Running

Running Barefoot…Literally

On Sunday, I went for a run to try to loosen up from Saturday’s 11-miler. I ran 3.5 miles at an easy pace and for the last 1.25 miles, I ran completely barefoot. No Vibrams. No socks.

Why? Well, during Saturday’s run (in my Asics), I felt like I was running with lead feet. My shoes felt so heavy and constricting. Halfway through the run, all I could think about (besides the ever-building pressure in my quads) was taking off my shoes. But I didn’t. On Sunday, I ditched the Asics and wore my Vibrams.IMG_0719But a few miles into my run, I got that same urge again, even though I was in barely there “shoes.” So, I took them off and just held them as I ran.

I had a lot on my mind that day. And it sounds a little crazy, but it seemed like the weight of my thoughts was escaping through the soles of my feet. Plus, I’m a big believer that simply being outdoors can clear the mind and calm the soul. And being barefoot seemed like one more step towards “communing with nature.” [I just realized I might be 1/4 hippie in addition to my 1/4 Scottish heritage.] Never mind the fact that pavement isn’t exactly a product of nature…baby (barefoot) steps.

Did I run faster barefoot? Nope. Slower actually.

Did I step on anything? Nope. But ran strategically to avoid a few sticks and goose poop. There was a rough patch of asphalt that was a little uncomfortable, but really it wasn’t painful running barefoot.

Were my feet nasty afterwards? Um, yeah… I took pictures but I gotta draw the line somewhere. And pictures of dirty feet is crossing the line. But dirt was the extent of it – I washed ‘em and all was well.

Would I do it again? Yep. And I’d love to find a freshly paved road for it.

What clears your mind and calms your soul?

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60 Comments

  • Reply
    Heather @ Heather’s Dish
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    See I actually did that lady year and tore my feet UP. Yikes…need to get that skin used to the pavement!

  • Reply
    Lee
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    I always see people running barefoot down my street. It’s a main street so I am always concerned that they are going to step on something and cut themselves. I’m glad you didn’t cut yourself!

    • Reply
      Teri
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      I’d be scared to do it on a main street!

  • Reply
    Jess @atasteofconfidence
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    I love how open minded you are!

  • Reply
    Jordan (Ciao Cow)
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    Wow, I can’t believe you ran completely barefooted. I used to run barefoot all the time as a child and didn’t think about it twice. I feel really relaxed when I’m at home with my family or after taking a good yoga class.

  • Reply
    Ashley
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    Right on girlie!! I did quite a bit of complete barefoot this summer..loved it!! I’ve read it’s really where you’re supposed to start. It trains your feet to react the most from the impact and land the lightest, even in comparison to the Vibrams because that thin layer of padding. Slowly but surely I”ll get there!

  • Reply
    Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife
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    Dancing clears my mind 🙂 And hiking in nature. And a hot yoga class. I so want to try running barefoot….it sounds so, well, natural!

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Grateful Girl Goes Gluten-free
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    I thought the vibrams were crazy, but this is insane! I’ve never had the thought I should run barefoot. It sounds kinda awesome though!

  • Reply
    Becky
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    oh my gosh girl i totally relate! i think i really am part hippy somewhere back in the family line 🙂 i bought my nike free 5.0 version six months ago and i cannot say enough of how much i love them. my hip, knee and shin problems are nothing but a memory! my brother has the VFFs and loves them. i previously ran in asics, adidas and new balance. each of them had things i really liked but the freedom i feel running in my barefoot runners is incredible. i know what you mean about feeling encumbered by your asics. other shoes feel so bulky and restricting now. i’m not a long-distance runner but so far i have worn them up to a 10 mile run and they work great for me.

    I love your blog 🙂

    • Reply
      Teri
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      I’ve been thinking about getting the Nike Frees – so glad to hear you love them! I want something with a bit more bulk than the Vibrams but not Ascis.

      So glad you love my blog. 🙂

  • Reply
    Lindsay @ Summit Sandwiches
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    Hiking, walking, snowshoeing, and running all help clear my mind and calm my soul! Anything where I can get outside and “commune” with nature. Just for the record, I might be 1/4 hippie too…haha.

    • Reply
      Teri
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      We hippies can stick together. 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]
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    working out and taking walks at the park or the beach! 🙂 You’re brave girl! wow.

    • Reply
      Teri
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      seriously, walks on the beach are the best. I so wish lived by the beach.

  • Reply
    Pure2raw Twins
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    You are brave 🙂 I have heard such good things about running barefoot! I have yet to give it a try though!

  • Reply
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
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    I’ve never ran barefoot – I’ve always been afraid I was going to step on something and get a nasty cut! I can totally get how you could destress by doing that though!

  • Reply
    Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun
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    I don’t know if I could ever run barefoot. You’re brave!

  • Reply
    Kacy
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    I know a few people who run completely barefoot regularly and love it. Although, in the heat their feet turn into one giant blister that scares little no pain tolerance me, haha. Glad you liked it!

  • Reply
    Lauren
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    I really enjoy reading your barefoot & Vibram thoughts! I’ve been wearing a more minimalist running shoe the past month, and it feels so much lighter and closer to the ground. When I wear my other shoes, they feel so big & heavy.
    Running & yoga clear my mind. I can always count on a run to calm me down and help me focus.

    • Reply
      Teri
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      Do you mind me asking which minimalist shoe you are running in? I want to get something more substantial than Vibrams but less than traditional running shoes. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Chloe @ 321delish
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    I run in regular running shoes, but I have had on and off random injuries over the years…shin splints, knee pains, foot pains, etc. I have been debating buying vibrams or Nike frees…mainly because I am scared that I won’t be able to run as far. I know it seems like a silly concern….But I think that the more I hear about running barefoot or in vibrams, the more I am sold.

    Were you really nervous to switch over?

    • Reply
      Teri
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      I know it’s not the case with everyone, but my chronic running injuries (mostly IT band issues) completely disappeared after I switched. I was nervous about the need to drop my mileage, which was true. I couldn’t run as far at first. You have to start VERY gradually to avoid food injury, but I ran a half marathon in them last December, so you can build up some decent mileage! And I’ve heard of others doing full marathons in Vibrams. I’d say to give it a try!

  • Reply
    Holly Hardy
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    Girl, you are crazy. I ran 2 miles last night…with shoes…on a treadmill, and I thought I was going to die, seriously. How did I get so severly out of shape? In my defense I did run after I had already done the stair climber for 20 minutes…but still, embarrassing, yet I’m still typing it out and sharing it in a public forum.

    You will forever be my running hero.

    • Reply
      Teri
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      I’m happy to be any type of hero of yours.

      And I hardly believe you are out of shape.

      I <3 you.

  • Reply
    Caree @ Fit-Mama
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    wow, that is pretty cool you ran barefoot!

  • Reply
    Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles
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    What clears my mind? Does chocolate count? Also, in the winter, candles.

  • Reply
    Chris
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    I’m with you on the 1/4 hippie, 1/4 Scotish too for that matter.

    Being in nature clears my mind and calms the soul for me. Running is getting close to that point for me. Now just need to get to some trails to combine the two!

    • Reply
      Teri
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      Trail running is so wonderful. I used to do it a lot in Utah; I miss it.

  • Reply
    Katie
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    Hooray!!! There is nothing more freeing for me than running without any shoes! I always feel like a little kid running around barefoot on a hot day…it’s the best.

  • Reply
    Cailin @ Stir Crazy
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    That’s great! I love how you listened to your body and did what felt right. You go girl!

  • Reply
    Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather
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    That sounds exactly what I need right now. When I lived at my parents house I used to go run around the property barefoot and it was amazing. First off I loved the feet of grass on my feet, but it was also so freeing.

  • Reply
    Jeanine
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    I ran hurdles in high school and we would run barefoot all the time… it drove our coach crazy because he thought we would step on something and mess up our feet… or hit our bare feet/ankles on the hurdle and hurt ourselves. We only ever ran on the grass field though so it wasn’t too bad.

  • Reply
    Julie (A Case of the Runs)
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    Well, if you can find a rubber track anywhere near you, that might be good!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
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    that sounds like an awesome run!!! Running in general really helps me clear my mind, especially running outside 🙂

  • Reply
    Michelle (The Runner's Plate)
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    My husband was listening to a show on NPR one day about the benefits of barefoot running, and in his over-zealous mind, he decided it would be wise to take off for a 3-mile jog around our neighborhood–barefoot. Well, let’s just say that wasn’t the smartest thing. . . he came back with at least 3-4 blisters, and he never ran barefoot again.

    I, on the other hand, am a little smarter 😉 and will run 800 meters barefoot on the track after a speed workout. We would do this often after a track practice in college, but the key is not to run more than what your feet can tolerate. I suggest starting with 800-1200 meters and working up from there. I also like using the track because there is usually less debris on it.

    • Reply
      Teri
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      3 miles barefoot?? your poor husband. haha!

      that’s a great idea to do it on a track!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Real Food Katie's Way
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    Yoga! Definitely yoga! And running with no music when the sun is just coming up.

    • Reply
      Teri
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      AMEN! Runs at dawn are incredible.

  • Reply
    erin
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    yoga or a dance class it what clears my mind…and during the warmer months, I am always barefoot…i love free pigs..lol

  • Reply
    Cara
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    That sounds awesome and freeing! I used to run around bare foot all the time as a kid, but never went for an actual run barefoot (unless you count the beach). I think I’d be a little scared to run barefoot for fear I’d step on something.
    What clears my mind? A nice long run as the sun is coming up!

  • Reply
    Natalia - a side of simple
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    Whoa, I’m totally impressed that you ran barefoot that long! I think it’s great that you’re that in tune with your body and mentality, especially when it comes to exercising.

    • Reply
      Teri
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      Thank you! I hadn’t thought about it as being in tune, but I guess it is. 🙂

  • Reply
    Donna
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    Sounds amazing, makes me think of being a little kid again
    Good for you!

  • Reply
    Shannon
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    nice! why were you running in your asics??? I was bummed when my foot guy told me it wasn’t a good idea for me to run in my newtons (which promote a more mid/fore-foot strike like you’d get with vibrams… or barefoot!) due to my biomechanical issues 🙁 i miss even walking in my vibrams, and i know i’m going to hate my sneakers when i’m given the go-ahead to run again!

    • Reply
      Teri
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      I was running in my ascis because my calves have been REALLY tight lately and the Vibrams work my calves much more than Asics. Just trying to give them a break!

      I’ve heard great things about newtons – sad you can’t run in yours anymore! 🙁

  • Reply
    [email protected]
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    I ran barefoot on the beach once and it was the best run I have ever had, im still afraid to run on the road though

  • Reply
    [email protected] Hungry Mess
    at

    I would have stubbed my toe and that would’ve been the end of it. Have u ever experienced any pain in the balls of your feet when running in vibrams? I seem to have it, but only in my right foot.

    • Reply
      Teri
      at

      Hmmm, no, I haven’t had any pain in the balls of my feet. Sounds awful though!

  • Reply
    Ashley Dasher
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    I remember running barefoot in gym class back in 10th grade. I think my shoes were hurting my feet or I didn’t bring gym shoes that day. I honestly can’t remember. I just remember the blisters I got afterwards. I was barefoot on a track; not recommended.

    Anyway, what clears my mind and calms my soul? Getting my heart rate up to 180 and listening to music at the same time. Or just listening to music in general. Or playing music. But, combining it with my heart pounding and sweat pouring down my face, makes it so-much-better.

  • Reply
    Holly
    at

    gah, i want to get up the nerve to do this so bad. i met a barefoot running friend a couple months ago and have been thinking of it ever since…

  • Reply
    Tyler
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    The whole concept of barefoot running intrigues me, but I could not get past the pain!!! I am a wimp, I suppose. 🙂 I wonder if you could do BodyPump barefoot?!? haha…don’t drop that bar!!

    • Reply
      Teri
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      I do Body Pump in my Vibrams, which is basically barefoot. 🙂

  • Reply
    melissa @ the delicate place
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    i have those vffs too but in teal! i don’t think i could ever totally ditch them because i live in a city. i love them though! i still use my asic gel nimbus for runs longer than 2.5mi since i don’t run very often.

  • Reply
    Amber from Girl with the Red Hair
    at

    Cool! I LOVE running barefoot in the grass but haven’t done it on pavement yet. I have ran barefoot on the treadmill a couple of times though 🙂

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