Get your feet planted firmly on the ground. A strong foundation is a must for a structure to endure.
Getting your feet on the ground helps create that foundation and puts you back in touch with Mother Nature. Want to balance better? Want to have fewer injuries? Or improve prior injuries? Get your shoes off!!!
Let’s take a quick look at barefoot running and training. Being barefoot is great for you!! Now this doesn’t mean you take your shoes off tomorrow and go for your morning run. That will be a sure fire way to discourage yourself from trying barefoot running ever again. Do that and it is very likely you will not be walking right for a week.
As with most things there is a proper way to go about accomplishing the task. In this case the task is improving your balance and stability. Balance and stability are the fundamentals necessary for creating strength and power. Training, walking and running barefoot has great potential for improving your balance and stability. This in turn, leads to better physical performance.
First of all, taking off a large soled shoe is going to lower your center of gravity. This in its self gives you more balance. Then there are the increased tactile sensations of having less cushion under your feet. Being connected to the ground gives you a greater awareness of how you are addressing the surfaces you encounter throughout your day. We tend to rely on our shoes to keep us balanced. Relying on our shoes gives us lazy feet. Lazy feet mean that some other joint, with less direct influence, has to manage the stress of the forces being created at ground level. This is very inefficient and detrimental to biomechanical homeostasis. Not ideal!
Some people need added stability in their shoes. This is usually due to a genetic, surgical or accumulative deviation in a joint and/or bone structure. For these people barefoot options may be limited. In most cases reducing the level of stability in your shoes is going to increase the ease and control of your movement.
Spending more time barefoot around the house and yard is the first step. Then start doing balance exercises barefoot or in a minimalist shoe. Try standing on one foot for 30 seconds to a minute. Stand and squat on a wobble board. While standing, roll your weight back into your heels and then back up to your tip toes. When you have become proficient at the balance work you can start incorporating minimal shoe sessions to your resistance training program. The resistance exercises that will be most beneficial with barefoot training are step-ups, lunges, squats and dead lifts. Suggested shoe option are listed below.
When working into barefoot running begin wearing your new footwear on walks. After a couple weeks you can mix in short jogs. Make sure you are leaning forward and running on the front two thirds of your feet. As always pay attention that you are engaging your abs and pelvic floor. You should keep a quick cadence and land lightly. Your running should be quiet, like you are sneaking up on someone. Light and nimble is the key.
* 5 Finger Vibrams
* New Balance Minimus are great to wear when doing balance and strength exercises. If you become very comfortable with these shoes, you can try true barefoot training.
* I do not suggest doing a lot of running, especially on concrete, in these shoes. A couple miles a week is good. For longer distances try the following foot wear.
These are all good shoes to move to for the majority of your running. They are intended for a mid-foot striking pattern. This means the heel and forefoot land at the same time, then instantly drive off the forefoot.
If you find this information helpful, please forward it to a family member or friend.
For questions and/or help with exercise suggestions and form please contact me at
La Jolla’s Finest Training
565 Pearl Street
La Jolla, CA 92037