The 7 Secret Secrets of Comfort Shoes
Translation: Your friends, family and running buddies are likely going to think you are a nut-job for getting interested in barefoot running. Don't EVER listen to them. The only people you should get your advice from are folks who have more barefoot running experience than you do. There are great websites out there, forums and Facebook groups all about running barefoot where you can tap into a huge amount of knowledge and experience about the topic.
2. Find Smooth Tar:
Smooth roads are a barefoot runner's dream. The fewer breaks, pebbles and debris the better. You should focus your attention on finding long stretches of road that don't have a lot of crap on them to begin training. You'll find as you get more practice under your belt that you can comfortably go running on more varied surfaces without pain (or at least without much pain)
3. Start With 5 Minutes:
Frequently folks who are just getting started with Barefoot Running over-due it at first because they can. Unfortunately that usually means pain in the feet and lower calves for several days. Start out running barefoot for 5 minutes a day - then do your normal run after that. Think of your 5 minutes barefoot as a smooth warm up. Do this for the first week, then go for 10 minutes at a time on week 2. Keep building up like this and pretty soon you will be running 30+ minutes at a time.
4. Lift Your Knees:
When running barefoot you will find that your form will start to automatically shift and become much more efficient. In addition, you are putting direct pressure on the soles of your feet. If the skin on the bottom of your feet hasn't been seasoned you'll get blisters and irritation. The way to help your feet make the transition more smoothly is to focus your attention on lifting your knees, rather than pushing off on your feet like you probably do when you're wearing shoes.
This will come with time, but the more you can be aware of it the better - your body will thank you for it.
5. Get Five Fingers Shoes:
Thousands of barefoot runners in training have gotten their start with Five Fingers. They are a wonderful minimalist shoe that helps you get your form right as well as get you used to hitting rocks and other sharp objects (pain) without quite as much intensity on your skin directly. I recommend that you get the shoes it works great to keep pebbles out and keep your confidence high as you make the change into a super-runner.
6. Carry Tweezers & Super-Glue
A big concern of people is "stepping on glass". Though it actually happens very infrequently, occasionally you can get a small sliver of glass or acorn in your foot and it's always best to remove it ASAP. It is recommended that you use an Amphipod to carry tweezers, super glue and some alcohol wipes to disinfect if you do happen to get anything stuck in your foot when you are out running.
7. Try The Track
I recently ran around my local track barefoot.
80 times!!! It was a quarter mile track, and so i did 20 miles with no shoes on. It was awesome. AND it's also a way to rack up the mileage without tearing down your feet. I recommend you get out to the track while the weather is good and bang out some miles without worrying about your bare-feet getting destroyed.
There are so many ways to get started with barefoot running, and so many wonderful places that you can run in a whole new way. You'll find that barefoot running is more fun and gives you a better full-body workout than running with shoes ever did.