I’ve written previously about training barefoot and the possible benefits. It seems like the concept is becoming more popular lately. There are more books being published and the concept is getting more coverage in the mainstream media. Recently an article on barefoot training appeared in the Huffington Post. With all of the recent interest, I thought it might be a good idea to mention a few tips before throwing away all of your training shoes.
Tips for Barefoot Training
- Ease into it – Most of us haven’t spent lots of time barefoot since we were kids. Keep this in mind when you start training barefoot. Our feet have become used to the support and protection of shoes. Since your feet will probably have to go through an adaptation process, don’t try to do everything barefoot right off the bat. It might be a good idea to start going barefoot more around the house,if you don’t already. Then start by doing your warm-up without shoes. If you are doing a proper dynamic warm-up, it should take you 10-15 minutes to complete. This should give your feet a chance to begin to get used to going without shoes. After this, gradually add in more barefoot time.
- Choose soft surfaces – Ok, maybe this one is common sense but I still thought that it was worth mentioning. Soft surfaces give you cushioning when your feet land on the ground. They also help to limit the amount of surface damage (small cuts, scrapes, etc) to your feet. While this is a good idea in general, it is especially important when first starting out your barefoot adventures.
- Be selective in your activities – Continuing along with the general idea of safety, you should probably choose activities that are fairly safe for your feet, especially at first. This probably isn’t the time to work in some depth jumps, for example. Stick with easier activities and remember that there are still some things that it might be a good idea to wear shoes while doing (e.g., weightlifting).
I’ve been wondering what the new training “fad” will be for 2012. Maybe barefoot training will be it. Ok, maybe not if Nike has anything to say about it haha. Regardless, give barefoot training a try. It will help your feet to gain strength and movement that they haven’t had since you were a kid.