/ Barefoot running shoes

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mikekeswick - on 31 Jan 2013
I've been dabbling in running for the past few months. Mainly off-road on moorland and trails in the local woods and have got the bug...Anyway i've been doing a bit of reading on the barefoot running thing mainly inspired from reading 'Born to Run' and was wondering what the general concensus was regarding cushioning / no cushioning in running shoes.
Also i'm looking to buy some new shoes which will be mainly for use in the Lakes. I've narrowed it down to either inov8 x talon 190's or baregrip 200's...does anybody use these and how do they perform?
cbonner - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:

In my experience a little cushioning is ok. But the most important factor I find in a shoe is the flexibility of it - mainly the forefoot.

One vote for the x-talon 190. Awesome shoe!
IainRUK - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to cbonner: 190s are great.. not sure barefoot.. just a standard light weight fell shoe..

Not a huge fan of the baregrips.. any bit of rock and they are finished.. I got 100 miles out of mine.. nice shoe but very much grass only..
The New NickB - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:

I am not a fan of the bare foot cult and associated zelerts, but I do quite like a light weight shoe. I have a pair of the 190s for the fells, I like them, but can have a bit too much 'feel' on rubble strune trails.
IainRUK - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to The New NickB: I wore them for a mountain race in slovenia.. a hilly trail marathon.. I like them because they are so light.. last 5 miles was a gradual 1000m descent down pebbley, stoney paths.. the soles of my feet were absolutely battered by the end...
mikekeswick - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick: http://barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu/
This study of the biomechanics of the human foot running seems to be pretty much conclusive to me.
I've been reading as much about the Tarahumara as I can find, these people never forgot how to run fast and for very long distances...they have been using basically a sole and a leather thong as footwear since the day dot. Their record of 435 miles in 2 days is also pretty compelling proof that cushioning isn't necessary and may very well be a bad idea that actually leads to the injuries we have been convinced that cushioning should be preventing.
nniff - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:
> This study of the biomechanics of the human foot running seems to be pretty much conclusive to me.
> I've been reading as much about the Tarahumara as I can find, these people never forgot how to run fast and for very long distances...they have been using basically a sole and a leather thong as footwear since the day dot. Their record of 435 miles in 2 days is also pretty compelling proof that cushioning isn't necessary and may very well be a bad idea that actually leads to the injuries we have been convinced that cushioning should be preventing.

Where does life expectancy fit into that? Our joints need to last many times longer than primtive man's did and, as I know to my cost, the cushioning installed in our joints is a finite resource that dosn't grow back. What seems fine when you're young comes back to trouble you later years and it's not an injury per se, just wear and tear.
Nick Russell on 01 Feb 2013
It's worth mentioning that in the study you link, they make it very clear that they don't have any direct evidence regarding injuries and barefoot/cushioned shoes. Further studies will be required to establish whether there is any causal link between cushioning and injuries.
alanbill99 - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick: Hi Mike, Not sure if you're based in Keswick or not, but I popped into Planetfear in Keswick a few months back and picked up both the 190's and the Barefoots.

Completely different shoes.

The barefoots are completely flexible - you can bend them double very easily. There's no protective midplate thingy in there.

The 190's (which I'm tempted with) are a light shoe with protection in the midplate thingy. Yes, you can bend them double but they aren't as floppy as the barefoots.

Not sure if you've run in barefoot shoes at all - I've for the New Balance Minimus which are great - but I'd hate to do a pebbley descent on them like Iain mentioned above. Just torture. The minimuses are completely flexible like the barefoots.

I think the difference comes down to this midplate protection thingy. It's effectively a protective layer of sorts between the upper and sole which shields out the worst of the pebbles etc. Personally I wouldn't run on rocks without one which is why one guy mentioned that on anything but grass they will be shredded.

You didn't mention what you currently run in. I use Walshes and love em. Minimal ish with great grip. They've given me a good forefoot technique anyway so my switch over was relatively problem free.

wbo - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick: As noted the studies linked to above came with numerous provisos not to use to justify injuries, or not injuries.

I tihnk you have to try this for yourself and see if it works for you. It would not work for me. For some 7 or 8 years my average was about 90 miles per week, mostly offroad, and I would count as light and biomechnaically near perfect, and I do not believe for one second I could have done all that barefoot, or in a pair of very thin shoes. There are a lot of issues around this subject, and what the Tarahumara do may not be transferrable to you.
Simon_Sheff - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Nick Russell:
> It's worth mentioning that in the study you link, they make it very clear that they don't have any direct evidence regarding injuries and barefoot/cushioned shoes. Further studies will be required to establish whether there is any causal link between cushioning and injuries.

Its also worth noting that running related injuries have not decreased over the past 30 years despite the advent of, stability shoes, air cushioning, gel cushions etc.
IainRUK - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Simon_Sheff:
> (In reply to Nick Russell)
> [...]
>
> Its also worth noting that running related injuries have not decreased over the past 30 years despite the advent of, stability shoes, air cushioning, gel cushions etc.

A coach I ran with in TX passionately hates barefoot... so I do take things he says with a pinch of salt.. but supposedly chiropodists are reporting more injuries since these vibram things...

But they are now going back to a 'mitten' type shoe rather than a glove...

I think it's all personal, but do think a lot of the success of true barefoot is enforced slow progression..
Simon_Sheff - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to Simon_Sheff)
> [...]
>
> A coach I ran with in TX passionately hates barefoot... so I do take things he says with a pinch of salt.. but supposedly chiropodists are reporting more injuries since these vibram things...
>
> But they are now going back to a 'mitten' type shoe rather than a glove...
>
> I think it's all personal, but do think a lot of the success of true barefoot is enforced slow progression..

I agree, like most things what will work for one person doesn't for another, especially when u mix biomechanics in.
I'm slightly dubious about people who haven't had many running injuries just 'going' barefoot or minimalist as a fad - if it isn't broken don't fix it.
The cohort of people plagued with running injuries however - it may well work for them, certainly worth a try........
Roberttaylor - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick: Inov8 X-talon 210 are a good compromise, not much padding, nice and light and good grip on fells.

R
Carolyn - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

> I think it's all personal, but do think a lot of the success of true barefoot is enforced slow progression..

And probably a lot of the problems with the barefoot fad is too quick a transition. Despite spending lots of time truly barefoot around the house and garden all my life, it took me more than a year wearing barefoot shoes for casual use to feel even remotely comfortable using them to run on a hard surface. Even now, I still prefer the slightly padded transition shoes.

Mind you, I imagine the average barefoot zealot might well also be less fit and rather heavier than their barefoot ancestors...

By "mitten", do you mean a normal shoe rather than those strange 5 toed things? ;-)
IainRUK - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Carolyn: No.. mitten.. so a big toe and then an area for the 4 toes..
wbo - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:
'Its also worth noting that running related injuries have not decreased over the past 30 years despite the advent of, stability shoes, air cushioning, gel cushions etc.'

I have no idea how you'd go about normalising those numbers, or making them meaningful. There have been some awful shoes around in the last 20 years, but that is a big claim to make.





The New NickB - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to wbo:

I have heard reports I very high incidences of certain sorts of injuries amongst 'barefooters'. I will try and find the source.
The New NickB - on 01 Feb 2013
Carolyn - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to Carolyn) No.. mitten.. so a big toe and then an area for the 4 toes..

D'oh, pretty obviously really.....!
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Simon_Sheff - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to wbo:
> (In reply to mikekeswick)
> 'Its also worth noting that running related injuries have not decreased over the past 30 years despite the advent of, stability shoes, air cushioning, gel cushions etc.'
>
> I have no idea how you'd go about normalising those numbers, or making them meaningful. There have been some awful shoes around in the last 20 years, but that is a big claim to make.

Its easy, you do research.

Here is a reasonably god paper, with 4 references supporting that
statement.http://www.lacliniqueducoureur.ca/medias/mailinglist/2012-rixe-barefoot-debate.pdf
Simon_Sheff - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to The New NickB)
>
> I think this is pretty good.
>
> http://www.sportsscientists.com/2010/05/barefoot-running-and-injuries.html?m=1

Slightly more research article, rather than opinion:
http://www.lacliniqueducoureur.ca/medias/mailinglist/2012-rixe-barefoot-debate.pdf
steelbru - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:
I think a lot depends on type of surfaces you run on, and what mileage you're doing.

If you do a couple of 2 or 3 mile runs a week on grass at your local park then most people will probable get away with barefoot. If you're doing 50, 60, 70+ miles, much of it on road, then I'd say absolutely no way.

I do accept that a lower profile shoe is better to enforce a midfoot strike. Historically most running shoes had about 10-12mm drop, and some of the big companies after toying with 0 drop seem to be settling on 4mm as the sweet spot. I've recently got a pair of 6mm shoes that I'm wearing once a week and will try and use them more and more and then get a pair of 4mm as the 12mm ones wear out.

WIll definitely still be looking for cushioning though in lower profile shoes myself, but everyone has to do what they feel best.
The New NickB - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Simon_Sheff:

Seems rather contradictory to me, see the definition of a barefoot shoe. It also doesn't really address the issue of outcomes. It also does really look at the issue that all runners are different.
Simon_Sheff - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

I think thats what me and Ian said
The New NickB - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Simon_Sheff:
> (In reply to The New NickB)
>
> I think thats what me and Ian said

I know, I agree, but unless you wrote the paper, it wasn't your words I was commenting on.
IainRUK - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Simon_Sheff: Not abig fan of seeing BtR mentioned in a scientific article.. :-)

But looks a good article in general, I'll have more of a read later.

My old coach in TX hated that book with a passion, he was friends with Micah and there is a lot from that story still to come out.. lots of people made money off the tribe, gave little back but also misrepresented some ideas.
SteveRi - on 01 Feb 2013
I have a pair of 190s for best but agree they can be hard work on really rocky stuff. I bruised my heel on a pointy rock in a race that took ages to heal. For that reason alone I'd be skeptical of going any lighter. Great shoes though. I've seen a couple of reports of poor lifespan from the Baregrips. YMMV of course.
Steff - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:
> ... and was wondering what the general concensus was regarding cushioning / no cushioning in running shoes.

There is no consensus regarding cushioning. Different people will tell you different things and quote half-understood studies supporting either direction.
I am afraid the only way is to make up your own mind. Personally, I like fairly minimal shoes with a very small drop for anything below a marathon, but run ultras in Hoka One One shoes, which are probably the most cushioned trainers around (they are surprisingly light and have very little drop though).
IainRUK - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to steveri:
> I have a pair of 190s for best but agree they can be hard work on really rocky stuff. I bruised my heel on a pointy rock in a race that took ages to heal. For that reason alone I'd be skeptical of going any lighter. Great shoes though. I've seen a couple of reports of poor lifespan from the Baregrips. YMMV of course.

One of the completers of the Dragons back wore them.. by day 2 they were ripped to shreads.. luckily he took a second pair and they held out to the end..
colina - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:
bear grills runs to the base of every climb he does so cant see a problem
Carolyn - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to colina:

Is that the full 50m from the helicopter drop off spot? ;-)
mikekeswick - on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to The New NickB)
>
> I think this is pretty good.
>
> http://www.sportsscientists.com/2010/05/barefoot-running-and-injuries.html?m=1

To many if buts and maybes in there for me. The fact that humans haven't been habitually injured by not wearing cushioned shoes for thousands of years is good enough evidence for me that it isn't necessary.
mikekeswick - on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to Simon_Sheff:
> (In reply to wbo)
> [...]
>
> Its easy, you do research.
>
> Here is a reasonably god paper, with 4 references supporting that
> statement.http://www.lacliniqueducoureur.ca/medias/mailinglist/2012-rixe-barefoot-debate.pdf

Indeed the actual truth is that many (now common) injuries just weren't seen before the advent of the modern shoe.
mikekeswick - on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to Steff:
> (In reply to mikekeswick)
> [...]
>
> There is no consensus regarding cushioning. Different people will tell you different things and quote half-understood studies supporting either direction.
> I am afraid the only way is to make up your own mind.

How true!!!
The New NickB - on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:
> (In reply to The New NickB)
> [...]
>
> To many if buts and maybes in there for me. The fact that humans haven't been habitually injured by not wearing cushioned shoes for thousands of years is good enough evidence for me that it isn't necessary.

Buts and maybes are what life is about, if you want certaintly I would suggest religion.
mikekeswick - on 03 Feb 2013
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to mikekeswick)
> [...]
>
> Buts and maybes are what life is about, if you want certaintly I would suggest religion.

Umm maybe your logic is a little flawed!
Throw away comments don't help anybody and perhaps suggest why you may believe what people who make money from injured folks say.
Anyway thanks for your input. ;)

IainRUK - on 03 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:
> (In reply to Simon_Sheff)
> [...]
>
> Indeed the actual truth is that many (now common) injuries just weren't seen before the advent of the modern shoe.

I'm not sure that is true.. the more you look the more you find..

Many cancers weren't found before 1960.. did Cancers therefore start with colour TV?
Dr.S at work - on 03 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to mikekeswick)
> [...]
>
> I'm not sure that is true.. the more you look the more you find..
>
> Many cancers weren't found before 1960.. did Cancers therefore start with colour TV?

Yurp.
andybenham - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick: I've been down the route of running in less shoe and in a more barefoot style. Similar to the OP I got into running late and was convinced by the arguments in BTR and Liebermans research especially.

I have never run more than 2 miles purely barefoot and have been transitioning very slowly. After a year running in 4mm drop Saucony peregrins I now have a pair of new balance minimus MR0 (the road ones) which I can quite happily run 10k in no problem at all. I run longer runs in much more substantial shoes though - brooks pureflow for road and Inov roclite 315s (bought mainly for durability) for trail.

The take home points for me in all this are that gate, cadence and foot strike are far more important than what is on your feet. If you are heel striking then you are putting a lot of extra force through your feet. Zero drop or low drop shoes don't make you a better runner but they do teach you not to heel strike because it bloody hurts if you do!

for me 4mm is the sweet spot. I love the minimus but wouldn't run long in them. The peregrins were good up to 20+ miles and the brooks (also 4mm but quite well cushioned) seem even better (for road use). The roclites are 9mm but I bought them for an ultra so want a bit of extra comfort and because I was unimpressed with the build quality of the sauconys.
ads.ukclimbing.com
The New NickB - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:
> (In reply to The New NickB)
> [...]
>
> Umm maybe your logic is a little flawed!
> Throw away comments don't help anybody and perhaps suggest why you may believe what people who make money from injured folks say.
> Anyway thanks for your input. ;)

They are not throw away comments, demanding certainty in a subject with far too many variables, isn't the best approach.

Lets face it you had decided on 'barefoot' before you started this thread. Other points of view were never going to be looked at objectively.

I'll continue my uninjured running, I genuinely hope you can do the same. Barefoot may work for you, it does for some, but just remember it isn't the magic bullet that it is often presented as. Zealots arnt just associated with religion.
George Ormerod - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:
> (In reply to The New NickB)
> [...]
>
> To many if buts and maybes in there for me. The fact that humans haven't been habitually injured by not wearing cushioned shoes for thousands of years is good enough evidence for me that it isn't necessary.

Good job there are no ifs and buts with barefoot running.

Oh, hang on.......

http://www.runnersworld.com/barefoot-running-minimalism/new-study-reaches-different-conclusion-kenya...



George Ormerod - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:
> (In reply to Simon_Sheff)
> [...]
>
> Indeed the actual truth is that many (now common) injuries just weren't seen before the advent of the modern shoe.

Interesting that the 'modern shoe' arrived with the explosion in the popularity of running, where millions of people (many less than biomechanically perfect, like me) who probably in previous generations may not have taken up running (like my Dad). I think any correlation made about shoes contributing to injury are impossible to make.

I've been running injury free for may years using orthotics and evil cushioned shoes. But then anecdote isn't evidence. Something that many barefoot zealots could do well to remember.

Happy injury free running, whatever you run with on your feet.



mikekeswick - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick: Thanks for all the points raised.
I think i'm going to try x-talon 190's and do plenty of running on a local beach with actual barefeet and see how I get on.
Moley on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:
I have these little fellows, far cheaper than trainers and well worth looking at as a starter:
http://xeroshoes.com/

I hasten to say they are limited in usage, so I haven't worn them for some while. Basically they have no sole grip so a combination of wet + hill + grass = constantly fall over and break something. Very similar to running actual barefoot, which is also impossible on hilly wet grass etc. - I live on the Cambrian mountains so last summer and this winter have been a disaster for "barefoot". They are great in the dry or on trails.

I do wear them about the house & garden which is the best way to get used to the barefoot transition, and make no mistake you do have to change style slowly as barefoot makes totally different stresses on the lower leg.


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