Let’s get our barefoot on!


Today was my first day running in my new Vibram Sprints AKA the “barefoot” running “shoe.”  I’ve heard from numerous sources that barefoot running is hard on your joints and muscles (especially the calves) so it’s best to REALLY ease into it.


I decided to run one mile, loop back to the house, change into sneakers, and run another two miles (please note that some people in the comments section have suggested I start off even slower than one mile at a time, so this might be too much, too soon.)


Running with the Vibrams felt so – natural?  Fun?  Child-like?  But man – was it tough!  First of all, I am a MAJORAH heel-striker, as indicated by this action shot from my last marathon.



Please note Nicole’s feet, which are correctly positioned.  My gait blows.


OUCH!  Running in Vibrams made me really realize how much I heel-strike and how truly painful it is – there is a LOT of force behind each step during a run!  So the first 200 yards or so were really awkward as I tried to figure out how to run without striking my heel against the concrete.  Once I got my gait under control, running barefoot felt so awesome – and fun!  It really made the mile fly by.  I didn’t want to change into my sneakers, but I knew it was the right decision because my calves were already getting achy.


When I changed into my sneakers, I realized how CUSHIONED my shoes really are – I felt like I was running with marshmallows attached to my feet.  The theory behind barefoot running, of course, is that sneakers screw up your gait.  Our bodies were designed to run without shows on.  Not sure how convinced I am, but it sure was fun to test it out!


So, here’s my plan for my Vibrams:


  • Wear Vibrams for one mile of two runs per week for about two weeks.
  • Then, wear Vibrams for two miles of two runs per week for another two weeks.
  • Start doing one three-mile run a week in Vibrams after a month.


Eventually, I’d like to run a race in my Vibrams, but I anticipate it will take a while for my body to adjust.




Two tacos with vegetarian refried beans, tomatoes, and spinach:


And cherries:


I was going to go to yoga this afternoon, but when I got back from my run, I realized how DIRTY the house is – so I plan to spend the afternoon scrubbing the house instead. Fun times!


Are you interested in barefoot running?  Have you tried it?  What advice do you have for others?



  • Drea January 2, 2011, 2:29 pm

    Yay I got the first comment! Yay for barefoot running! You inspired me to go running now!

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) January 2, 2011, 2:29 pm

    I am really interested in barefoot running. Like you, I have an AWFUL gait and heel strike (I have a few pictures from my last race to prove it!). Keep updating us on your experience… I may ask the parents for a pair for my 21st birthday in April. 😉

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations January 2, 2011, 2:29 pm

    I admire your adventure into barefoot running. It’s not something I’d ever consider, but I do enjoy reading about others doing it.

    I saw a man running literally barefoot outside a few weeks ago along the trail outside my apartment. I wasn’t sure if he was running from something or was running for exercise… it was 30 degrees out there.

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) January 2, 2011, 2:31 pm

    Heel striking looks painful! I had a dream I got Vibrams… I want to try them!

  • Katie January 2, 2011, 2:34 pm

    You are really supposed to ease in even slower – 1/4 or 1/2 mile at first. It’s really important.

    • Caitlin January 2, 2011, 2:35 pm

      So you think a mile at a time is too much? My calves are kind of burning….

      • Matt @ The Kitchen of a Runner January 2, 2011, 2:38 pm

        I think it is too much.

        I started with a half a mile for the first week, then 1 mile, then 1.5, then 2, ect…

        I am only up to 5 miles and I have been running in them since October.

        • Baking 'n' Books January 2, 2011, 3:53 pm

          Only 5? LOL! That’s alot for barefoot! I agree with the above – definitely do much less. I have no experience with this (and don’t run now – long, sob story that noone needs to hear – this isn’t my therapy hah!) – but it’s a controversial “topic” in my field of work.

          On another note…nice tacos 🙂

      • Megan (Running Foodie) January 2, 2011, 3:59 pm

        I started with 3/4 and on my next run did 1 mile. I go barefoot a LOT (and do not heel-strike when I run), so my foot muscles are already pretty strong, but my calves still ache when I’m done. I think it’s different for everyone – I run until my calves are uncomfortable, then switch shoes!

        • Kristie March 6, 2011, 11:55 pm

          I love my Vibrams! I jumped right in with mine. I was wearing them to crossfit classes, which don’t have a lot of running. I was running about a mile without any pain. It’s been 4 months and I ran 10 miles in them today. I never was much of a heal striker, but I found my gait was heavier on one side. These shoes have corrected that. I love them!

      • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday January 2, 2011, 9:22 pm

        Just go with how you feel. I went 3 miles in mine right off the bat and it was such an amazing run.

        …but then my calves killed for days. I kept doing 3 mile runs in my vibrams though and didn’t really have much of an issue.

        People can tell you how far to run in them in one shot, but it’s really up to you and what you feel comfortable doing. 😀

  • Rebecca January 2, 2011, 2:38 pm

    I used Nike Frees to correct my heel-strike and then returned to regular running shoes after about 3 months (my arches were too sore to run in Frees permanently).
    If all that comes of it is improved form, it will totally be worth it!

  • Sara January 2, 2011, 2:41 pm

    Last week we visited Boise to visit my fiancé’s sister. She let us on the field at Boise State where she challenged me to run to the top of the stands in the stadium. I did it wearing flats. Two days later I couldn’t even shave my legs over my calves it hurt SO BAD. It’s amazing how just wearing different shoes can affect different muscles!! So I’m happy to hear you’re easing into it!

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine January 2, 2011, 2:42 pm

    My boyfriend runs in Vibrams and he eased into it pretty quickly- 3, then 5, then 8 or so. He doesn’t do SUPER long distances in them (I think 8-9 is his cutoff), but he said that the soreness at first was worth it because it made his calves so much stronger. He also brought up the point that walking in flip flops a lot has the same foot-strengthening tendencies!! Glad you like them!

    • kristin January 2, 2011, 7:43 pm

      re: flip flops- I had to see a physical therapist for a while due to severe knee pain which she said was partly due to constantly wearing flats and flip flops. According to her, part of the problem with flip flops is that your toes have to grip the foot bed in order to keep the shoe on, since there’s no surrounding support other than the straps. I’m sure that there is debate about how good flip flops are for your feet, but I do find it surprising that your bf feels they provide feet strengthening benefits. I would love to wear my havianas again, instead of my chaco flip flops (though they do feel amazing on my feet…)!

  • chelsea January 2, 2011, 2:46 pm

    I Love barefoot running, although I have to say when I was hit by a car over the summer I was wearing them and I believe they were the cause of me “tripping” and falling-they are great for most things, but sneakers really provide a lot of support-including helping you stop short if you need to.
    I have been wearing them a lot more lately tho and loving them.
    Happy New Year!

  • Ali @ Ali on the Run January 2, 2011, 2:48 pm

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve been really curious about Vibrams and have read some reviews, but it’ll be nice to track someone’s ACTUAL experiences running in them. Looking forward to following your Vibram running!

  • Stacey January 2, 2011, 2:51 pm

    It sounds like an interesting concept and I look forward to reading more about your experiences with them. Make sure you take it easy and don’t do too much too soon though. What race distance would you do wearing them? Something short like a 5k or something a bit longer?

    • Caitlin January 2, 2011, 2:51 pm

      a 10 k trail race would be perfect!

  • Amber K January 2, 2011, 2:53 pm

    It’s looks really interesting and I have definitely been curious about it, but the cost sort of puts me off. Especially since I’m not that into running.

  • Chari January 2, 2011, 2:54 pm

    I’ve been so interested in barefoot running especially since I started having achilles pain a year ago last fall when I was training for a half. I had good fitting shoes too. I’m really wondering if the majority of running pain (like your knee issues) are related to the shoes and only the barefoot running would help these problems resolve naturally.

  • Haley January 2, 2011, 2:55 pm

    Being from Hawai`i, I was raised running barefoot and am comfortable doing most anything without shoes (I’m notorious for kicking off my shoes when hiking waterfalls), but running is a different story.

    I just finished reading ‘Born to Run’ and am totally intrigued by the concept, because I do agree that our bodies were made to run barefoot – but that was quite a few years ago. Are they STILL set up for that (even when we’re mostly sit-at-our-desks-for-eight-hours-a-day people)?

    I’m excited to see how you do in them… and to eventually try it out myself!

  • Carla @ Will Run for Health January 2, 2011, 2:55 pm

    I bought some vibrams a few months ago and I wear them to run errands in mostly. I’ve run in them a few times, but have gotten to sore too quickly. I’m inspired to give them more running time now!

  • Laura @ MyReasontoRun January 2, 2011, 2:58 pm

    ive been thinking about barefoot/minimal shoe running too. i have a lot of the same knee problems you do that keep recurring. hoping that barefooting will help change my gait and lessen my knee problems. hope it goes well for you.

  • Brittney January 2, 2011, 3:01 pm

    I will be following this as I am on the fence.

  • Brittney January 2, 2011, 3:01 pm

    I will be following this as I am on the fence.

  • Paige @Running Around Normal January 2, 2011, 3:04 pm

    I am SO interested in hearing your experience with the Vibrams. The I go to for running/shoe advice advised me against buying them since I have a screwed up gait, too – it landed me with my hip injury. But who knows!

  • Halley(Blunder Construction) January 2, 2011, 3:05 pm

    Awesome! I’ve been looking forward to hearing about this! I’ve tried modifying my gait to land on my toes (as you would if running barefoot), and noticed a big difference overall. If I could get over the in-between-toe feeling, I would love to try out Vibrams too.

  • carpensm (A Life Without Ice Cream) January 2, 2011, 3:07 pm

    Thanks for writing on the Vibrams… I’ve been thinking about getting a pair for a while (I’m thinking spring because they seem a little chilly for Canadian winters :P.

    Please keep us posted on how it goes with them!

    Happy new year!

  • Carrie (Moves 'N Munchies) January 2, 2011, 3:08 pm

    YES I HAVE- BIG MISTAKE! i got blisters ALL over my feet and I couldn’t walk for weeks

  • Carrie (Moves 'N Munchies) January 2, 2011, 3:08 pm

    NOTE: I was running LITERALLY BAREFOOT- no protection- dont ask me why i decided it would be a good idea..

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 2, 2011, 3:11 pm

    I’ve never done barefoot running, and I’m not sure if I have a desire to or not! 🙂

  • Carin January 2, 2011, 3:12 pm

    Happy scrubbing! We had to do a MAJOR clean of the house too, as my dad and stepmother arrived from the UK for a visit yesterday…. you always realise just how dirty the house is when you’re expecting visitors!

    Interesting re the Vibrams – I might leave it a bit longer to try them. I want to focus on fitness first. Are you intending to wear them for walking/ general use, or just for running?

  • Kristina @ Life as Kristina January 2, 2011, 3:12 pm

    I love that you are trying those out!!!! They look crazy, I’ve been waiting to dive into them for a while now-keep us posted!

  • Lily @ Lily's Health Pad January 2, 2011, 3:14 pm

    2 days ago I ran 10k in my Vibrams (not a race, just a normal run). I hadn’t run in my Vibrams for about 6 weeks because of the cold weather. WHOA. Even today it is difficult to walk. You are smart to ease into it. Your calves and achilles will thank you.

  • Stephanie January 2, 2011, 3:18 pm

    I’ve been working on my heel strike for weeks now! Trying to get up on those toes! It does make you run faster, but it also pains the calve muscles more!

  • Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers January 2, 2011, 3:18 pm

    I totally wanted Vibrams but it appears my feet are too big 🙁 I tried out the top two sizes in women’s sizes (REI is great to get them through because I was able to return them so many weeks later). I tried the men’s but they’re too wide. I’ve seen people run in socks on the indoor track at the gym and I think I may have to go that route until Vibram makes em bigger for my feet 🙂

    • Jazz January 2, 2011, 8:28 pm

      I got some water shoes at Walmart for 5 bucks.. I think they come pretty big?? Pretty much the same as vib’s without the toes hehe.

  • Allison @ Happy Tales January 2, 2011, 3:19 pm

    Holy wow that first picture in this post is AMAZING!!! Did you do that with a self-timer? I am super impressed…

    Ugh, I am a heel striker, too! And in fact on my run today I noticed some pain in my left heel… not liking that at all! Know of any tips on how to stop heel striking/make the pain go awway?!

    • Caitlin January 2, 2011, 3:22 pm

      The hubby took it 🙂

  • Deva (Voracious Vorilee) January 2, 2011, 3:20 pm

    I am interested in barefoot running, but I am not sure if it is for me. I have fallen arches and if I run without arch support, my feet hate me for days. My gait is okay – I am much better and proper foot-strike when running outdoors than on a treadmill, though!

  • Carol January 2, 2011, 3:21 pm

    I’m not totally convinced by the barefoot running, but I did just order a pair of Vibrams to try for myself! Can’t knock it if I don’t try it, right? Being in Canada though, I’ll also have to get a pair of the sock things too…it’s currently -4C (25F) and snow on the ground, after all. I’ll let you know how it goes when I get them.

  • Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) January 2, 2011, 3:25 pm

    I’ve never tried barefoot running, and I’m not sure I’d want to either to be honest! I like my super-springy running shoes, no matter how bad for me they might be! 😛

  • Courtney aka ThatRunnerChick January 2, 2011, 3:25 pm

    Your lunch today is my exact dinner plan–with the addition of some guacamole!

    I have Vibrams also, I bought them last year and somehow missed the warning to ease into them. I wore them for an entire day (classes, errands, etc.) no workouts–and was CRUSHED at the end of the day. I couldnt have run if I wanted to!

    I love the Vibrams-the only downside is the sheer volume of people that ask about them when I wear them out. And all the “frog people” comments I get–I guess they look like tree frog feet?!

  • Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) January 2, 2011, 3:29 pm

    I’m a major heel striker too. It can be so hard on my feet. Something I definitely plan on working on this year.

  • Marci January 2, 2011, 3:32 pm

    I think it’s great you’re trying Vibrams out. I think they are a really great concept and I always want to talk to people who I see running in them! A lot of people at my Crossfit gym also wear them for weightlifting because it keeps your heels down when tennis shoes push them up.
    But I have a question–what is the purpose of it? I get the heel strike thing, correcting your form, but if it’s so hard on your feet and legs and you go back to tennis shoes for long runs, what does it do? Strengthen muscles?

  • Kara January 2, 2011, 3:35 pm

    I only know 2 people who have tried running in Vibrams and they both got stress fractures. I’d rather take my chances with padded running shoes!

    Do you feel like a teenage mutant ninja turtle when you wear them? That song always pops in my head when I see them, and it doesn’t even make sense since I think the turtles had only 3 toes or something.

  • Ashley January 2, 2011, 3:35 pm

    I am one that would also suggest starting even slower + working up the mileage a bit more gradually. 🙂 There are some people I know that have had an easy time transitioning, but they were already “toe runners” and spent a lot of time in their bare feet beforehand. It takes a really long time to build up the muscles in your feet + ankles and during the build-up time, you’ll be more prone to stress fractures on the tops of your feet. Speaking from experience 🙂 I’m always up for chatting about this past year wearing 5 fingers! Good luck!

  • Janna January 2, 2011, 3:39 pm

    I am totally intrigued by barefoot running.

    Whenever I go somewhere warm I run up and down the beach without any shoes on.

    I guess running on concrete is pretty different though. I feel like not only do you have to have strong leg muscles, but the muscles in your feet have to be strong too.

    I would love to try Vibrams out just to see how they feel.

  • allie January 2, 2011, 3:40 pm

    I LOVE my vibrams. I’ve been running in them for about a year and I run so much better. Also, when I’m off road, I feel less likely to roll my ankle.

  • Kris January 2, 2011, 3:53 pm

    I read an article recently where a foot specialist said how tough barefoot running is on the front of the foot (he said it basically jams the toe joints). He disputed that man was made to run barefoot since we usually run on paved surfaces, not bare ground. It doesn’t interest me — I really need the cushioning of running shoes. Take it slow, you don’t want to set yourself up for injury! Happy New Year!

    • Baking 'n' Books January 2, 2011, 3:57 pm

      Exactly. You really have to do what is right for you.

      There’s the same “controversy” with Orthotics. Some people say they screw up your gait and cause you to not use the proper muscles – or to “train” the proper to correct your gain naturally.

      But then others say that they help you to adjust and not everyone can naturally balance out the proper muscles OR simply may not have the proper biomechanics (i.e hip/pelvic alignment) etc. – or that may take years to undo from years of “doing”.

      Meh, there’s always 2 sides isn’t there!

  • Jen January 2, 2011, 3:57 pm

    It must be a cleaning kind of day…I just spent an hour scrubbing & swearing at my oven in an attempt to clean it after spraying all natural cleaner in it last night. I love enviro-friendly cleaning products, but I’m now convinced there’s a time and a place for them – and that time/place is not inside a dirty oven that’s got a year’s worth of baked on ick inside. I’m breaking out the supposedly fume-free Easy Off; at least I know my second stab at the oven should be more productive and less time consuming with this stuff. Enjoy your clean house!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 2, 2011, 4:00 pm

    ill stop shouting now 🙂

    I have figured out thru the shoe wear-patterns that i too am a major heel striker. It only took me 3 decades to figure this out like 6 mos ago. So just looking at your pics, reading these words, i will gladly take my marshmallow nike airs and let you kids all play around with the vibrams. 🙂

  • Maddie (Healthy Maddie) January 2, 2011, 4:00 pm

    I was a heel striker too and after running in Vibrams my whole stride changed and I started running on my fore feet. Vibram running has actually increased my speed even though I have a shorter stride. I would be careful with your mileage though. It took many half mile runs in my Vibrams before I was even ready to do a mile. You don’t want to do too much too soon or get injured. Good luck!

  • Jazz January 2, 2011, 4:01 pm

    Love barefoot! But I live in -20 and am going to have to start over again in the spring!

    • Jazz January 2, 2011, 7:09 pm

      Also, I did 1 mile the first time too and couldn’t walk down stairs the next day, but after that I could do 5k no problem..

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks January 2, 2011, 4:01 pm

    I think barefoot running sounds interesting…and I might be interested in trying it in the future. However, I’m not even very good at running with “marshmallows” attached to my feet yet, so I’m not sure I feel ready to dive in. 😉

  • Wendy January 2, 2011, 4:04 pm

    I’ve been intrigued by barefoot running and Vibrams since I read “Born to Run” a few months ago. I’ll be interested to read about your experiences!

  • Joanna @ Drizzle of Sunshine January 2, 2011, 4:07 pm

    I’ve seen more and more of these shoes lately and my co-worker’s husband uses them. He loves them and says it really helps with shin splints!

  • Leah @ Why Deprive? January 2, 2011, 4:19 pm

    Im so interested in barefoot running, but Im scared of it at the same time. I’ve had a ton of different problems with my feet, calves, knees, hips and I always wonder if barefoot running would help. I would love to try it one day.

  • Zoe January 2, 2011, 4:20 pm

    Please update on your soreness level. I tried barefoot running on a treadmill (with socks!) for half a mile and my calves and butt were really tired. I really don’t understand how people run a marathon in them.

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss January 2, 2011, 4:24 pm

    I’m a big time heel-striker as well. It feels so natural though, you know? Maybe I should look into barefoot running to fix that, though.

  • Emilie January 2, 2011, 4:26 pm

    Living in NYC I see people in Vibrams all the time–running, on the subway, or just out and about in town. They definitely have me intrigued, and if all I got from it was better running form, I’d be satisfied. Barefoot running is definitely an interesting concept, and I’m really interested in hearing more about your experience with the Vibrams!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit January 2, 2011, 4:27 pm

    I want a pair!

  • Allison @ PickyEatingRD January 2, 2011, 4:29 pm

    Have you ever tried running in Newtons? They promote fore-foot running! Might be a good in between shoe for you!

  • Marie-Journey to Body Zen January 2, 2011, 4:39 pm

    I’ve been wondering if I should try the Vibrams. I did a little bit of research, but there are many differing opinions that it is hard to tell if they are harmful or helpful. My concern would be for my knees, as my kneecap tends to slide out of place when running due to torn cartilage and weak hips. I wonder if or how they would impact this? Thanks for keeping us updated on your progress with the Vibrams. It will be interesting to read your thoughts. Nice tacos! 🙂

  • Me-Linh @ Sweet and Sweat January 2, 2011, 5:01 pm

    OMG just tried the cornbread quiche and my stomach is so happy! I think next time I won’t put broccoli in (tooo heallthyy) and just dump a bunch of cheese in. But anyway, it was delicious!!
    And I’ve always wanted to try Vibrams as well. But they’re so friggen pricey. And Christmas is over. Booo

    • Caitlin January 2, 2011, 5:33 pm

      SO glad you liked it!

  • Samantha January 2, 2011, 5:06 pm

    I would love to try the vibrams but I don’t have high hopes, I’m a hard heel striker, pronate severely and unevenly between sides, but might try it for short bits. Even just using a light neutral shoe…the saucony kinvara, is a challenge!

    I have a friend who is middle aged and just started running a few years ago. She made the transition from running a little here and there to doing an olypmic tri back in the summer…she did the entire run and bike in her vibrams and said it felt great! She’s only running in shoes now because they live in DC and its too cold for her to run in her V’s.

  • Ellen@FirednFabulous January 2, 2011, 5:21 pm

    Ohh that does look rough on your heel! I have flat really flat feet…I don’t know if I could do Vibrams. They do look fun though…maybe!

  • Heather January 2, 2011, 5:30 pm

    I am very intrigues by this, but also a little scared I guess! I would love to try it out sometime when I have themoney to blow on more shoes, ha!

  • Mary Allison January 2, 2011, 5:31 pm

    Ummm I read the whole post. Love the post. But what I really love…the black nail polish. Rock it lady.

    • Caitlin January 2, 2011, 5:33 pm

      Hehe thanks. I love black nail polish. So emo.

  • Alysa (Inspired RD) January 2, 2011, 5:38 pm

    I will be interested to hear how you feel after the run today. Do you have a high arch at all? I do which concerns me with the vibrams.

    • Caitlin January 2, 2011, 5:40 pm

      i have a medium arch!

  • salah@myhealthiestlifestyle January 2, 2011, 5:53 pm

    I am a big heel runner too! I’ve been wanting some vibrams for a while now! Hopefully I can get some soon!

  • Carolyn @ one lazy bride January 2, 2011, 5:58 pm

    I’m not really a runner as my knee tends to go haywire, which I think might be a gait issue (I haven’t really looked into it – just switched to biking which felt better). Perhaps barefoot running would help, but that’s a bit of an investment when I don’t run much as it is.

    I’ll be interested to see how this goes though, as I’m admittedly a bit skeptical! I think our bodies were meant to run barefoot – but likely fast, for short distances rather than long distance. But I’m no scientist!

  • Nicole @ yuppie yogini January 2, 2011, 6:01 pm

    My proper foot placement may have had something to do with the fact that I hadn’t just run 13 miles. 😉

  • Kaitlin January 2, 2011, 6:04 pm

    I’m really interested in barefoot running but I’m wary to make the investment. I’ll be anticipating your reviews!

    Sidenote: love the polish on your nails in the first photo!

  • carlee January 2, 2011, 6:09 pm

    Sounds like it would hurt!
    oh, and thanks for the Vegetarian advive:)

  • Heather @ Alis Grave Nil January 2, 2011, 6:16 pm

    I don’t think I could EVER run in those. But they look so comfy!

  • Kristen January 2, 2011, 6:24 pm

    I just got Vibrams for Christmas too! I have done a few runs barefoot before getting the Vibrams – just my cool downs for the most part – but I can’t wait to use them to run! I’m going to start even a little more slowly than you, since I don’t plan on being a “full-time” barefoot runner. I am really only using it to strengthen my feet!

  • Lindsey January 2, 2011, 6:26 pm

    Hi Caitlin,
    I’m sure you have been given lots of advice already above (I didn’t read through all the comments), but definitely take it slowly with the Vibrams! I have had mine for about a year now and have been running in them on and off. I started with .5 miles. I wasn’t very sore after that distance so I jumped up to 1.5 miles. That was a big mistake because my calf muscles were sooo sore for a week!
    I love them now. I walk and hike in them too. Good luck with yours! I’m looking forward to reading about how you like them.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing January 2, 2011, 6:39 pm

    I hope this isn’t a repeat question but what ARE the benefits of barefoot running?

  • ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska January 2, 2011, 6:40 pm

    I am totally wanting to try out barefoot running. I’m hoping to give it a shot this summer. I can’t wait!

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels January 2, 2011, 6:53 pm

    I have extremely bad joints, like so bad I can only run a mile or two at most . . . I keep getting these ideas to get vibrams to see if my body would respond well, but I’m still quite iffy on it

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin January 2, 2011, 6:59 pm

    I’m glad your first run in your Vibrams went well! Barefoot running sounds really neat, but I’m not sure it’s something I really want to try. I’m pretty comfortable just sticking to running in my shoes.:D

  • Andrea January 2, 2011, 7:06 pm

    Your stride and my stride are twinsies! Any tips for working on that? Maybe barefoot running will help your form overall. I’m interested to see how this goes for you. I’d definitely give the barefoot thing a try.

  • Amy at TheSceneFromMe January 2, 2011, 7:19 pm

    I have never tried Vibrams on before, not sure I could stand anything between my toes 🙂
    Those cherries look scrumptious and remind me of the ones we got in Napa Valley last year!

  • Gill January 2, 2011, 7:22 pm

    Hi Caitlin!
    One of my friends has those and she wears them for bodypump classes too, and swears by them for balance and posture improvement.
    How bad was your calf pain afterwards, though?

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair January 2, 2011, 7:41 pm

    I REALLY want a pair of Vibrams but the closest city to me that carries them is a 4-hour drive away. I’ve been told that you should try them on before ordering online so I guess I’m gonna have to wait until I’m somewhere that carries them! Definitely planning on getting a pair this spring/summer though!

  • Madeline - Greens and Jeans January 2, 2011, 7:42 pm

    Not gonna lie, Vibrams totally skeeve me out. I understand all of the benefits but I don’t think I could ever get past the whole “toe” thing. I’ll be curious to see how you like them though!

  • Elizabeth @ The Sweet Life January 2, 2011, 8:01 pm

    Wow! Good for you for giving them a try. I think they look so creepy but I know people are huge fans of them. I see people wearing them on the subway and am so worried they’ll step on something sharp. But good for you!

  • Cyndi Eggers January 2, 2011, 8:11 pm

    There were a lot of posts, so forgive me if I’m being repetitive. From the research I’ve done, flat-footed and over-pronators should not attempt “barefoot/Vibram” running. We need the support of specialty shoes and orthotics.
    I’ve also been researching Chi Running which is extremely beneficial in relieving stress from your joints in running (and walking) but teaching you to strike the forefoot at a proper angle. Check out info from Danny Dreyer online. Again, Chi Running should also be eased into as it forces you to realign and use different muscles.
    Good luck to everyone that can use Vibrams and the like – I’m forever thankful to my stability and motion control shoes – without them I wouldn’t be able to run 1 block without seriously injuring myself!

  • Jessica @ Jessica Balances January 2, 2011, 8:11 pm

    I love that first photo of you and your awesome black nail polish! 🙂 I find barefoot running interesting, but I’m not sure how it would work for me since I have almost NO arch. I wear orthodics in my running shoes – without them, I get knee and foot pain.

    • elaine! January 3, 2011, 2:41 am

      Jessica, my podiatrist told me in college that I had flat feet and I got major knee pain without wearing orthotics. The more I ran the worse my knees hurt during day to day activities. Then after a few years the knee pain came back despite the orthotics. We even adjusted the orthotics to try and fix the problem again. I ended up taking a class to teach me better running form (in my case it was Chi Running, but I bet other running methods would work too). I started running sans orthotics in more minimal shoes, though it took a while to work up to Vibrams, since orthotics raise your heels even more than normal shoes, which tightens your achilles. After nine months I ran my first half marathon, and without orthotics! Not gonna lie, my legs and knees hurt a lot after running 13 miles, partially because I had only trained well enough for about an eight miler. But the amazing thing is that my knees were fine the next day. My muscles were stiff, but everythng else was totally fine! A year ago, I woukd have had inflamed and painful knees for weeks afterwards. Anyway, long story short, it takes a long time, but it’s worth a try. And you may or may not get all the way to barefoot, but it’s still worth it to me just to get rid of those darn orthotics.

  • Camille January 2, 2011, 8:12 pm

    I’m not a heel striker, but I definitely have a problem with pronation! I still want to try Vibrams though 🙂

  • Maryann January 2, 2011, 8:16 pm

    Ive been getting injured easily lately so barefoot running may not be for me…maybe one day though!

  • Lew (ashandlewplus2.com) January 2, 2011, 8:20 pm

    I am glad that you started running in Vibrams. I love mine even though I have not fully integrated them into my running, one of my goals is to begin tomorrow. Thank you for your post. I hope you are having a wonderful new year..

  • Britt @ Runnerbelle January 2, 2011, 8:26 pm

    Some folks around here are really into them. I just don’t get how their feet don’t freeze?! I’m in NH, its cold and snowy during the winter when I’m doing most of my marathon training. I also have plantars fasciitis. I’ve been working on stretching but also trying to work on Good Form Running technique. I went to a seminar on it and it makes total sense. The barefoot running can help you with your form though. With the technique you run “like” you are barefoot… but still get the comfort and support of your shoes.

  • Kelly January 2, 2011, 8:53 pm

    I’m a heel striker too, which explains why I ended up with shin splints this time last year. I try to self-correct when I notice it, but I’m sure I need to work on it some more.

  • Ella January 2, 2011, 8:56 pm

    I want to try barefoot running so badly! But I have really nasty bunions (I’m 21 with the feet of a 75 year old, apparently) and I fractured a bunion falling last year, so I don’t know how much my feet can handle. Good luck with everything!

  • BroccoliHut January 2, 2011, 9:06 pm

    Love that first pic in your Vibrams–very cool perspective!

  • Stacie January 2, 2011, 11:27 pm

    Not gonna lie, barefoot running kind of terrifies me. I am a major heel striker like you. I used to get shin splints allll the time. Maybe one day I could work my way up to it, but only if they made Vibrams in pink 😉

  • Lauren @ Lauren Runs January 2, 2011, 11:55 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try more minimal shoes as well. I’m not sure about whether I’d want to get into the Vibrams, or perhaps just get a pair of more minimalist running shoes (e.g. Brooks Green Silence) to ease into the concept. Regardless, I’m excited to follow your journey in these!

  • Danielle January 3, 2011, 12:34 am

    I got a pair of Vibrams in September, and wound up not easing into them nearly as much as I should have, and screwed up my ankles/foot for a solid 2 months. So I think you’re running plan is safe and smart! My fiancé, on the other hand, got a pair at the same time, and began running in them exclusively within a few weeks, and will actually be running a half marathon next weekend in them! He had super strong legs to begin with, though, which I’m sure really helped, and mine have always been rather weak. I’m looking forward to easing back into them in the next few months, though, now that I’m all healed up. I’m hoping maybe I can do it right this time!

  • elaine! January 3, 2011, 2:22 am

    Yay!!! Ok, on your next VFF run, you totally have to run through a grassy field and run through some mud. It is so much fun! I got VFFs last February after reading Born To Run and taking a Chi Running workshop. I only ran in them a few times because I quickly discovered that you can’t go from stability shoes with orthotics to minimal shoes over the course of a week, or even a few months, without issues. For me, those issue were more blisters than tight calves, though my calves hurt too. I’ve been running in shoes that are a lot closer to minimal, but which still have a slight heel raise, since then, and have beem really working on my form in conjunction with getting my legs used to the lower heel. I just ran almost three miles in my VFFs last week and had barely any muscle stiffness and only one tiny blister. I’m going to start wearing the VFFs on one easy run each week and see how that goes. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wearing shoes — provided that they aren’t overkill — but doing activities barefoot or in minimal footwear has got to be a great way to strengthen and condition your whole lower body.

    • RJ January 3, 2011, 6:07 am

      My husband and both read Born to Run, got VFF’s and hit up a Chi Running workshop! So neither of us were “runners” before. The only time I ran consistently for a period of time I ended up with severe achilles tendonitis and orthotics. Not cool. I cannot recommend a running workshop enough. We travelled to London (from Edinburgh) to take the workshop with Danny Dryer who was just fantastic. I spent most of the summer cycling after that (oops) but my husband can now run 10k comfortably. We also now wear Vivo Barefoot shoes 75% of the time and other shoes now feel awful!

  • Lindsay January 3, 2011, 7:41 am

    I have owned Vibrams for almost two months now, and I LOVE THEM. As others have recommended, ease into them slowly and listen to your feet. If you feel any kind of chafing, take them off before a blister develops.

    I purchased mine because I over-pronate when I run, and I got sick of shelling out $100+ for Mizuno Alchemy sneakers every four months. Rather than continue to cover up the problem, I wanted to address the real issue. I read that barefoot running can help correct your stride, and I am so glad that I gave it a try. After two short months, my feet and ankles are already significantly stronger.

    You will likely notice soreness in your calf muscles as you make the transition from a heel strike to fore- or mid-foot strike. Make friends with a foam roller 🙂 I also felt sore in my inner thighs during my first few runs.

    I use them for everything today- kickboxing, hiking, sprinting, short runs (I’m still slowly increasing- currently at 2 miles), and weight-lifting. Keep up the hard work- they’re WELL worth it!

  • Bobbie January 3, 2011, 9:17 am

    I’m interested in seeing how you make out with these. I ran a 10k in November and there was a man that ran it barefoot…no vibrams..barefoot! OUch! The first half of the run is over a bridge and then back over in the other direction..I would be scared to death to step on something that would pierce my foot. I’m glad you are trying it out so that your readers can get some perspective on whether or not it’s right for us. 🙂

  • Rob Runs (Slowly) January 3, 2011, 9:51 am

    I haven’t, yet. I’d like to but I can’t stand things between my toes so I’m looking for barefoot shoes without toe separation (might get some minimal sneakers first). My husband ran in Vibrams for a while before he suffered a metatarsal stress fracture, too much barefoot running too soon! He’s easing back into them more slowly this time around now that he’s all healed.

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) January 3, 2011, 12:53 pm

    I don’t run, but my husband got some barefoot running shoes for Christmas this year. I don’t think he has used them yet, but I am now curious as to what he thinks of them.

  • AnnMarie January 3, 2011, 1:08 pm

    So after you switched back to your shoes, did you stick with the non-heel-striking gait? or did you fall back into the standard heel-strike? Just curious. It’s good that the vibrams will get you changing up the gait…

    • Caitlin January 3, 2011, 1:10 pm

      I slipped back a few times but I was MUCH better about actually correcting myself.

  • Susan - Nurse on the Run January 3, 2011, 1:56 pm

    While I have never tried barefoot running, I think that’s it’s a bit of a silly craze. So many people read Born to Run and then take it as the ONLY truth, which clearly is not the case…there’s a lot of evidence for wearing shoes, or else everyone would be walking around barefoot. Many people get injured wearing Vibrams…whether it’s from the VFF themselves or jumping into it too quickly, I can’t be sure. Many people argue that we are “born to run,” but if you look around us…clearly we aren’t! We’re a sedentary society and we aren’t anything like the Tarahumara who run for life! While I think barefoot running is probably right for some people, it’s definitely not right for everyone, and I think the fault in Born to Run is that many people think barefoot a fix-all for everything…clearly it is not since no one thing is ever right for everyone. I also have to look to the elites in times like this…elite runners were clearly made to run more than the rest of the crowd, and I’ve never seen any of them run in VFFs…maybe something like the Nike Free, which is a minimalist shoes, but never the VFFs. It also seems odd to me that most people can’t wear their VFFs for more than 5-8 miles…if they’re a fix all then we should be able to wear them forever, but perhaps people just haven’t built up to it yet.

    That was a lot of rambling, but the summary is that I’m sure barefoot running is good for some people, but definitely not everyone. I’ve been running in my running shoes for 14 years with only a little glitch that was solved by switching shoes…so I’ll stick with what works for me.

  • LadyLara January 3, 2011, 5:43 pm

    Please keep us updated on your Vibram runs!

  • Ali January 4, 2011, 8:43 pm

    When I ran my first marathon, I saw guy wearing Vibrams and had run in them the entire marathon! I was amazed and kept pointing him out to my sister. He looked like he was hurting at the end though (but then again, who isn’t).

  • Esther January 5, 2011, 3:01 pm

    Ok so maaaybe someone has already mentioned this, but there are too many comments for me to tell! I scanned them and didn’t see anyone say it…

    One thing that is very important in beginning to barefoot run, aside from easing into it, is to actually BAREFOOT run. No vibrams, no *nothing*. It is really really important in helping your feet learn the ground, learn to grip correctly, learn to use the muscles correctly, toughen up the bottoms of your feet, etc. It is also critical in letting your body have the feedback it needs on how much is too much!

    I’m so excited that you’re trying barefooting, as I’ve started becoming a huge proponent of it myself, but try giving real barefoot a shot so that you really do it correctly! : )

    The other thing to note for your readers is that barefooting is about SO much more than just not heel striking. Yes, that’s a major part of it, but you can technically do that in running shoes. Barefooting on the other hand forces you to actually use all the muscles in your feet and build them up, which in turn helps to correct all those knee, back, etc problems that runners often have.

    Have you read Born to Run? A great inspirational book for the barefoot runner in you…. 🙂

    • Caitlin January 5, 2011, 3:18 pm

      I just ordered it off Amazon!

    • D Patterson January 14, 2011, 4:47 pm

      Running barefoot seems like a good idea, running in minimal shoes also seems like a good idea. Think of this however. 85% of the population will develop a foot problem requiring self or 3rd party treatment. The shoes we have been wearing for decades may be the cause of the problem. It may however have taken decades for the symptoms to show up ( a “straw that the camels back” scenario) it may be very naive to think that problems that were decades in the making can be resolved so quickly. Muscles control the biomechanics of the foot and gait, muscles stride, management and contribute energy to the system. The key muscles in gait require a proprioceptive stimuli for the environment and yet footwear insulates are shoes from the environment, particularly the sole of our foot. Minimal shoes are a good idea in that they do not possess the bracing structures that encourage our feet to be weaker and prone to injury – however even the minimal shoes insulate the sole of foot from the support surface (terrain), they are better than traditional shoes, but they still insulate. Before even attempting prolonged barefoot activities or simulated barefoot activities you need to work those muscles and specifically target those muscles before they get over stress in the transition to barefoot. So to reduce/or prevent those injuries occurring the transition phase focus on foot strengthening exercises and/or get some biofeedback based insoles (there are some available in the US market) to put into those minimal shoes. Something to think about 

  • meaghan March 25, 2011, 11:42 pm

    i always run barefoot! It’s great. Well, so far i have only been running on the treadmill with socks on.

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  • Steph June 25, 2011, 10:52 pm

    My podiatrist advised me that my feet are definitely NOT suited to minimalist shoes/barefoot running. He also ran me through the scientific research going on surrounding the barefoot movement. He took a great deal of time and effort to find me a shoe that I absolutely adore running in – and yep, it’s got a whole lot of support. But I screwed my ankles up with years of netball and tennis so NEED it.

    I would suggest anyone who is thinking about running (of any kind!) invest in a trip to a podiatrist who will analyse your feet, biomechanics and gait to fit you with a shoe that suits YOU and your body’s needs. 😀

  • Elyse August 5, 2011, 7:18 pm

    Would love to read an update on your VFF use! 🙂

  • Blair November 21, 2011, 12:41 pm

    I got a pair of Vibrams during the summer because I wanted to try once again to run. My previous running experiences ended with low back pain. When I started with these shoes I started slowly and have had no back pain. Barefoot running makes sense to me.

  • Sukhneet Singh December 17, 2011, 5:00 pm

    I love reading your posts. Thank you.

    I know you wrote this post a while ago, but here’s an article that helped me with how to run barefoot.

    Hope it helps.


  • zaini June 21, 2012, 4:56 pm

    yeah, i experience barefoot running . when i start running for losing weight , i start with bare foot running. it is difficult to run barefoot and i feel pain in my feet at first day but after two days i enjoy running barefoot in garden.

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