I was inspired to take up barefoot running because it seemed so exciting to me that actually wearing less protection on my feet could not only work, but make me a better runner. Could I really do without my expensive and uncomfortable running shoes?
One of the main arguments for barefoot running that I read was that humans, just like many other animals have been dependent on running for most of their existence. This seemed very reasonable to me.
The advocates spoke about lesser chance of injuries and increased endurance because leaving your shoes at home forces the runner to change his or her form becoming more gentle on the body, and at the same time gaining more efficiency.
It started out with minimalistic shoes but after a while I was tempted to try without them and I have by now found enough evidence in my results to believe that tossing the shoes can work for me long term.
Even though the logical reasons above may sound good enough, they are but only a fraction in comparison with the emotional reasons I have for running barefoot.
It’s like I have gained an extra sense. When I’m running on a dirt trail I can feel the grains of sands under my feet and sense the slightest difference in moisture, which will help cool my feet on a hot summer day, or make them numb if it’s winter.
It’s leaving my iPod in the drawer and opening up my other senses for my surroundings. Instead of listening to music I can hear the birds chirping in the trees above me, be focused on scanning the ground in front of me for obstacles and trying to determine the best path to follow.
It’s getting outdoors, exploring my surroundings, finding out what lies beyond those hills. But also challenging myself. I think it’s awesome to be able to move my body long distances, unsupported and unprotected, only fueled by the food I consume.
Realizing that I’m vulnerable to the environment. Due to a split second mistake I can instantly hurt myself on a stone or a piece of broken glass, stopping me in my tracks.
So for me it’s both a logical and an emotional path, even spiritual for that matter (although I have trouble defining this for myself).
Try it out for yourself! Don’t just read what I’m writing. If you have the slightest interest in becoming more barefoot in your life then I suggest you try it out for yourself.