Good evening everyone. Today’s topic is pretty self explanatory. The heirarchy of barefoot footwear goes something like this: Clunky/Chunky shoe coffins (see Nike, adidas, insert big name shoe company here) —>Racing flats —->Minimalist shoes (Merrell, New Balance, etc)—->Vibrams (these are separate in my opinion) —-> Huaraches —–> Barefoot.

Why is this important to us as Puffins? Well, in case you haven’t noticed we are bigger than your average bird. No, this isn’t particularly a problem, but it makes us timid. We, well at least me personally, fear that the force of our extra weight will be too much for our

Yeh, that's what I'd call a foot coffin.

poor feet. So we have this mind set that we should slowly transition from the shoe coffins on down the chain until we are finally barefoot. Now I agree with you in that this is logical. However, logic doesn’t always mean it’s right. I mean sure…Some Americans (not muah) think it’s logical to be in everyone else’s business around the world, but hey…That’s for a different time.

Anywho…I’d like to spend a little time discussing why we want to go from shoe coffins straight to barefeet. Yes…we want to skip all that crap in between the Shoe coffin end of the spectrum and jump straight into the deep end of the pool. First of all, the best thing about going from the 100$ plus foot coffins to entirely bare feet is the cheap factor. Barefoot running is by far the cheapest form of exercise (aside from sex) that you’ll find. I’d rank it at 2nd in the fun category as well.

Anywho, aside from the cheap factor, going straight to bare will help us in several ways. It will teach us correct form MUCH faster than wearing even the thinnest shoes will allow. This is due to the sensory feedback in our feet. Just because we are overweight doesn’t mean are feet are any less sensitive. This sensitivity is extremely important and is our best teacher when learning our form. Not too mention you can’t build the awesome fats pads (yes fat is a good thing on your soles) while wearing shoes. Without those fat pads your feet will never be acclimated to running over rough terrain.

Ok, so we have decided that sensory feed back is good and provides us with important biofeedback. Alright, what else can going bare do for us that even huaraches can’t provide? It provides us with a TMTS (too much too soon for those that don’t remember) barrier. Even the thinnest piece of rubber will keep your soles from becoming tender. This sign is an important indicator that your feet are tired and ready for a break. If you can’t feel it when your feet are telling you they are toast for the day, a blister might be the least of your worries.

Might not look like much...But try running on it, and you'll soon find out what a stress fracture feels like.

I hear stress fractures suck. I’ve never had one, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever done more than my feet could handle. A blister is one thing and only takes a few days to heal. A stress fracture could have you sidelined for weeks. You can’t even really SEE that fracture, but it’s there. And no, that’s not my foot.

But Puff, we weigh more than the average runner. Won’t our additional weight hamper our transition? Short answer…No. Long answer…Not really. See the difference? There really isn’t one. As I mentioned in an earlier post the transition is different for everyone. Christian Peterson (Maple Grove Barefoot Guy) didn’t have the typical transition, and he’s as tall as a tree and as thin as a twig. Alan Thwaits (my inspiration in barefoot running) had a different transition as well. He also posted a guest post *here* on this very blog about his transition. The point that I’m trying to make is that our body types really don’t effect how we transition. Sure your transition may be different from someone else’s, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad or good. In fact, I’d argue that if you are running barefoot, your transition is going well.  The few extra pounds (or as in my case, more than a few) won’t make a huge difference in the impacts of our feet. As long as we keep our knees bent and our legs relaxed, the natural springs that are our legs will be more than capable of compensating for our extra baggage. So don’t fret about going from foot coffins to your bare feet. You’ll regret it if you go straight to minimalist shoes, and I’ll be here, bare foot and smirking.

Don’t get me wrong. Minimalist shoes are not terrible. In fact, I think they are the greatest thing next to our own feet. They have a place in our running arsenal, but that place isn’t in our transition. You must learn to run bare before running with shoes again. I have another post in the works detailing where I think our beloved huaraches and toe shoes belong in our running arsenal. It should be up sometime in the near future. Thanks for listening.

 

Until next time,

Puff

 

 

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Comments
  1. Puff- my BMI is officially overweight and is very nearly the next one up, very overweight? I’ve been barefoot for two years now. You are right. weight doesn’t prohibit barefoot running.

  2. It sure doesn’t. Nor does it limit a bunch of other things that we have been told we can’t do. I want people to open their eyes and take control of their lives and health. That’s what this blog is all about, and I’m glad that you’ve found your way here.

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