Thursday, November 18, 2010

Please Do Your Homework Before Going Barefoot or Minimalist

Now that minimalist and barefoot running have gone main stream,  I regularly see people running in minimalist shoes (usually Vibrams). Occasionally I even see someone venturing out barefoot.  I have to be honest, what I see worries me. So far, without exception, everyone that I’ve randomly stumbled across running minimalist or barefoot were all landing on their heels.

I’m concerned because these people are clearly either oblivious to need to improve their technique, or they've bought into the propaganda that they will just naturally and effortlessly be forced to adopt good running technique just by kicking off their shoes.  Either way, these people are probably going end up injured. Furthermore, when they do get injured, most of these people probably won’t conclude that they needed to improve their technique. Unfortunately, they will likely come to conclusion, that barefoot and minimalist running are a bad idea.

If you are going to go barefoot or minimalist, please don’t be lazy.  If you don’t want to take the time to learn and adopt proper running technique, then you really only have yourself to blame if you get injured.


  1. "If possible, work on your technique with a Pose Certified Instructor or attend a Pose Running Clinic. If not, then two of the best things to start with are 1) jogging and exercising barefoot as often as possible and 2) doing jump rope exercises." -- Dr. Nicholas Romanov's Military Running website.

    So having done my homework, am I cleared to go barefoot running? ;)

  2. Hi Tuck,

    Excellent advice! Thanks for posting it here.

    Happy Barefoot Running,

  3. Do you recommend a book that goes into detail about the technique before you start? I have had a knee injury that my doctor or physical therapist can not figure out. So I have taken 2 months off and want to start slowly running barefoot. I want to make sure I know what I am doing first!

  4. Hi Lexo81,

    First of all I would recommend reading Tuck's post above and following his advice. Running technique can be difficult to relearn, and you are much more likely to do it successfully if you have access to a pose coach or a familiar with a very similar technique (but not Chi Running).

    There are books and other resources that I recommend which I've listed below. Of course, you are always free to contact me with questions at

    1) Dr. Nicholas Romanov's Pose Method of Running by Nicholas Romanov (Paperback - May 2004)
    2) Dr. Nicholas Romanov's Pose Method of Running Starring Dr. Nicholas Romanov (DVD - Jan 1, 2001)
    3) Pose Method of Triathlon Techniques by Nicholas Romanov, John Robson, Svetlana Romanov, and Andrey Pianzin
    4) Evolution Running: Run Faster with Fewer Injuries (2005)
    5) The Barefoot Running Book Second Edition: A Practical Guide to the Art and Science of Barefoot and Minimalist Shoe Running by Jason Robillard and Dirk Wierenga (Paperback - Aug 15, 2010)
    6) Barefoot Running by Michael Sandler, Jessica Lee, and Sandra Wendel (Perfect Paperback - May 2010)