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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Barefoot Running: Genius or Jurassic?

{Guess which runner/blogger belongs to these feet?}

Growing up, I was always scolded for running around barefoot in the house. "Put on your slippers," my mom would say. And mind you, our slippers should NOT be of the thong kind, lest it would make our tender toes spread apart like ugly webbed feet. So I grew up with close knit toes and an aversion to dust and grime on my soles.

So when this whole craze of running barefoot started sprouting up, I told myself- Um, no thanks. I spend money on shoes precisely for the technology (and eye candy) behind them. Plus, it's good ol' Metro Manila, for God sakes! But I have to admit, there is a certain logic behind it. Nike started the ball rolling with its Nike Free line. I don't own a pair, but people say it's quite comfortable for short distances. Then when a friend introduced me to a pair of Vibram Five Fingers a few years back, I was quite {insert stifled laughter here} impressed. Both at his sheer guts in wearing those yeti shoes out in public and on the science and logic behind it.

Hmm, maybe it's time for a new running experiment experience...


We have all been born barefoot.

A long time ago, people have lived and survived without using protective footwear. But, today, because of technology and the many changes it brought, wearing shoes became an essential part of life. But beyond all the protection and the style shoes provide, we seem to have forgotten the
significant benefits and sense of freedom being barefoot brings.

Shoes were first invented thousands of years ago—way back when people used to live in caves. Back then, they used animal hides and leather laces to protect their feet from the rough terrain. Millennia passed and the concept of shoes evolved in countless ways from its design, material, and even its uses. It became a necessity to shod oneself. However, no matter how things change, most people still prefer to do a lot of things barefoot. It is all because being barefoot is very comfortable. But, aside from the unrivaled relaxation being barefoot brings, it also has a considerable number of benefits, not just to the feet, but the body as a whole.

Doing activities barefoot brings a lot of advantages to the body’s flexibility and mobility. It allows people to exercise, stretch, relax, and strengthen muscles they normally don’t get to use when wearing shoes.

Barefoot running also corrects the way people run—making them land on the balls of their feet—as compared to wearing rubber shoes which gives the tendency to land on the heels first. Landing on the heels of the feet releases more pressure and shock to legs and knees. Doing things barefoot also improves range of motion in ankles, feet, and toes because of movements that are more natural and free.

It also heightens body awareness since the body has the sense of being freer than being shod. Balance and motion agility are also developed because doing things barefoot further stimulates the neurons and nerves that are essential to lower body movement. And because there are no heels to torture the foot heel and the ankle, it enhances natural posture and the alignment of the spine. And, most especially, it is much easier to relax and stretch after a workout if someone is

Countless health benefits have been associated with being barefoot. That is why athletes, to attain better health and movement, prefer to do their sports without any footwear on. It is because when barefoot, movements become the movements of a child—playful and sensitive, yet purposeful and confident. A person experiences the unbound joy of stepping, hopping, and running across any surface on earth, simply to get from here to there. This is the reason why a lot of sports enthusiasts prefer to deal with their activities barefoot.

Numerous runners have been hitting the tracks without any shoes on because the benefits of running barefoot have long been supported by scientific research, coaches, and athletes who’ve offered ample evidence that training without shoes allows you to run faster and further with fewer injuries. Motion studies demonstrate that when running barefoot, one naturally lands on the forefoot, directly below the center of gravity. This results in optimum balance, increased stability, less impact, and greater propulsion.

Indeed, undertaking activities barefoot has a lot of benefits and advantages for the body. However, the feet—most especially those of the more active people—need to be protected from the many possibilities of injury. That is why some footwear are developed to mimic the feel and freedom of being barefoot. A good example would be the Vibram Five Fingers which is a proof that many people prefer to do things barefoot. With a slot for each of the toes, it actually gives all the freedom and feel of wearing no shoes on.

Many other innovations in footwear have been introduced into the market to make our feet as comfortable and relaxed as if barefoot. It is because it takes no genius to agree that—aside from the benefits of going barefoot—the feet has taken the humans a long long way and they deserve a break and the freedom.

The Vibram Five Fingers store is located at Level R1 Bridgeway in PowerPlant Mall, Rockwell. For inquiries, call (02) 513-1449 or e-mail You could also visit the official website at


  1. i'd probably try barefoot running only on carpeted floors =P

  2. Hmmm i dunno about this! I don't think it's for everyone. I think it depends on the anatomy of your feet. Like whether or not you have a high arch.

    If I wear flats my back hurts all the time so for sure I can't run barefoot!!

  3. DesN: The Ultra track is "kind of" carpeted with turf... ;) hehe.

    Anonymous: They say running barefoot strengthens your feet muscles as well as other body muscles in time. So that would probably cure a bad back? I'll be sure to let you know the results as soon as I try more this barefoot running hoolabaloo. ;)

  4. There is not any reason think about it. The proof is in our history and in our birth. We were born without shoes. If we were meant to have something else there we would have evolved with it there. Instead, we have slowly and individually devolved our foot. Go barefoot. Let your feet feel freedom instead of being locked away in the prison of shoes.

  5. @Anonymous: I hear ya! One of these days I'll probably try it all out. =)

  6. @Anonymous: I hear ya! One of these days I'll probably try it all out. =)

  7. @Anonymous: I hear ya! One of these days I'll probably try it all out. =)



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