Barefoot Running Info-Graphic

free-your-feet | Daily Infographic

About The Author


Max is a passionate pursuer of integrative health. He has been drafted by a professional baseball team, worked in publishing scientific laboratories and spoken to groups of students on health and well-being. He is currently a biology major and philosophy minor at Denison University. Max spends his time reading, weightlifting, traveling and learning. Email Max at

10 Responses

  1. Jordan Tuwiner
    Jordan Tuwiner November 7, 2012 at 10:30 am | | Reply

    I just got Vibrams and have noticed some slight heel pain. What should I do?

    1. Josh Singer
      Josh Singer November 7, 2012 at 11:09 am | | Reply

      Yeah, Jordan, that makes perfect sense if you think about it. Your old sneakers have a ton of heel support. The best shoe to use as an example is the nike shocks. They literally have your heel off the ground and a big cushioned landing when you stride. When you throw on the vibrams and strut across the pavement like a champ, your heel starts to hit the ground like it NEVER has before. As Max said, take a break for a week. If you JUST got them, only wear them an hour the first week, two hours the next, half the day the next week. And keep building it up that way until you build a strong foot and heel structure.

      1. Jordan Tuwiner
        Jordan Tuwiner November 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm | | Reply

        Thanks for the replies. I’ll try all of that. Also, do you guys use Vibram socks? If so, do you recommend them? My feet get cold now that it’s below 40.

    2. Juliet
      Juliet November 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm | | Reply

      Also, make sure that you’re walking/running correctly in them. You may still be moving the same way you were when you had regular sneakers, meaning your heal is taking most of the force as you stride. It’s kinda weird that we have to re-teach our bodies how to move once we ditch the shoes, but just be glad that you’re not slamming that force through the rest of your leg anymore!

  2. Ryan
    Ryan November 7, 2012 at 10:45 am | | Reply

    This is a great infographic. Did you guys make it? Interesting info on the shock sent to each major joint group.


    1. Josh Singer
      Josh Singer November 7, 2012 at 11:06 am | | Reply

      We did not. There’s a lot of great infographics out there already if you search in the right places!

  3. Alex
    Alex November 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm | | Reply

    While I do agree with this, there are a couple things that I think aren’t mentioned. First off, the sandals used by the Tarahumara in the copper canyon are commonly made from tires as you mentioned. This tends to create a pretty thick sole usually. What I am trying to get to is that you don’t necessarily have to run barefoot in order to not heel strike. With training and paying attention to your stride you are able to run in a “barefoot style” which is essentially forefoot striking and not overstriding while still wearing conventional running shoes.
    Additionally, I think it is important to point out that while it is true that there is a large decrease in impact on the joints, this is almost equally compensated by impact on the muscles. There is still shock going up through your legs the same as if you were to heel strike, it is just absorbed in a different way that is arguably more efficient by the leg acting almost like a spring.
    Also there must be the consideration that running on pavement, asfalt, and the like are all very new to us. The Tarahumara and all other ancient runners were running on dirt, grass and other naturally softer terrains. This is much easier on our joints and is most likely is responsible for a significant portion of the increase in injuries. (There are many other factors though relating to, and not relating to, shoes)
    So while I do believe in the idea of barefoot running, I don’t think it is the solution to all our problems or as simple as it seems. If anyone were to be considering trying to make the transition I would highly recommend educating yourself dutifully on both sides of the argument and see if it is for you.

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