Cornwall Coast Path/photo courtesy of

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Michael Birchmore - Elite Triathlete Feedback

I have recently teamed up with Jonno and VIVOBAREFOOT to help improve my running technique to help slash times and more importantly help keep me injury free. 

It all started with a one-to-one video analysis of my running in my current shoes on a treadmill with Jonno, and from there he showed me my technique on his laptop pointing out good and bad points. We then re-filmed me running but this time barefoot, he pointed out how much better my technique was now I was stripped away of all the support in the shoes, which originally I thought were helping, but were actually making my posture bad. 

He broke everything down to simple terms and went through the history of running which was both informative and interesting. He then showed me drills to help improve my running which I still incorporate into my training.

I must admit that I was very nervous at first about changing my running style after all these years, but after hearing all the information from Jonno it makes so much sense. 

VIVOBAREFOOT have been so great, they've currently set me up with some casual shoes, which are so comfortable. These will help my calves and achilles adjust to not having that support. They have also set me up with Aqua Lites and Evo's which I am currently trying to switch to as my main running shoe. I'm still racing in other flats at the moment, but come the end of 2012/start of 2013 season I hope to be a full time VIVOBAREFOOT runner. 

This concept of running is going to grow and grow and soon we will all be running the way we were born to.... Barefoot. 


Free barefoot demo with this saturday april 28 11am-3pm at Trizone store Truro - chance to win VIVOBAREFOOT shoes. Have your technique analysed and learn about the natural running technique that we were all born with. And ask any barefoot questions!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Barefoot Proof

Here's the proof that our ancestors were barefoot - and rather bigger than us!

Seriously though, it's amazing how the image of the bare foot gets everywhere - this is at a new children's park in Cornwall. I also spotted a learner driving school vehicle emblazoned with 'Barefoot Driving School' - also proof that driving barefoot must be legal!

Monday, 23 April 2012

The London Marathon 2013 - Training Starts NOW!

Watching the 2012 London Marathon on TV were thousands of runners and wannabe runners, all being inspired to emulate the feats of the 37,500 men and women of all abilities - were you one of them? I was!

With a whole year to train, now is the perfect time to start preparing - and the key element to your future success is your technique.

The way we were designed to run results in an efficient technique enabling us to run further using less energy and with fewer injuries.

Join me and learn the barefoot technique now and enjoy success at The London Marathon 2013!

Group Coaching Clinics are £35 per person. Email me to find out more!

Online Coaching also available.
Godolphin National Trust Barefoot Trail Opens

Sunday April 22nd saw the opening of a dedicated barefoot trail at one of the NT's Historic Houses. The fact that the National Trust are keen to be involved with such a project without hiding behind some 'Health and Safety' paperwork is a huge step forward.

The trail was designed by Julie Hansen, a park ranger with the NT and well known local barefoot podiatrist Steve Bloor, in an attempt to re-connect people to nature and the ground in particular.

Everybody loved it - my six-yr-old son was in his element (there was lots of mud!) and it was all I could do to drag him home at the end of the day, feet and legs looking well used - as soon as he was home he designed a barefoot trail of his own! All the kids loved it (big and small!) and as a barefoot running coach finding somewhere that actively promotes being barefoot is such a bonus as too often bare feet are looked at with distain, regarded as dirty and unhygienic and somehow offensive.

The truth is that feet were designed to be bare. Just like our hands and our head, our feet are part of our temperature control system and need to be able to release heat - if they are confined by socks and shoes they will sweat and effectively create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Athletes foot is caused but such an environment.

Shoes act like a cast for our feet, weakening and deforming the entire structure. Pretty much all foot problems are caused by wearing shoes. As are many other problems throughout the body due to the heel and arch support in shoes causing postural abnormalities not the mention simply creating a weak foundation - your foot is your foundation and just like any other structure a weak foundation will cause all kinds of problems. If the foot cannot support itself then other muscles further up the leg and body have to work over time to compensate which eventually leads to injury.

And I haven't even started on running issues yet! 

Many people are becoming interested in learning how to run barefoot or at least with the barefoot technique in a barefoot shoe - well there is an adaptation phase to consider and the best way to teach your body how to run correctly again is to start with walking. Barefoot.

Being barefoot and walking on all kinds of terrain and surfaces will wake up your feet, especially the 200,000 nerve endings in the sole of the foot which are responsible for telling your brain about the forces acting on the body. These sensors are there to protect joints in the body from undue stress - but they cannot work when protected by a traditional shoe. Being barefoot as much as possible will strengthen the muscles in the feet which in turn will ease stress on other parts of the body. It's a win win situation.

So hats off to the National Trust (or should that be 'shoes off') for going down this path - talking with Julie at the event it is clear that there are all kinds of exciting opportunities that could stem from this, not least taking barefoot running to the masses!

Watch this space!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


Took the new Breatho Trail out for a spin last week, really impressed with the feedback considering the amount of tread on the sole. Lightweight, allows the foot to work as it should, full-on awesome grip and looks great as well! Here's the proof...

Want some? Check out the links page for stockists of the VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail in Cornwall, UK.

Photos courtesy of Sports Photographer, Jordan Weeks

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Penzance Triathlon 2012

Nice start to the 2012 Tri Season - the first event in the Cornwall Triathlon Series was held at Penzance, a sprint triathlon with a pool swim. This is the start of my third triathlon season and the plan is for it to be an injury free experience, now that I have corrected my previously injurious running technique, thanks the Lee Saxby.

Certainly started that way, improved times in all disciplines, especially the bike (probably thanks to Trizone and the Specialized Shiv), no sign of previous calf pain so the run felt as comfortable as can be expected after a swim and a bike.

My Vivobarefoot Ultras were super fast in transition - they provoked a few strange looks that's for sure - good to see 4 other Vivobarefoot shod competitors too.

Bring on Race two...

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Barefoot Academy

Day group clinics now available to analyse and correct running technique and assess and advise on injuries.

Groups of 10 maximum, all abilities.

Cost is £95.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Harvard Study Results


It’s Official – Barefoot is Best.

Harvard Study Proves that Barefoot Running Style Reduces Injury Rates and Increases Performance

A recent Harvard study led by Professor Daniel Lieberman, Foot Strike and Injury Rates in Endurance Runners: a retrospective study is set to revolutionise the whole footwear industry after finding that that runners who rear foot strike have approximately twice the rate of injury than those who forefoot strike. VIVOBAREFOOT, the authentic barefoot brand designs footwear that promotes forefoot strike rather than rear foot strike and have been the leaders in communicating this same message since 2003.

The research which has been published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, hypothesizes that forefoot strikers may have lower injury rates because they do not generate impact peaks. In the 2010 Nature study by Lieberman et al., Foot Strike Patterns and Collision Forces in Habitually Barefoot Runners Versus Shod Runners, it was found that barefoot running is flagged by a forefoot strike, while shod running lends itself to a rear foot strike.

Lieberman’s research, arguably the most groundbreaking study in the last 30 years, suggests that the incidence of high
injury rate among runners (more than 80% of runners in his study incurred at least one repetitive stress injury per year) could be reduced if their running form minimizes the rate and magnitude of impact loading - in other words, if runners adopt a skillful forefoot strike, characteristic of skilled barefoot runners. With regards to the debate over the importance of shoes versus form, Lieberman states that “running style is probably a more important determinant of injury than footwear (with the caveat that footwear probably influences one’s running style)”.

VIVOBAREFOOT and leading biomechanics expert Lee Saxby have long been believers of the benefits of barefoot movement and of the detrimental impact that modern day footwear has had on dumbing down the senses of today’s society, whether standing, walking or running. While many hypotheses have circled as the barefoot movement has gained strength, Lieberman’s latest research finally provides us with proof that barefoot is best.

In 2011, VIVOBAREFOOT and Lee Saxby launched the VIVOBAREFOOT Training Clinic to educate the world about skillful, injury-free movement, following the success of Saxby’s eBook, Proprioception: Making Sense of Barefoot Running. In May 2011 the VIVOBAREFOOT Training Clinic launched the VIVOBAREFOOT Coaching Program, a five-day course with an intense syllabus covering the science and coaching of the physical and mental components of running. Extensive practical interactions diagnosing and correcting running form complete the course, and only those that pass the rigorous test at the end are granted a certificate. The VIVOBAREFOOT Coaching Program is the only coaching program recommended by Daniel Lieberman.

VIVOBAREFOOT strongly believes in creating footwear that mimics natural movement so your gait is less likely to be influenced by reduced proprioception (sensory feedback). VIVOBAREFOOT produces a suite of barefoot products across performance, lifestyle and kids categories, all featuring its patented, ultra-thin, puncture-resistant sole for maximum proprioception with protection.

Visit to find resources on barefoot science, read Saxby’s eBook, watch training videos
to learn tips and drills for proper running form, find a local VIVOBAREFOOT Certified Coach, or register for an upcoming VIVOBAREFOOT Coaching Program.


VIVOBAREFOOT launched the first barefoot shoe in 2003 with a patented, ultra-thin, puncture-resistant
sole offering maximum proprioception with protection. VIVOBAREFOOT features a collection of multi-terrain barefoot performance shoes and the largest minimalist lifestyle shoe range on the market.

Testimonials for Lee Saxby:

“The first time I saw Lee Saxby was the last time I ever had a running injury” Christopher McDougall, Author of Born to Run

“I’ve never seen anyone better... [Lee Saxby] has the ability to translate his advice into words that make sense and which you can follow.”

Professor Daniel Lieberman, Harvard University
Media Inquiries Contact: (US) Michelle Hinsvark | e. | p. 646.395.3867


Godolphin Barefoot Trail – sneak preview

Posted by: Julie Tags: , , , , Posted date: March 21, 2012 | No comment

We haven’t told anyone about this yet – you’re the first!! But we can’t keep it in any longer, we’re just chuckling with excitement…..

Yep – the countryside team has been working on the first National Trust dedicated barefoot trail around the grounds at Godolphin; and it’s only 4 weeks to the opening on 22 April.

What’s a Barefoot Trail?

You’ve guessed – it’s a trail for barefooters – but it’s also much more than that. Barefooters can go just about anywhere, but dedicated trails are designed to provide a smorgasbord of different textures to stimulate bare soles. At Godolphin we’ve been able to use lots of the existing historic textures – slate, granite, and cobbles for example – and then enhance the woodland experience by bringing in a selection of delightful natural materials – which we’re keeping secret so you’ll have a surprise when you visit. Germany has been proud of its Barfuss parks for a while, and eastern countries offer reflexology paths – but there is only one other barefoot trail in the UK- at Trentham near Stoke-on -Trent (not NT). This might be the start of something!

Who’s it for?

Anyone can enjoy the feeling of walking barefoot (although a very few folk with related medical conditions might need to check with their Dr first). All visitors to Godolphin will be welcome to try the trail – and there is no extra charge. In fact – you can wander around the whole site without your shoes – the trail is simply a suggested route. Have a look at our barefoot leaflet – available at Godolphin from 22 April. (Shoes may be suggested for hard hat areas when building repairs are in progress).

Why bare feet?

The benefits to most people of living and walking barefoot are being reported more and more regularly in the national and international media. Barefooters generally don’t suffer from bunions, athletes’ foot, arch pain, weak ankles, toenail fungus or a bunch of other nasty things. Our local barefoot podiatrist Steve Bloor from Natural Feet in Helston has been instrumental in the NT barefoot journey; he supported our first barefoot event at Trenow last year (see earlier post October 2011), and has agreed to open the trail at Godolphin on 22 April. Come and hear what he has to say about the negative effects of wearing shoes.

Treading lightly on the Earth

As well as encouraging people to Get Outside and Closer to Nature, the National Trust is keen to promote reusing and recycling. It’s all about minimising our so-called ‘footprint’ – so we’re very proud to have used mostly recycled or left over materials for our trail. Even our specially-designed shoe bags (for sale at reception) have been made by volunteers using upcycled fabrics, and the foot-rinsing water will be directed to the gardens for the trees and plants. Plus – we’ve managed to create the path without damaging underlying archaeology – very important at Godolphin. Hats off to the team!

What now?

Make a note of the open day – 22 April, keep an eye out for further updates and mentions in the local press – then come and visit and tell us what you think. If you’d like to read more about the healthy barefoot lifestyle have a look at The Barefoot Book, Natural Feet, and The Society for Barefoot Living.