I’m a big fan of barefoot shoes. In fact, I recently gave away my last pair of “regular” running shoes and now have three different barefoot/minimalist shoes in my closet.
The idea behind barefoot shoes is that they promote a more natural way of walking and running that when done correctly makes a person less prone to injury. The barefoot running trend has gained traction lately and there are barefoot shoes popping up in almost every brand’s line of shoes.
“You see, the theory is that traditional footwear, with their humongous padded heals promotes running with the heel striking first then the rest of the foot. Studies have found that runners that “heel strike” have far more impact on the joints than runners that land on the forefoot (ball of the foot) first.
Pretty much every footwear company out there these days is making a minimalist shoe model, and they’d be dumb not to. A survey in 2010 found that minimalist footwear would make up 1/3 of the multi-billion dollar athletic shoe industry by mid 2011. This has already happened and then some.”
I’ve personally tried Five Fingers, New Balance Minimus and now these: Altra Eves.
Altra Eves seem to be comfortable and are more “normal” looking that shoes like Five Fingers that attract a lot of attention in public. They can be worn to run, or even with jeans without attracting extra attention.
I found that they were easy to put on. My only issue is that they seem to run slightly small, so I would have ordered a half size or full size larger than my normal size, or tried them on first. I like that they don’t have a raised heel or too much padding, but they are more comfortable than five fingers, especially for running on surfaces like gravel or rough trails.
I’m definitely glad I tried the Altra Eves and wear them often when I’m out with the kids, grocery shopping or playing outside with the kids. They are also quite a bit cheaper than most other barefoot options and are closer to the price of a moderate pair of regular running shoes.
How to Barefoot Run
I’ve talked to people who tried barefoot running and hated it, and I think it all comes down to technique and starting slowly. Since most of us are used to shoes with padding and arches which compensate for any poor form we have, it takes a while to adjust back to a natural barefoot way of running. Barefoot shoes can speed up the learning curve since they protect your feet from any rough objects on the ground, but it is still important to start off correctly.
Here are some great tips from a previous post:
“So here is our input on the whole thing: Learn to run better first. If you don’t want to run barefoot then learn to run “like you are barefoot”.
If you heel strike you may benefit from taking off your shoes, finding a nice soft grassy field and just practicing landing mid-foot. Make sure your heel still hits the ground, just not before the ball of your foot does (many people make this mistake, never let their heels touch, get really sore calves, possibly Achilles issues and swear off barefoot/minimalist running for life).
Another thing to focus on is increasing your turnover. Meaning to take smaller steps and get those little legs moving faster. Don’t extend your legs way out in front of you, keep those feet below you and you will never heel strike and will lessen the impact to your joints significantly.
Go and try out a pair of minimalist shoes. Don’t wear them all the time at first, you need to make sure your body gets used to having less padding. You need time for your feet to get stronger, your bone density to increase, your joints and ligaments to adapt.
Most people just don’t do this whole barefoot running thing right. It can really benefit your running, walking, and really over all health (less joint pain!) if you take your time and listen to your body. I think that this “trend” is here to stay and that it will really change the way people think about running, training and the footwear industry for the better.”
Try it Yourself!
I’d recommend trying running/walking barefoot or with minimalist shoes. It can take a little adjustment but has a lot of benefits in the long run. My favorite is the Naked Foot 5K, and there are still a few dates available this summer!
The Naked Foot 5K benefits the charity Soles4Souls- they encourage people to bring shoes to donate and then running the race barefoot is optional. There are still races in Austin, Seattle, Nashville and Santa Barbara this year!
Naked Foot 5K has also partnered with Kids Running America to stop childhood obesity! The Naked Foot 5K is FREE to kids under 12 and we also have a shorter free kids 1k.”
Do you run barefoot? Go try it today and join a barefoot race if you are near one!
Note: I was provided a pair of Altra Eves to review but all opinions are my own and I was not compensate for this post, I just like the shoes