Tips for Trail Running in Barefoot Shoes

This post about trail running in barefoot shoes is part of a paid Megan Media and Vivobarefoot blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. #DiscoverVivobarefoot

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My husband and I are both passionate about fitness and exercise, however we go about it in very different ways. I have been trying to get him to the gym for a year and he has been encouraging me to go running for twice as long as that. While I do run occasionally, it’s usually on a treadmill and not in the great outdoors. Barefoot running has been a passion of his for a while so when I got the chance to try out a pair of barefoot trail running shoes from VIVOBAREFOOT, I was excited to give it a try.

Tips for Trail Running in Barefoot Shoes

Tips for Trail Running in Barefoot Shoes

 

What is barefoot running?

First off, maybe you are wondering what barefoot running is all about. And how are there SHOES for barefoot running? Seems kind of counter-intuitive, right? Here is what a barefoot running shoe must offer:

  • A puncture-resistant sole; less than 7mm thick.
  • NO heel elevation, which means there is zero-drop from heel to toe.
  • Nearly no cushioning. This allows you to really feel what is going on under your feet and maintains the flexibility of the shoe.
  • A toe box that gives the toes a chance to spread out naturally. The shoe will look much wider at the top than it does at the heel.

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VivoBarefoot Running Shoes

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Tips for Trail Running in Barefoot Shoes

Which barefoot running shoes to get?

So, I was sent a pair of VIVOBAREFOOT Primus Trail Running Shoes to try out. Since my normal workout sneakers are huge, bulky things with a thick heel and massive arch support, it was a huge shock to my foot at first. It’s like you are barefoot but not really. Your foot is flat, you can feel the ground under you and your feet are incredibly light with lots of flexibility. With the wide toe area, there was plenty of room for my foot to spread out. I did a bit of reading and my husband gave me a few pointers before we headed out to the trail and I thought I would share my experience with you in case you want to give this a try for yourself!

 

Vivo Barefoot Running Shoes

 

Tips for Trail Running in Barefoot Shoes

  1. Start slow:  Even if you are a marathon runner, you aren’t going to put on a pair of barefoot running shoes and be able to run your normal distances. You use totally different muscles and need to condition your body to the change in stride.
  2. Start with a walk: I put on these VIVOBAREFOOT running shoes and just wore them around the house for a while. Get used to them and break them in a bit before you head out on the trail.
  3. Choose easy trails first to protect your ankles. There is not a lot of ankle support in this shoe so you need to condition your ankles to get stronger before tackling things like tree roots and uneven terrain. I started on crushed gravel and while I could feel the stones under my feet, they didn’t hurt at all.
  4. Adjust your running stride: This was probably the hardest thing for me to get used to. You don’t want to lead with your heel when running in barefoot shoes. That is called ‘heel striking’ and is what these shoes are trying to teach you NOT to do. My husband helped me bit on this and I realized that I was not lining up my heels, hips and shoulders which was causing some knee discomfort. Once I adjusted my stride and body alignment, I was much more comfortable. Check out the VIVOBAREFOOT learning site for tips on barefoot running.
  5. Tread lightly:  Listen to your feet hitting the ground. If you are making a ton of noise, you are jolting your body and creating undue stress. My husband suggested trying to land more on my toes and the ball of my foot than my heel like I normally do. It took some conscious thought but by the end of my run it was a much more normal stride for me than heel striking.

VivoBarefoot Running Shoes

VIVOBAREFOOT Sustainability

As a lover of nature, sustainability is incredibly important to me. VIVOBAREFOOT is focused on producing natural, sustainable footwear that encourages people to get out and enjoy their natural surroundings. They are committed to manufacturing processes and materials that tread lightly on our planet. They are also passionate about making a product that is durable and will last a long time, ensuring that you get maximum enjoyment from your purchase with minimal impact on the earth.

Final thoughts on trail running in barefoot shoes:

I found that yes, barefoot running is a TOTALLY different experience than running with traditional sneakers. It took some getting used to but was very comfortable once I made some adjustments to my stride. I also was nowhere near as sore the next day as I usually am after a run. Maybe it was the lightweight construction of the shoe or just using a different set of muscles but I felt great after my barefoot running experience!

If you are looking to start running in barefoot shoes, I encourage you to check out VIVOBAREFOOT. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter or follow them on Instagram.

Have any other barefoot running tips to share?

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This post about trail running in barefoot shoes is part of a paid Megan Media and Vivobarefoot blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. #DiscoverVivobarefoot

More from Turning the Clock Back

Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke!

Comments

  1. Oh my goodness! I've never heard of barefoot shoes. I have the hardest time finding shoes that are comfortable. Would barefoot shoes make good walking shoes?
  2. I'm not a runner since I messed up my knee many years ago. I am wondering if these would also be good for trail walking? It would be pretty cool to actually feel the ground under your feet!
  3. Good to know about these shoes. They look nice and perhaps they also give the feeling of bare feet which sounds marvellous.
  4. Those look like comfortable shoes!! While I don't' run but I do do a lot of hiking, I have never tried barefoot shoes though I may need to try them ut.
  5. I've never tried barefoot running shoes. I walk several miles each day. I wonder if they'd be good for walking?
  6. I am not a runner. I will definitely take your tips, so that I don't hurt myself for one. Second, I will hopefully improve over time. This is one of the things I want to do this summer. Got to get me a pair of those barefoot shoes.

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