Last week, we had a special barefoot event with Ashish Mukharji, author of Run Barefoot, Run Healthy . What was the first thing he asked people to do? Take off their shoes, of course. To the question why go barefoot, Ashish says you should really ask yourself why wear shoes? True, sometimes you need a little protection for your feet. But most people are tougher than they think they are. Here’s another point: which is worse, a little stubbed toe, or a knee injury that won’t heal for 6 months?
The audience asked lots of questions – the curiosity for how barefooting could reduce or even eliminate running injuries is huge. My favorite question was what does your mother think of your barefeet in her house? Ashish replied that he keeps socks by the door to put *on* when he goes in. He takes them off to go out. Backwards? Maybe, maybe not. Then there’s a question of what about glass and garbage on the road, won’t you hurt your feet? Ashish has very practical advice for this. Don’t run on that stuff. When you start out, find areas that you know are smooth and clean, and practice there first. You can advance to more challenging surfaces when you feel like it. Here’s another point we liked: only barefoot is barefoot. There is a big difference between running in barefoot style/minimalist shoes vs. running with truly bare feet. The sensory feedback means you will react differently from when you have some foot covering. Your skin helps you detect trouble.
We’ve had several guest speakers on the topic now, and the basics are always the same, just expressed differently. And the nicest part is that the bottom line is always the same: don’t overthink it – just relax and enjoy