Barefoot Marathon Running...Are They Crazy???

A friend of mine emailed me a story about a man from New Zealand who ran coast to coast (of New Zealand that is, barefoot. He figured that if the Kenyans can do it, so can he! Little did I know that there is a whole Barefoot Running subculture. And boy are they serious about it.

In visiting some of their sites, they find ways to explain away everything. Pain on the top of your foot? It's due to "imprisoning your feet" in shoes. Orthotics? Make you feel better because it just makes the "prison" nicer. We'll see how open to suggestion they are...I made a few polite comments and will see if the moderator lets them up.

Don't get me wrong...some people have great mechanics and love going barefoot...maybe even run barefoot. Even if you take out the obvious issues: glass, twigs, gravel, etc. An unshod foot doesn't have the shock absorption that it needs to run long distances.

If barefoot running has you intrigued, the best option is to give it a try on a very controlled surface, like a high school track. Nicely level with good cushioning. I think that most would put their running shoes back on after one lap around...if they last that long.

Let me know in the comments if you've tried barefoot running and your experiences with it.

For more information, visit my website at
Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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