Welcome to Beginning Barefoot! If you’re interested in trying out barefoot running, or have already started and want to learn more, then you’ve come to the right place. Our mission is to guide new barefooters into this re-emerging sport safely and enjoyably.
First, let me introduce myself – I’m Barefoot Dawsy and I’ve been running exclusively in minimalist shoes and barefoot for several years. I’m not a coach, physiotherapist or doctor, and I don’t hold degrees in physical therapy. What I do have is experience in transitioning from wearing regular shoes to no shoes and want to share it. At the risk of launching my site with a cliché, if I can make one person’s transition to barefooting easier and injury-free, then I’ve done what I set out to do.
This site’s main focus is going to be mainly on the first stages of barefoot running. This includes everything from the moment you take your shoes off for the first time, to running your first unshod race. Beyond that, we’ll have to see, but there’s PLENTY to cover before we get there, so don’t worry.
There are several aspects of running barefoot that are important for every barefoot runner to heed, and we will cover each of these as thoroughly as possible. I hope to do at least one post on these subjects per week and will also throw in some articles about the goings on in the barefoot world, some shoe reviews, and maybe even a couple surprises along the way.
Here’s a rough idea of what you’ll find on this site:
The key to making barefoot running work is in the transition. Going from shod to barefoot is when the vast majority of injuries happen to barefoot runners, and the place where most people who give it up will do so. There are several reasons for this, but the main ones are trying to do too much too soon, and not paying enough attention to good form.
Nealy every barefoot running book, blog, etc will at some point include a warning to new runners to avoid doing too much running during the transition period. Despite this, however, nearly everyone who tries it seems to end up with sore calves, blistered feet, or worse from not heeding this advice. It’s understandable too, since the feeling you get from running unshod can be exhilirating!
Because the transition period is such an important time for new barefoot runners, I’m going to be spending a lot of time discussing strategies, exercise, etc to help newbies get through this period safely and enjoyably.
If there’s one reason why barefoot running is an improvement on shod running, it’s that it’s much less forgiving of bad form. When wearing shoes while running, it’s nearly impossible for your feet to become engaged in the process. Sure, you can still run, but you may as well be running with your feet cut off for all the feedback they’re giving you. This lack of feedback can lead to sloppy strides and inefficient form. This is one of the major reasons why we see so many running injuries, especially among runners who have not had any training. Running barefoot is like having a coach strapped to each foot. Sure, those coaches can be bastards sometimes and won’t let you get away with anything, but if you pay attention to them, you’ll be running with form fit for an olympian before you know it.
Why would I have a shoe section on a barefoot running website? Simply put, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the flood of new ‘minimal’ shoes that have been entering the market. It started a few years ago with Vibram Five Fingers, and since then the “barefoot” shoe industry has exploded, and every major shoe company is now trying to grab its share of the barefoot pie.
With all these new shoes and a lot of new companies out there making them, it can be very difficult to decide which, if any, of these shoes are safe, cost-effective and comfortable enough to be bothered with.
This will include links to reviews on other sites, and some reviews of the shoes I’m able to get my hands on. Being in Australia has its disadvantages when it comes to getting one’s hands on shoes for testing, but I’ll do what I can. [Incidentally, if you’re a shoe rep and want to send me a pair or two to review, please email me!]
There’s a lot going on around the barefooting world, so it’s handy to have a central place to read all about it. I’ll be posting regular links to articles of interest. Be sure to follow my twitter feed (@BarefootDawsy) for regular updates and random goodness.