go barefoot I don't wear shoes either.
(neanderthal feet... ;  )



Instead I wear Tevas all year round. It's California so the tan is year round as well. Now I can't stand to wear regular shoes because my feet get so hot and feel really cramped. Once you give up shoes, you never go back! (lol)

 
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After having walked minimal for a few months, trying to approximate shoeless, I think going shoeless is awesome, and I love it, so long as I am walking on soil and earth. Walking on concrete, tile, and stone with my barefeet hurts my back and neck, because the concrete and stone do not have the same flex and give that walking on soil does. I have noticed that soil gives when I walk on it, which I think is why it is easier on the body. I don't feel any pain or jostling of my back when I walk on good soil.

At the moment, I am thinking I will probably be wearing normal shoes when walking on concrete and stone, because the cushions of shoes seem to protect my back from some of the hurt I get from walking on stone and concrete. And for soil, I think I'll keep going barefoot or minimal, because that feels good to me.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Dave: My experience was that walking/running on concrete was my best strategy for learning the barefoot gait. Soft surfaces allowed a continuation of the heel-strike gait which was the way I learned to walk (in shoes). Walking or running on concrete requires landing on the forefoot to avoid transmitting shocks through my knees, hips, and back joints with every step.

It took me a good two years for my gait to fully change, and for my muscles, joints, tendons, and habits to readjust. I pay much more attention to my body these days, and if I'm feeling a jolt in the joints with each step, i take it as a sign that I have fallen back into my shod heel-strike gait. I've been wearing shoes this winter, and catch myself often doing the old heel-strick gait. My knees are so sore.

 
Dave Burton
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Thank you, Joseph, That helps me see I still have learning and progress to make with changing my gait and walking, so that going barefoot is more enjoyable, for me, than just when I am simply on soil. I'll get my minimal shoes out again today and try to focus on forefoot walking.

EDIT: I put my minimal shoes back on and focused on walking on the forefront of my feet, and my back felt a lot better. So, this part requires a bit of focus right now. Hopefully it will become second nature eventually after I practice focusing on it more when I walk.
 
pollinator
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I am not barefoot but have been minimalist for a year and I found this link  (and video) helpful.  Agree with Joseph. Walking on pavement is the best reminder for me to refocus on what I think of as rolling my hips. It makes it pain free.

https://xeroshoes.com/barefoot-running-tips/how-to-walk-barefoot/
 
Dave Burton
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Thank you, Sonja! I'll try to practice the walk described in the video from the article you linked to

 
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.
Anyone here who lives in London, UK???

Healthy BAREFOOT lifestyle:

I am looking for local people who live the modern liberal healthy BAREFOOT lifestyle to create a barefoot local community. South-West London, UK, (about Wimbledon, Merton, etc.)

Furthermore, I am looking for a DOMESTIC (or any other (please, suggest)) part time job where I could work BAREFOOT. Please, suggest. For example: housekeeping, cleaning, shopping, etc. or SUGGEST if YOU have a concrete job offer, please.
BAREFOoOT-10-PROCENT.jpg
[Thumbnail for BAREFOoOT-10-PROCENT.jpg]
 
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I was going barefoot a lot in the 60's-70's and discovered positive and negative aspects of this.

Positive... stimulates reflexology points in the feet by walking on irregular surfaces, puts you in direct contact with the earth, feels really good on grass, sand and certain other surfaces.

Negative... you can be injured by stepping on the wrong things; it can cause your feet to spread, so that when you do wear shoes you'll need triple-E; if you're running your knees and everything else is taking more impact without running shoes which absorb impact forces.

In the West it is difficult due to puncture vines.

On a beach in Mexico once I stepped on a marine catfish, the spine went an inch deep behind my 2nd toe, I had to yell at a guy there to pull the fish out of me, he was squeamish until I screamed "goddam it pull it out right now you f----ing..." etc. My foot swelled up like a football, I couldn't walk for days, but I was lucky as those fish are toxic and the Mexican fishermen there were telling me people had lost hands after being cut by one of those fish.

Here in the Piedmont it's all grass and dirt with no puncture vines or marine catfish, so a lot safer.
 
Greg Mamishian
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Victor Skaggs wrote:Negative... you can be injured by stepping on the wrong things; it can cause your feet to spread, so that when you do wear shoes you'll need triple-E;



You're right Victor. My toes all reverted from their former "canned sardines" state to spread out and separate from each other. However, for me it's not a negative as I'm never going back to wearing shoes again. It's not a hinderance in my job as I work for myself and enjoy the luxury of wearing whatever the hell I want on my feet.

if you're running your knees and everything else is taking more impact without running shoes which absorb impact forces.



This is true, which is one reason why I wear Tevas, to protect my feet from both impact and rocks.




In the West it is difficult due to puncture vines.



I hear ya. (lol) For years we have been waging a constant war against them and have almost completely eliminated them from our land. After I hike, I check the sandal bottoms to make sure they don't carry any seeds back home.

Here in the Piedmont it's all grass and dirt with no puncture vines or marine catfish, so a lot safer.



That's sounds great. :  ) The trick is to find a place and a way to live there that works best for you. There are an infinite number of different places and individual approaches so everyone is free to go in any direction.
 
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