Barefoot running seems to have been getting a lot more attention in the media thanks to best selling books like “Born to Run”

The basic idea behind barefoot running is that traditional running shoes change your style of running significantly. As a result, you typically land on your heel when running and roll forward to your forefoot. If one runes barefoot, you land more towards the front of your foot, and your heel will then fall to the ground, rather than landing on it. Barefoot running, or minimalist running, thinks we should run in a style that is natural to us and therefore avoids the traditional running shoes.

If you dislike the idea of true barefoot running, or are worried about stepping on glass or road debris, a niche market has arisen for minimalist shoes. They try to provide a minimum amount of protection for your foot while being thin enough to not change your foot stride. One of the most publicized are the Vibram FiveFinger shoes – you’ve surely seen them at one point or another, as they have separate slots for each toe. Since some people dislike the look of these shoes, there are other alternatives like the Nike free which look like a traditional running shoe but segment the sole to help encourage a midfoot strike.

If you’re wondering if you can do a couch to 5k program at the same time you try barefoot running – it really is up to you. One thing to keep in mind if you’ve been running previously is barefoot running is a different style and you have to work your distance back up. You can’t swap to barefoot running and immediately run the same distance you did in regular shoes. Start slowly and build milage and time back up – give your legs and feet time to recover and adjust to the new form.

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