Cornwall Coast Path/photo courtesy of

Saturday, 23 February 2013



The most common question I am asked on a near daily basis is...why barefoot?

So here is an answer to start you thinking...

As in all skill sports, correct technique is vital if you want to become proficient and avoid injury. Running is no different, although most of us don't consider having lessons in running.

In theory we shouldn't need to learn how to run as we are born with the innate ability to move quickly across the ground in an efficient manner - watch a toddler running around barefoot and their feet will contact the ground on the forefoot. Then watch amateur adult joggers pounding the streets and you will see an injurious form of motion that is not at all natural - landing on the heel while running is not what we are designed to do and as well as putting the brakes on with every step we are also sending excess shock up through the legs, hips and back causing many joint problems.

80% of runners are injured every year, yet running is one of the most natural things a human can do - something has gone wrong!

In a nutshell we have forgotten how to run thanks to the invention of overly cushioned and supportive shoes. Our feet simply need protection from the elements, they do not need support. In fact supporting the feet (our body's foundation) will weaken the feet and result in overuse of other muscles causing unnecessary injury. The cushioning in the latest state-of-the-art running footwear prevents the 200,000 nerve endings in the soles of our feet from sending feedback to the brain and controlling the way we move - imagine wearing mittens on your hands all day and trying to perform even the most simple of tasks! We rely on sensory feedback to enable us to be the amazing machines that we were designed to be. Dumbing down that feedback creates unnatural movement.

To improve anything in life there has to be change. To take a leap forwards with your running and to strive for a lifetime of efficient and injury free natural movement, you need to take a small step backwards and remember how to move as a child. Barefoot.

Jonno Gibbins - VIVOBAREFOOT Technique Coach

1 comment:

  1. My husband thought I was crazy but I just started running barefoot last week. It wasn't easy but I did a few warm ups. I started walking and jogging barefoot on a manual treadmill (like this) just to get the feeling of it and now moved on to dirt and smooth pavement. The one thing I notice was how I ran. The impact on my knees are minimal compared to running with shoes. It's hard to describe the feeling. It's something people should at least try doing once.