Hi all. I've just begun C25K as a total newbie to running and have been researching running style and shoes. Got some barefoot trail shoes

as I want to learn to run more naturally to protect knees etc (I'm 53). They seem to be OK for the 2 sessions I've done so far, but would I be better learning to run with more supportive shoes? Advice out there is confusing! Thanks.


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20 Replies

  • think it depends how you run - I cant use the barefoot trail ones, as I seem to land on my heels so need more padding on my heels. It might be an idea to go and get gait analysis done - it doesnt mean you have to buy anything, and in places like sweatshop its free, and just gives you an indication as to your running style

  • Thanks for the advice helcl - I'm still trying to develop my gait (not sure I have one yet!) to avoid landing on my heels but still seem to be quite flat footed and 'heavy'. Once my 'style' has settled down I'll try out sweatshop and see what they say. Cheers

  • My understanding of this contentious issue (styles of running and shoes) is that it is a bit of a "what came first - the chicken or the egg" issue. Modern running shoes are a fairly recent phenomenon which has developed into a large Industry. Allegedly 80% do run on the their heels - and shoes have been developed to protect them from the damage that heel running can do. But before 1970's, allegedly this was not the case. So - were padded/highly engineered shoes invented to help heelrunners - or have the number of heelrunners grown over the last 40 years because of the availability of these shoes -- fostered by a self interested industry??

    For me, I run naturally on my forefeet , so it is not really an issue for me - I don't know why I naturally run on my forefeet -- I just do. Probably because I live in a warm climate and often am barefoot at home and getting around (even though I have not run much in the past). I don't even recall wearing shoes until I went to High School at the age of around 12

  • It is interesting. Another thought is that maybe running is more popular as a pasttime now, especially with the advent of programs such as this one? I wouldn't have gone for a gait analysis originally but I was getting injury after injury when I started, and having to takes weeks to recover, so I went as I was after any little hope that would let me keep going with the running, and whether its because my legs got stronger or maybe it was because I was wearing better shoes - who knows, but I seem to have spent the last 4 months fairly injury free (watch me jinx myself now and injure myself next time I'm out )

  • This is very interesting. Is the implication that these shoes could lead to heal running? I ask because in my old trainers I ran mid foot to ball but in my new shoes I've noticed that I'm striking much nearer the heal & I'm not particular comfortable with it. Now this may be all in my head because I feel the new ones are big & I feel I'm going to trip over in them. I may just be looking for a reason to dislike them.

  • I do spend a lot of time barefoot round the house and have always avoided shoes, especially heels, whenever possible. Also since it must be the first time that I have run since the 70's I may fall naturally into the 'barefoot' camp. I've never worn highly cushioned trainers for other activities either. I suppose only time will tell. I'm hoping that by starting very gradually I'll avoid problems but its hard to tell what's a gimmick out there.

  • I am convinced that there is a real "Industry" out there!!! The fact that the major running shoes manufacturers change their models (well at least the names of their shoe models) so frequently - and seem to have different models/names for shoes in different countries -- tends to make me very suspicious about much of what I read about running shoes. Seems to me like a lot of MARKETING going on -- and marketing is done for only one reason - to sell more product!

    Anyway, I have never been a runner - even in my much earlier years in the Military, every cadet could run longer & faster than me. But since I have taken it up at this late age around 3 months ago and going - slowly slowly, I have been only using cheap neutral type shoes (but very light ones - only around 200 gms) and I have had no injuries at all . Oh - a bit of calf soreness and shin splints briefly -- but any "pain" goes away with a day's rest and it seems to be getting less and less as I run more.

  • Hi oldgazzelle

    I tried the barefoot running shoes and after 3 or 4 runs I started getting shooting pains in the glutes and thighs whenever I sat or lay down. I was told by sports physio that this is quite common as the shoes change your running technique.

    I went on a 3 week intensive course of deep tissue massage, a lot of stretching and went out to buy new shoes.

    Everybody's different but I wouldn't recommend them(Im 54)

    Out of it did come some good. I found a great website called ptprograms.com.au where you can download free strength exercises workouts to get my legs back to strength

    good luck with it all

  • Do all your posts recommend this site?

  • No only those where I think it will benefit someone. I spent a long time finding it having tried many others. Just trying to save others some time

  • Well I would have to say I am firmly in the barefoot or more minimalist camp as I run in Luna sandals, I am also an older runner (nearly 55) and think that as there were no trainers around when I grew up we only had flat plimsolls the only choice was to run more on the forefoot because it hurt lots to land heavily on the heels. I had my gait analysis done when I started and they told me I was a neutral runner and naturally a forefoot runner, so I went with a zero drop shoe to start with but I think there is also a lot of confusion around shoes, you don't have to give up on cushioning just because you want to run more naturally, you just need to find a shoe with a lower heel to toe drop and transition to a more midfoot running style

  • Have a look at this - and make up your own mind

    I naturally run on the balls of my feet - and although I believe I have fairly flat feet, I have not had any problems over the past few months running in very lightweight shoes.

    I now have some Nike Free 5.0 - they only weigh 200 grms each.

  • I'm thinking that you may have posted this in response to my question. This was very interesting. I'm going to try both sets of shoes tomorrow & see what I think. Still have a lot more questions so I'll visit their site too, I'm 0ff to bed now - have to be up by 6am. Thanks for the link

  • Hi - it was watching this video that got me buying the barefoot shoes rather than the conventional ones in the first place but I wasn't sure if I had fallen for the hype as the majority of advice out there, including on the NHS website and on Laura's podcasts, all seem to favour a traditional heel strike and shoe. It's been good to hear some from some C25K runners that they have had success with 'barefoot'. Mind you, the balls of my feet are still getting sore but its early days...

  • Well actually -- it seems to me that running on the heels is not "traditional" at all, but something that has only come about since around the 70's. But I think that everybody should do what they feel is best - personally, I use my heels when I walk - but as I reach the stage where I cannot walk any faster and have to start to "run". I just automatically transition to jogging /running on the fore part of my feet and finally if I were to "sprint" ( don't do much of that these days though :) ) I get right up on my toes.

  • I feel there is a big difference between someone who has been running and thus needs to transition to a different way of doing things and someone who hasn't really run before and doesn't have a style in the first place, in which case what's the problem with starting out lightweight? It's what I did anyway... I love my barefoot trails.

  • My thoughts exactly - how long have you been running now and did you have any problems?

  • I started C25K at the beginning of February 2012 - wearing lightweight walking boots and normal clothes and my usual overful handbag cum backpack. I spend most of my life in bed due to ill health so I was really taking a punt doing this but I was finding brisk walking hard to sustain. Running is easier! (Unfortunately what it hasn't done is improve my health - although I must surely be fitter and at lower risk of things I don't yet have)

    It did take weeks and weeks to get week 1 done and dusted but my strategy was to do the podcast as instructed until I couldn't and then I'd walk the rest (rather than walking a bit and then running) That way I had a clear marker for how I was doing and could see that I was making progress. Oddly enough, after Week 1 I never had to repeat and because I more or less ran every other day I graduated in 4 months. At some point I decided to treat myself to running shoes and I was mainly focused on ethical/environmental issues which is how I ended up with Brooks Green Silence which are minimalist. I've since gone over to trail shoes because I always run offroad (to protect my joints) and the mud was getting a bit scary.

  • I should add that relatives who are runners got barefoot shoes at the same time (there was a very good offer) and they do not use them for road running (Given that my father is still running at 80 with all his original joints and he's always tried to avoid roads, we're following in his footsteps)

  • woww, interesting reading! I was a 'returner' to running when I did the c25k and started off running on the beach in an old pair of sandshoes with no problems. Then when I was confident enough to think of myself as a runner again I started road running and my (fify cough cough year old) knees objected verrrry loudly. I was told I needed to get off the roads and wear proper track shoes to counteract the impact on my knees. Soooooo bought some nice track shoes and the knee pain went away (yeyy) - but the hip/thigh pain started and didn't go away (arg). I have now bought a pair of road running shoes (glorified sandshoes) and a week later hey-presto! back to the road and painfree running. For me it was trial (or should that be trail?) and error. I think it is all about what suits your own style of running.

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