August 17th, 2012

{Review} Experimenting with Barefoot Running

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Groovy Green Livin triathlon green grass

Running over the finish line in my annual triathlon

Over the years I’ve had plenty of foot injuries. Plantar fasciitis has tormented me through many years of running and a heel spur made walking and running pretty uncomfortable. Thankfully my injuries haven’t been acting up lately I think in part because I religiously replace my running shoes after 6 months and use prescription orthodics in all of my running and exercise shoes.

My fascination with barefoot running

I’ve always been facinated by barefoot running. I’ve wondered whether running without all that man-made support in traditional running shoes would cure my foot ailments.  When Planet Shoes, a sponsor of the Go Green Get Fit Challenge, offered to send me a pair of shoes to test out I jumped at the opportunity to give barefoot shoes a try.

Groovy Green Livin Planetshoes logoI’ve worked with Planet Shoes in the past and absolutely love this company’s mission.  From their eco-friendly selection of shoes and carbon free shipping option to  their partnerships with charitable organizations, this company rocks the true meaning of green.

I chose the Merrell Dash Glove barefoot running shoe. Have you seen the Vibram® Five Fingers shoes with 5 toes? These shoes have a Vibram® Sole. I like the look of the Merrell shoes much better than the Vibram® Five Fingers.

Groovy Green Livin Barefoot running shoes

Starting off slowly

Everything that I’ve read about barefoot running suggests starting off slowly so your feet have a chance to become accustomed to the barefoot experience. I started off wearing them around the house. They are extremely light and comfortable. The shoes feel very different from my running shoes-there’s very little built in support and I wasn’t using my orthodics.

Next I ventured out on a walk with my new shoes. I have to admit that I missed the extra inch in height my running shoes give me. Barefoot shoes are flat, with no heel whatsoever. The walk went well. My feet and knees felt completely normal.

The gym was next on my list. I went wearing my new barefoot shoes, but not to my usual high impact class. I tested them out in a body conditioning class where there really wasn’t much jumping or running. One person commented that they looked like water shoes, which I hadn’t thought about but they really do.

Running barefoot up next

My next step will be taking these purple and pink pretty shoes out for a run. The Merrell site suggests:

Choose familiar terrain at first. Different types of terrain can affect your training. Steep ups and downs and areas filled with obstacles, like roots or rocks, should be avoided until you’ve built up greater endurance and strength.

After one week in these shoes I’m not completely sold on barefoot running. I’m planning to continue easing into them slowly. My traditional running shoes are still in the rotation and I don’t see them going away anytime soon. The good news: I haven’t had any knee pain or foot pain during my transition to these shoes. From all I’ve read it sounds like barefoot running is best on off-road trails. I’m a bit leery about their performance on asphalt, which is where most of my runs take place.

Have you tried barefoot running? Any words of wisdom for us beginners?


Disclosure: I was provided with a pair of shoes, courtesy of, a sponsor of the Go Green Get Fit Challenge, from The EcoMom Alliance Sustain YourSelf series. There are a few affiliate links in this post-if you purchase through these links it will place a few pennies in my pocket and help support this blog. Thanks!

23 Responses to “{Review} Experimenting with Barefoot Running”

  1. I’m not a runner, but maybe these will work for walking too although I find I have a problem when there is too little padding. Love the color though.

  2. No words of wisdom here, not a runner. I saw a pair of the Merrell Barefoot shoes recently and I liked how they looked. I was also wondering about trying them for walking.

  3. I love that picture of you running! You look so happy. I think I would be crying! 🙂 🙂

  4. I’ve been running in Vibrams for a couple of years. I love them, but you DO have to break them in slowly and build your muscles and joints up b/c they have been protected by cushiony running shoes for so long. I alternate now between my Vibrams and Nike Frees. Those shoes are cute!! Much cuter than Vibrams. 🙂

  5. I’m new to these shoes as well and the first couple of wears felt alarmingly different. But now I LOVE them and dont have the foot pain issues that I was having with regular running sneakers!

  6. Hi Lynn, I’ve been walking in them to start off and the are comfortable. I wouldn’t say overly comfortable since there’s very little support, but they’re light. I love the colors too.

  7. Hi Marsha, I’ll keep you posted on whether or not they work. I’m still a work-in-progress. They look and feel a bit like water shoes.

  8. Hi Stephanie, I think I was just very happy to be at the finish line in the tri. Also, my friends were yelling at me and making me laugh!

  9. Hi Jo-Lynn, Thanks for the advice. Seems to be the best tip-start off slowly and work up to running. What’s the difference between your Vibrams and Nike Frees? I’ll have to look into that. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. So nice to hear that your foot issues are gone since you’ve been barefoot running Paige. That’s enough for me to continue trying.

  11. […] green bloggers. Throughout the summer I’ve shared with you my trials and tribulations with barefoot running and I am working hard to reach my fitness goals before my triathlon on September 16, […]

  12. I LOOOOOOOOVE my Merrell Dash Gloves!!!! I wear them for short runs and just around town as my “everyday” shoes. So comfy!!!

  13. I am already a huge merrell fan, so i’m excited to try these (and attempt barefoot running too. Great review 🙂

  14. Oh I like those shoes! Love the colors!

  15. Haven’t tried it yet, but seriously considering.

  16. I may try these for walking.

  17. Adorable shoes! All of you green mamas are making me want to try barefoot running. I would never have considered it before because I like feeling like I’m running on a cloud.

  18. no words of wisdom but I love the idea of them and would love to try them at some point.

  19. Love these!

  20. I’ve never tried barefoot running! I’ve always stayed away because I like the cushion feeling of normal sneakers!

  21. Hi Ashley, I also like the feel and support of traditional running sneakers. But I have a lot of foot injuries-that’s why I’m testing out barefoot running. Work in progress!

  22. […] green bloggers. Throughout the summer I’ve shared with you my trials and tribulations with barefoot running and I am working hard to reach my fitness goals before my triathlon on September 16, […]

  23. […] morning I went for my usual run. It’s finally spring-like here and it feels wonderful to be outside. My Vitamin D deficiency […]

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Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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