The Barefoot Trend Is Still Running Strong

Download Audio
Christopher McDougall leads a barefoot running clinic on Boston Common in April of 2010.  (Tyler Murray/WBUR)
Christopher McDougall leads a barefoot running clinic on Boston Common in April of 2010. (Tyler Murray/WBUR)

When our feature on barefoot running first aired in May of 2010, the story got more internet hits than any feature we had ever produced.  The highly embarrassing video of me at Dan Lieberman's barefoot running lab at Harvard University got thousands of views on YouTube.

It's not just that barefoot runners are passionate.  They are.  But, as more and more runners search for a way to stay healthy, minimalist running offers hope.

It's been more than a year since I stripped off my shoes and took a barefoot running clinic from Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run.  One cold and painful day on the Common was enough to convince me that shoes are my friend.  Since then, I have not gone running without the benefit of footwear.

A friend asked me the other day if I'm still a barefoot runner, and the answer to that question is yes.  After a little trial and error, I found a pair of minimalist running shoes that work for me.  Closely following the advice of Dan Lieberman, I took up a minimalist running program.

Over months, not days, I changed how I run.  For the longest time, I kept two pairs of running shoes at the ready.  For the first mile of every workout, I'd use my new shoes and new technique.  Then, to avoid the injuries many new minimalist style runners suffer, I'd lace back up my "old" running shoes (which really do start to feel like high heels) and finish out my workout.

Now, all my runs are minimalist runs.  Not only have I shed my old, clunky running shoes, I've lost more than a few pounds.  Last Sunday, I finished my first 8 mile run since suffering a foot injury 2 1/2 years ago.  In October, I'll be running a half marathon.

Minimalist running isn't for everyone, but it works for me.  How about you?

This segment aired on August 27, 2011.

Karen Given Executive Producer/Interim Host, Only A Game
Karen is the executive producer for WBUR's Only A Game.



More from Only A Game

Listen Live