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Barefoot running and heavier guys

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I've been thinking about taking up "barefoot" running. I would actually wear a shoe...something like the Merrell Trail glove. My chief concern is that I may actually need the cushion to prevent stress fractures. Does anyone over 200lbs have experience with barefoot running?
post #2 of 13
Barefoot running.. while wearing shoes?

If you mean that you want to run like you would run while barefoot, then I would say go for it regardless of your weight: heel strike just isn't a good idea. Here's an experiment you can try at home: stand on a relatively soft surface, like a carpet and bounce one foot on the forefoot. Now try with the entire foot. You will feel that bouncing it with only the forefoot is like using it as a spring. Now which do you think is better for your feet and legs?
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm talking about weating "Barefoot shoes". Minimalist design with no padding. Essentially just a layer of rubber to keep your feet from gettign cut up. It forces you to adopt a barefoot style, with the forefoot strike. I don't doubt that it's better for my legs, but I'm not sure it's better for my feet.
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by gladhands View Post
I'm talking about weating "Barefoot shoes". Minimalist design with no padding. Essentially just a layer of rubber to keep your feet from gettign cut up. It forces you to adopt a barefoot style, with the forefoot strike. I don't doubt that it's better for my legs, but I'm not sure it's better for my feet.

It depends on how durable your feet are. I tried running POSE for a little while and loved it, but developed stress fractures in my feet - which went away when I returned to normal shoes/midfoot strike. However, there are others who run serious mileage that way, so you won't know for sure until you try.
post #5 of 13
If you're heavy the question IMHO is can your knees handle high impact things like running? Plenty of less damaging things you can do.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by gladhands View Post

I've been thinking about taking up "barefoot" running. I would actually wear a shoe...something like the Merrell Trail glove. My chief concern is that I may actually need the cushion to prevent stress fractures. Does anyone over 200lbs have experience with barefoot running?


I have run both minimalist ("barefoot") and barefoot.  I used to own a pair of Vibram five fingers and currently run in Merrell Trail gloves.  I've run barefoot before, although only a few times and never more than a quarter of a mile or so.  I'm generally in the 190-195 range, so not quite 200+ but close.  I find I run much lighter, smoother, and generally put less stress on my lower extremities when I run with minimalist shoes... partially through conscious (at least at first) effort, and partially because it friggin hurts to land on your heel without any cushion.  I don't run huge mileage though (at my peak, something like 2-3 miles two or three times a week)  It's done wonders for me.  My feet and calves are much stronger, and a nagging knee issue I have is less pressing than it was when I was wearing highly supported shoes daily.

 

I will say though if you do it, you need to start slowly and commit.  I wear minimalist shoes probably 95% of the time.  I also built my way up to running longer distances over a period of months and even still probably wouldn't run longer than 5-6 miles in minimalist shoes (which is fine for me, since 2-4 is my general wheelhouse anyway).  I avoid dress shoes especially like the plague unless they're really necessary.

 

There's some really ardent people who think if you're going to run minimalist, that you should at least start running some barefoot.  This gives you the most tactile feedback re: your form and helps you iron out kinks before committing to more running.  I've found even having worked out a lot of kinks in my foot stride, there's still value to running barefoot occasionally since it reminds me to stay lighter on my feet and land forefoot/midfoot and NOT heel.

post #7 of 13
barefoot running may be a good thing for heavier guys actually. im around 200 lbs and i run in normal shoes. im about to change to vibrams soon, should be starting with 1 mile and add a mile a week as the weeks come along. normal shoes with heel striking is pretty bad for guys our weight
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by centrix View Post

barefoot running may be a good thing for heavier guys actually. im around 200 lbs and i run in normal shoes. im about to change to vibrams soon, should be starting with 1 mile and add a mile a week as the weeks come along. normal shoes with heel striking is pretty bad for guys our weight


 

I ran about 2.0 km barefoot (on a treadmill) today and felt great.  Your first day out, even if you only run half a mile your calves will probably be sore unless you are already good at mid-foot striking.  Even a mile a week (if you run it all at once) could be a bit of a shock to the system.  It was a while before my ankles and calves felt up for a whole mile barefoot.

 

http://www.runnersworld.com/community/forums/runner-communities/barefoot-running/new-barefoot-minimalist-runners-start-here

 

Personally I think this is VERY conservative, but it's a decent guideline.  Don't over do it.  A lot of time when you hear those "I know a guy who got hurt running barefoot" stories, it's a strong runner who made the switch and went too aggressive too early.

post #9 of 13
will do, im gonna buy vibrams and the saucony a4 grid type and run with a mixture of both since im technically not allowed to run in the vibrams in the army camp, so i will do it at night when it arrives. in the day when we have exercises and stuff i will use the sauconys so it should be a 70/30 mix or so
post #10 of 13
my calves hurt so bad lol. i can now tell how the ground feels, and its so weird
post #11 of 13

Your calves will adjust after a few weeks.  Don't push yourself too hard too soon.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by centrix View Post

my calves hurt so bad lol. i can now tell how the ground feels, and its so weird


 

post #12 of 13
im thinking i like this better than conventional running
post #13 of 13

i'm 6'3" and currently 253lbs. i've been using vibram five fingers and nike+ airs since i was around 265-270 and it's been fine. takes a bit of getting used to, but if you're decently athletic it should become normal quickly.

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