How to start going barefoot


The first rule is to walk, not run. If you just throw away your shoes or get yourself some ‘barefoot shoes’ and pound your way through your usual 5K running route, you will hurt yourself. Your feet, in fact your entire body, need to learn to do this gradually. First, we’re going to make friends with our feet. Follow the walking guidelines below and go barefoot as much as you can. Wiggle your toes, spread your toes, try to lift your toes one at a time. Your toes have been cooped up for a long time, they need to taste freedom and natural movement a little before we run without shoes.

Lee Saxby, the barefoot running Guru at  VIVOBAREFOOT, gives us the following guidelines:

  • Your weight should move from heel to big toe, but think of it more as a smooth heel stroke than a jolting heel strike.
  • Keep your strides shorter than normal – this will help keep your body in its optimum alignment for efficient locomotion.
  • Try not to look down; in fact, keep your gaze somewhere above the horizon and ‘lead’ with your chest.
  • Keep your stride relaxed, balanced and symmetrical.

You don’t have to buy ‘barefoot shoes’ yet if you don’t want to. Go literally barefoot when practicable, or just practice in your normal shoes (with as little as possible, ideally zero, heel). Your brain is re-learning how to walk confidently and in a relaxed way across a variety of surfaces: glass, sharp stones, fire… I’m KIDDING. But try soft and hard ground, uneven and smooth, flat and hills. Just think about your feet when you walk. Get to know them a little better. Have a little quality time.

Get inspired by some shoes we love here

And see some great 'half-way' transitional shoes ideas here