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Dr. Helen

The Paleo Manifesto: How can anyone run barefoot?

August 19th, 2013 - 5:39 am

I am reading an advance copy of John Durant’s book The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health and trying to get something out of it. It’s a good, well written book and not the author’s fault that I just don’t think this lifestyle is the best for me, particularly the part about running barefoot.

Durant is a leader of the growing paleo health movement and founded Paleo NYC and Barefoot Runners NYC, the largest paleo and barefoot running groups in the world. I watch with amazement as people near my neighborhood run with bare feet down sidewalks that look to me like one wrong move and you would get glass or at least dog poop on your foot. But good for them. Maybe I’m just a wuss of some type. I always wear thick socks and shoes for fear of hurting my feet. Sure enough, one morning, I got up and didn’t have any socks or shoes nearby. I walked right into an ottoman in my living room and broke my pinkie toe.  This was weeks ago and it still hurts like hell. So try to forgive me if I don’t think that running outside barefoot for me would work out.  But then, maybe I’m just a clumsy idiot.

I tried some of those barefoot running shoes with the toes on a few times and felt suffocated by them. They were hard for me to get on, felt tight, and I could barely walk in them, much less run. Other people seem to love them and love the barefoot running. All I can imagine is that I would end up with a piece of glass in my foot or worse. Maybe I’m missing something.

If so, let me know what it is. Do you get used to the barefoot running? How do you keep from stepping on rocks etc? Is it really good for you? Is doing things like a caveman really smart? Durant thinks so, I’m not so sure.

 

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All Comments   (14)
All Comments   (14)
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Run barefoot? No friggin way! I run almost every morning and if a pair of my heavy Wolverine boot socks are not available or if my Nike Air Monarch III's are wet or something than I ain't going!

Actually, I got a a pair of non-air Nikes for $27 that are about as good as the Air Monarchs. And some other socks almost as heavy as the Wolverines.

The Paleo runner did not have concrete, broken glass, roofing nails, and all manner of modern hazards to worry about. And I doubt they did a lot of running for fun or exercise anyway.

I don't even walk around barefoot in my own yard. Or in my house. Probably from the back porch to the pool is about it.

By the way, the Wolverine boot socks are a relatively low cost alternative to some of those super expensive padded socks, like the Thorlo. On ebay you can get 6 pair of Wolverine "seconds" for the cost of a single pair of Thorlo.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I grew up in S. FL which is or at least was, a shoes-optional area. I never had hookworm, only had rare run-ins with nails or glass and had calluses like leather. After reading some paleo, I have partially gone back to my roots and wear sandals or flip-flops when bare feet just aren't allowed. I do think the muscles in the feet and ankles are stronger because my feet and ankles are constantly adjusting to terrain.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I am a heavier (~220 lbs) male runner who had knee problems for years running in conventional running shoes. Last year I switched to the Vibrams, and I've been running pain-free (joint pain at least, plenty of muscle pain when you first switch over) ever since. I've run 4 half marathons and 2 full marathons in them. I'm still a bit of a tenderfoot, so I have to choose my races carefully for terrain. Avoid gravel/crush & run at all costs. Otherwise I have no complaints.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The furthest I've ever run was from the doorway to the bar. I think all of us can make it that far barefoot - or would think nothing of breaking a pinkie toe trying. Before you can run though, you have to walk. If you want to ease yourself out of your shoes in the Summer at least, try some Teva flip flops. They're sturdily built, comfortable and protect your foot especially during those mad dashes for liquid refreshment.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Try the Merrill sneakers, they are awsome. Takes awhile to learn how to walk in them, worth it.

I was wearing boots due to a foot injury, when I heard about how bad shoes are for you. Now I no loger need boots, just foot protection, as in a tough sole. Never looking back.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"particularly the part about running barefoot."

Going barefoot anywhere the topsoil doesn't freeze solid in winter is a recipe for a child to grow up into an imbecile from chronic anemia due to hookworm.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I've run in regular running shoes, minimalist running shoes (Vivobarefoot, NB Minimus), Five Fingers, and barefoot. Barefoot feels nice but you do have to be meticulous about route selection and watching where you step. Regular shoes don't work for me, as my form breaks down and it kills my knees. I prefer Five Fingers to the minimalist shoes I've tried, but I could be convinced to switch if I found a shoe that fit better. So far, I haven't.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Eat real food. Vegetables, Meat, Fruits in that order. Eat when you are hungry and don't go anywhere without your shoes on.

Americans have this ideology that if something is good for you then the most you can get is the best. Not good. Don't turn your eating habits into a religion. Dogma will kill you.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Barefoot running might be fine, if you are running on dirt (but then why did early humans invent shoes.) But on concrete? It's an artificial surface to begin with.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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