I am a barefoot runner. Here's why I ditched my shoes, and you should too.

I posted this over Christmas to Reddit, and thought I'd reproduce it here.

There is all this hype recently about barefoot running. It will change your life they say. If you're big and prone to injury it will keep you injury free forever they say.

I'm not going to call BS on this stuff, but this isn't why I run barefoot.

I decided to buy a pair of Vibram Five Finger shoes (a glorified sock really) because I had heard some of the hubub.

  • I'm big. 6 foot 200lbs - heavy bones? I heard running without conventional shoes would be easier on my body.

  • I have back pain - sat in an Ikea couch programming for 3 days in a row basically without moving. felt fine. stood up and my back spasmed... three years later - and barefoot I'm finally pain free.

  • My form is terrible. (read, was terrible).

So I took up running without normal shoes. I started slow, ran around a small block and my calves hurt like crazy. I took two days off, then the same small block. Then two days off, then a 1/2 mile in VFF's followed by 3 miles in shoes (my standard run was 4 miles). I did this working up slowly to about 3 weeks before I could run 4 miles in VFF's alone without much calf pain. It took a full 6 weeks before I stopped getting blisters etc...

My experience?

  • There is a very noticeable difference that my calves and feet take all the impact. I can run ridiculously far and my body feels no wear other than cardio exhaustion.

  • My back pain has gone away. Completely. I can sit on the same ikea couch - though it makes me nervous still. And I still can throw it out - but then it hurts for a day and is fine.

  • My feet are invincible.

  • My form is shockingly improved. Same with my posture.

  • I can run on dirt trains with ridiculous rocks and angles and be in no danger of twisting my ankle

  • My average running distance has increased from 4 miles to 7, and I run much faster.

Okay and all of this is true, and you can read it anywhere. But this is not the reason you should ditch your shoes. And It's not the reason I ditched my mine.

Ditch your shoes because it's crazy fun.

The first time I ran around the block (300 yards maybe) I came home to switch into shoes and raved to my wife. I felt like a little kid again. This was the most fun I had ever had on blacktop.

And it just kept getting more fun.

Running was something I had done my whole life for mental stability. I cant stand being in my head unless I work out. I don't care about the physical benefits, and it was always a chore. But I did it anyhow because I needed the mental health.

But now I cant stop myself. I run 7 miles instead of 4 because I cant get myself to stop. I run 7 miles instead of 15 because my wife wont let me run longer than about 45 minutes most days (two little kids).

I've run 12 miles through the mountains and had an absolute blast. I run mostly through the city (out of convenience) and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT.

I hated running my whole life, and now I cant stop myself. Yea, ditch your shoes because of all the physical benefits of barefoot running (i do run fully barefoot too, but mostly in VFF's). Yes ditch your shoes because Nike has fooled you into buying expensive shoes you not only don't need, but hurt you.

But ditch your shoes primarily because it's just WAY too much fun not too.

This has been the single largest change in my life in the last 6 months. Because when I love running I'm mentally much more stable. I spend better time with the Lord and better time with my family. I cannot encourage it enough.