Barefoot Shoes recommendations?

Hi Everyone

This has probably been asked before, but I'm thinking of introducing some barefoot/minimalist running into my training in addition to my 'regular' runs. I've looked online at a few pairs - Vibram Fivefingers, Nike Free 3.0, New Balance Minimus, but there's no runing shops in my area where I can try before I buy and I'm feeling frustrated by online reviews.

Has anyone invested in a pair that they've had success and are happy with?

Ade

8 Replies

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  • I recently got Nike Free Run 3s, which the assistant recommended as a minimalist shoe rather than barefoot like the Vibrams or minimus (I tried the minimus but they felt too flat and thin soled for me). There's still a drop from heel to toe (5.0 which I have has a bigger drop down to 3.0 which is quite flat) but it's not as much as a regular trainer, the sole is very flexible. I'm transitioning them in at the moment and have had no problems, I do feel like my lower legs are working harder in them though, which I think is the idea. For my longer runs I'll probably stick with my more supportive trainers, but I like the Nike Frees. Oh, should add I'm naturally a forefoot striker so it wasn't such a change for me, if you heel strike it would be different.

  • Hi Notbad. Thanks for that. I have to admit, of the ones I HAVE looked at, the Nikes are top of the list at the minute. Thinking about it, it's probably preferable for me to go minimal rather than barefoot at the minute.

  • You're welcome :-) It also depends what surface you run on, for me I run on pavement mostly so need some support. The assistant recommended starting off with the 5.0s working down to the 4.0 & 3.0 (the numbers are the heel to toe drop btw) if I want to. If you do get them it would be wise to go 1 size up from your normal shoe as the sizing is small (I found the same with the minimus).

  • Sports Direct have Barefoot running shoes and I think Nike was one of the brands I saw yesterday when I popped in for a bargain.

  • I bought Vibram Barefoot, took 2 months to get used to them and took them on holiday as they are lighter and took up less room in the suitcase. What I would say is be very careful, I loved my shoes but while on holiday I was running 4-5K every other day, walking in flat flip-flops or barefoot in the sand. The outcome was a nasty injury which took about a month off running and £200 in Physio treatments to put right. Outcome in the end was Physio said not to run in them as my feet were too used to the support of ordinary running shoes, so I stick to my ASICS while my VBF collect dust in the wardrobe ;)

  • I run in Merrell Trail Gloves.

    It takes quite a while to change your running style to barefoot.

    Don't go for runs of any length to start with, 10 minutes would be more than enough.

    You should gradually build up the distance, you should anticipate a fair bit of calf pain to start with too.

    I love my barefoot shoes.

    I don't know how people run in anything else, on the odd occasion I have worn my old running shoes I hate them.

  • I've never run in the usual level of padding. Started with Brooks Green Silence, wanted something for trail... was fitted with more conventional trail shoes, hated them with a passion, swapped for Adizeros which I absolutely love. Found Vivobarefoot trail very cheap so have those as a backup pair. Relatives who bought them same say that running downhill isn't so great (they are more used to normal shoes than me)

  • I hike and run (only on Week 3 run 3 though) in VFFs and I love them. However, it's very easy to come a cropper in them (from the stories I've read online) by trying to do too much too soon in them, so if you do go minimalist and are a fit runner you have to rein yourself in considerably for a few weeks until you body adapts. Plus you have to make sure you midfoot strike never heel strike in them and adopt a quicker cadence than with normal running shoes. There are lots of useful videos on YouTube about barefoot and minimalist running technique.

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