Barefoot Guide: Transitioning to Barefoot Running

Now that you’re thinking of trying this barefoot running idea, you have to know how to transition into barefoot running.

You can’t just ditch your shoes and go run a marathon! There’s a huge difference between Kenyans (who typically run barefoot since they first learn to walk) and most Americans who have spent the past 5-50 years of their lives stuffing their feet into constricting footwear.

If you’ve been living and running in shoes, then it’s going to take a while for your feet to strengthen and adjust to the demands of running barefoot.

Rule #1: Start slow.

Start slow. Don’t try to run 10 miles barefoot your first day.

When you start, you’ll probably just walk barefoot, from 1/4 mile to one mile each day, depending on how in shape you are. Then gradually increase your distance each week. If things go well with the walking, progress to jogging and running.

Rule #2: Soft surfaces.

Ideally, you have access to some grassy fields, because you want to start out on soft surfaces. I highly suggest starting in the grass, because it is soft and unlikely to burn your feet. Soccer and football fields are the best – you can just jog laps around the perimeter.

Rule #3: Make gradual progress.

Don’t make any drastic jumps! Even if you feel great doing a one mile barefoot run, you will progress to doing 1.5 or 2 miles, not 5!

Bonus tip:

Make sure to massage your feet if they get sore. My favorite way to do this is to roll a tennis or lacrosse ball underneath my feet, one at a time.


Now that you’re ready to get started, let’s look at your barefoot-style shoe options >>

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