Anyone ever run barefoot?: Brief history - I... - Couch to 5K

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Anyone ever run barefoot?


Brief history - I completed C25K last year around Christmas time and then after a few weeks to consolidate the 5k/30mins I moved on to the Bridge 2 10k programme. I did pretty well on that for a few weeks but then hit a problem with my feet about 50mins into each session. It was incredibly painful and I would have to hobble home. (trainers were new for C25K and I DID have my gait analysed but something obviously not right!)

Went to the GP who told me running was bad for your body and that I should pad my trainers (not the most helpful!)

Anyway, I backed off for a couple of months to give my body a rest and have started again recently with C25K, now at week 4. I'm having the same problem with my feet already :( Then this evening I had a brainwave and took my shoes off for the last 5 min run and it was amazing! No pain at all, it all felt so easy. Dunno what it will feel like in the morning but I was just so pleased to be able to finish off without having to develop a weird style.

Anyway, just wondering whether anyone else has run barefoot or if there are trainers that can simulate it but allow you to cope with stones etc on paths?

11 Replies

I have never ran barefoot for any length of time but I know you can buy trainers that simulate this, they have a little space for your big toe, they have proper soles so would cope with the stones (sorry I cant remember the make) :) Are you running on the roads of on the treadmill. I would imagine on the treadmill it may be Ok but the roads are another matter. My friend has told me not to run like your Doctor because its bad for joints etc. However, I swim 3 times a week for about 2k each time and I dont feel as if I have worked half as hard as when I run! Good luck, I hope you can sort out your aches and pains.

in reply to Skimp

Thanks, I run outdoors - today on the road but I do like going on footpaths etc and will try to do more of that as I think grass would be less jarring.

I have stupid shaped feet with silly long toes and my physio friend tells me I'm hypermobile too so all my joints are extra bendy. That's possibly why the running shop didn't get me the perfect trainers ;) I will look into some different ones.


There definitely are a whole heap of trainers for barefoot style running it seems to be quite the fashion, I don't think you will have any trouble finding them.

And, if it works for you go with it, not only a runner but a trendy stylish one!

There are some really wierd ones with a separate pocket for each toe

But more that look like proper trainers :-)


Running barefoot was good enough for Zola Budd (or am I just showing my age?) I've seen lots of adverts for the Vibram footwear Greg mentions - they look like Marigolds for feet but if they do the job, then who cares ? Good luck !


I cant imagine finding toe shoes comfortable but, saying that, I do own a few pairs of individual toe socks (the ones that look like gloves for feet) & they are really comfy :) just a bit strange/wrong looking.

in reply to shelleymcb

Thanks all, would love to know if anyone has ever used the Vibram shoes as they are quite expensive as an experiment!

I will try another barefoot run on the weekend and just make sure it wasn't a fluke. The main thing I noticed was that my toes splayed out more than they ever could with shoes on, that is how I walk round the house too so I guess my feet are just meant to go that way :p


Hello Milliepops,

I bought "Women's Running" magazine today and there is an article in there about barefoot running with opinions For, Middle Ground and Against and some shoe recommendations for "Minimalist Running", including the Vibram shoes. If you don't want to buy the magazine I could always scan it when I'm at work next week and email it to you.


I wear vibrams and run forefoot/midfoot and I just finished C25k. I love them and in a roundabout way they are what got me into running. I go barefoot all the time as I hate shoes and I got the VFF as I was curious about them. I joked in the shop as I tried them on that I didn't see myself as ever being a runner (unsporty and overweight). Then a day or 2 later I heard about C25k and the rest, as they say, is history!


Have you read 'Born to Run' by Christopher McDougall? If not, I highly recommend's a very inspiring book and I'm never running in conventional trainers again...ever! I have some New Balance Minimus Trail shoes (barefoot shoes) and they're brilliant, I'll be buying (or my husband will be buying) me some Vibrams for my birthday once I've strengthened my ankle and calf muscles as you don't want to do to much to quickly. Happy Running :o)


I wear the barefoot Vibram shoes, and I really love them. I started the second week of the program with them, and they completely corrected my running-related knee pain. I'm a convert.

They do look odd, and I've taken to calling them toegloves, lol, hence my screen name. :-) I keep saying I'm going to start wearing them to the office on casual Fridays.

Check out the interesting Harvard study on barefoot running: barefootrunning.fas.harvard...

in reply to toegloves

Thanks for the link, have just ordered my first barefoot pair and will give it a go (if nothing else I can wear them as shoes).

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