Is bare best?

Posted in The Sweat by Matt Ward on Tue 25 Aug '09

It’s no secret that many of the African nations have a history of barefoot running, from as far back as the 60’s with Abebe Bekele, through to the infamous Zola Budd (is this really 25 years ago!?), through to many top youngsters of today (until they are told put on the sponsors’ kicks!).

Interestingly many shoe companies allude to the fact that barefoot is best, Nike, Newton and Inov-8 amongst the foremost in advocating that the foot is “a masterpiece of mechanical and structural design”, to quote Inov-8, and needs to be enhanced, not hindered – makes perfect sense.

Well now you can make your own mind up as this really interesting podcast over at the Talk Shoe site advocates that bare is best. (Big thanks to Guy Russell at Inov-8 for pointing us to this one).


There is also a mountain of analysis and resource in the net regarding to pros and cons. One of the the most objective we found was this video analysis, fascinating stuff…

Reactions so far
  1. Gwilym Williams Aug 27, 12:13 AM

    I recall last year seeing Austrian ultra-runner Leopold Aigner run a 5km uphill road race barefoot as part of his training. In this video-link however he is wearing shoes on his feet and also a camera on his head for a TV film about the Hinteralm ‘Brutal’ Race run on 16.8.2009 and subsequently televised on p3tv.
    Since the race involves a climb up aluminium ladders alongside a waterfall and other hazards such as dense undergrowth, sharp rocks, tree roots, blazing sun, and even a few cowpats Aigner was forced to wear suitable shoes, as he tells the reporter (in German) at the end of the short video which I hope is still to be seen at
    For the record Aigner (6M50) finished 13 mins behind the winner and as for myself (3M60) I was 5 mins behind Aigner. Phew …it was HOT!

  2. Matt Aug 28, 05:23 AM

    Thanks for the link Gwilym, looks like a great race. I’d like to think that a barefoot uphill only run is possible, esp on grass?

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