Take Off Your Shoes and Walk!

Such was the title of the 1961 book by podiatrist Dr. Simon Wikler. The book is now out-of-print, but the kind folks at unshod.org have created a fair-use extract of the book and posted it on their website. You can browse through their selections from Wikler’s book by clicking *here*.

In case you’re not convinced or are simply seeking more recent research to satiate your curiosity, check out the 2001 research paper “Running Barefoot” by Australian physiotherapist Michael Rutherford.  Not only does the anecdotal evidence from regular “barefooters” suggest that going barefoot is better, Rutherford says lab studies show “the energy cost of running is reduced by about 4% when the feet are not shod” — something to consider for those who are looking to extract every last ounce of performance from their running.

Let’s face it:  the transition to fully barefoot running isn’t going to happen overnight, but it’s hard to deny that going barefoot is healthy for you and the transition won’t just happen on its own.  Make a commitment to yourself to spend more time barefoot.  Ease into it slowly, building your barefoot time gradually, day by day, until your feet eventually toughen and strengthen to the levels nature intended.  (Hey, nobody’s saying you need to join the Society for Barefoot Living or anything, but it is nice to know they’re out there if you need them!)  Meanwhile, to help you along that rocky path, maybe it’s time to consider a pair of those Vibram FiveFingers you’ve heard so much about.


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