Dr. Helen

The Paleo Manifesto: How can anyone run barefoot?

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.