Barefoot running must be becoming a bit of a big deal because trainer companies are jumping on board and producing 'barefoot shoes'. A contradiction in themselves.
I've tried these shoes, which are surprisingly expensive for something consisting of very little material I must say.
But I slipped on a pair of minimalist shoes (the other name for them) and went out for a run. Cue calf muscles that end up tighter than a piano string and the top of my feet feeling like I've dropped a door on them.
Barefoot running injury free. You've got to be kidding me.
The conventional wisdom seems to be that if you want to run barefoot you go from normal fat foamy trainers to barefoot shoes and then if you lose your mind completely, progress to actual barefoot running.
But the thing with conventional wisdom is that it isn't always wise.
The breakthrough came when reading 'Barefoot Running Step by Step' by Ken Bob Saxton.
The whole essence off barefoot running, rather than just landing on the front of your feet is that you run soft. And what better way to learn to run soft than run without any protection between your feet and the ground.
The barrier created by running in minimalist shoes can fool you into running just the same as in old school trainers. Crash bash smash; broken feet.
So it was a epiphany moment when I learned that the best way to transition is from shoes to nothing. You have to run soft when you don't have anything on your feet.
So once the minimalist shoe injuries got better, I ditched them and started running totally barefoot. Very quickly I started perfecting my new running style, that was for sure. I started with a few miles and have been building up. I'm not anti-shoes. i still have the five fingers and minimus shoes by the door. But after failing at barefoot running with shoes I'm running truly barefoot and haven't looked back.
I'm running softer than ever before which, in addition to being an efficient use of energy, is also a great way to give dog walkers a fright. Running soft means I inadvertently sneak up on them, almost silently, then glide past looking like an athlete that's forgotten a crucial piece of kit.
So, if you're considering switching to the new big thing, read the book and maybe lose the shoes. It might be the difference between failure and success.