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Zach Mitchell
10-08-2008, 08:31 PM
I am from Chicago so I have limited opportunities to run barefoot. However I have found Asics wrestling shoes to mimic barefoot running quite adequately. I am basing this off the fact that while running I simply do not touch my heal to the ground. Which I struggle with very much while running in my $120 "running" shoes by New Balance.

I want to get a pair of shoes I can wear to work and run in during the Winter months as well as Summer months. I don't like alternating the type of shoe I wear when changing activities.

I have a couple questions:

1. What are some ways that people try to mimic barefoot running? Does anyone see harm in the wrestling shoes?

2. What are the best shoe options. Please remember that for the next six months Vibrams' Five Fingers won't be an option. I'll probably be pushing it with wrestling shoes.

3. Can I run in the winter with no shoes?

4. How quickly have you noticed the benefits of barefoot running?

5. Anyone out there that has/had tight Achilles and what rehabilitation did you practice? This kind of a side note but I figure it is near the foot...:) I also feel like I have lost the elasticity of my muscles, neck/shoulders, achilles, wrist, really everywhere. What can I do for that?

Joe Hart
10-08-2008, 08:42 PM
Not that this would change your opinion...Barefoot ted.com has stuff on barefoot running. I know there is a link to a guy in Kansas that runs in the snow barefoot. He has pictures of his feet afterwards...ick...

I live in MN and barefoot running has crossed my mind in the winter, but like you keeping all my toes is priority. Go to the "POSE" running web site. They show all the shoes that would work for that and mostlikely keeping it close to bare foot. I have these PUMA shoes that look like sprinting cleats but don't have the holes for spikes. I think it is more of a cross country shoe. Its nice. It would keep my foot warm for as long as I run in the winter.

Good luck and keep us posted on the barefoot winter running.

Grissim Connery
10-09-2008, 06:39 AM
vibram has a model called the flow. it's designed for cold environments. you can also wear toesocks with it that they sell as well. i have a pair of the KSO's and have never tried the flows so i don't know how warm they are. i love my vibrams a ton. i think that my overall comfort level while working out increases when i wear them, whether it be running or whatever. it's easier to keep good form while running.

Robert Allison
10-09-2008, 08:14 AM
1. What are some ways that people try to mimic barefoot running? Does anyone see harm in the wrestling shoes?

I prefer a shoe that has a little more "give" (at least from the middle toward the back) It seems like the soles of wrestling shoes might be a bit stiff, but it they are working for you, that's great.

2. What are the best shoe options. Please remember that for the next six months Vibrams' Five Fingers won't be an option. I'll probably be pushing it with wrestling shoes.

If the cold is the issue (I assume it is), then you might check out some of the recommendations on the Pose site. Buy two pairs; one a little bigger. Then you can wear some insulated socks underneath.

4. How quickly have you noticed the benefits of barefoot running?

I don't actually run barefoot; however I do run using the forefoot-striking techniques outlined in ChiRunning (www.chirunning.com (http://www.chirunning.com/shop/home.php)). This approach is similar to the Pose Method and I experienced benefits almost right away. I used to have terrible knee pain every time I ran--now it is non-existent. YMMV...

5. Anyone out there that has/had tight Achilles and what rehabilitation did you practice? This kind of a side note but I figure it is near the foot... I also feel like I have lost the elasticity of my muscles, neck/shoulders, achilles, wrist, really everywhere. What can I do for that?


When you start barefoot running/Pose/ChiRunning, you will probably notice some mild discomfort in the Achilles. Most people are heel-strikers and the transition to forefoot landing activates that tendon differently. Mine passed in a week or so...

Garret Smith (IIRC) posted a pdf with some foot mobility drills a while back--I find them extremely useful

Regarding the other stiffness, there is a wealth of info online. Check out Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson's work, Mark Verstegen. Check out some basic yoga poses.

Garrett Smith
10-09-2008, 08:28 AM
If you have general stiffness all over the body, look to a nightshade sensitivity. Do a search if you don't know what they are, or go to www.noarthritis.com .

Patrick Donnelly
10-09-2008, 09:38 AM
Re: Zach
What's your line of work? That really determines if you can get away with using a minimalist running shoe in the office.

Asics Tai-Chi's are good, however, they may be a bit to stylish for you to want to run or workout in; I use mine as a more formal shoe. Also, you'll have to wait until ClassicSportsShoes gets them back in stock... Took me four months on their mailing list...
http://patrickhdonnelly.blogspot.com/2008/07/asics-tai-chis-my-comments-and-fitting.html

Nike Zoom Waffles (a XC shoe) are good in terms of having a flat sole and little cushion, but the sole is very hard. Imagine running on planks of wood; the Zoom Waffles are a bit better than that. However, running in Brooks or another standard running shoe is like running on pillows, which is far worse.

Vibram Sprints are nice, but even with Injinji socks, you'll get cold in Chicago. My Vibram Flows arrived yesterday and my initial reactions are positive. If you go with the black Flows, you may be able to get away with wearing them to work.

I heard the Puma H Streets also came back into production recently, though the colors on them are pretty radical.

Allen Yeh
10-09-2008, 09:53 AM
For work I'd recommend the Vivo Barefoot shoe.

Zach Mitchell
10-09-2008, 11:58 AM
ALL awesome responses. Thanks so much. I am quite busy (albeit at work) researching all these links.

Patrick Donnelly
10-09-2008, 01:09 PM
For work I'd recommend the Vivo Barefoot shoe.

That's the one from that NYT article, right? Let me find that link... http://nymag.com/health/features/46213/