What inspires someone to take off their shoes and run barefoot?
For Khanh Nguyen it was knee pain and the hope that barefoot running would help.
Once he got started, in bare feet and in Xero Shoes, he was on fire. He’s run 1/2 marathons, mud races and, most recently, he ran UP the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas in his Xero Shoes. AND, he did it in our Bigfoot, the Xero Hero costume!
Enjoy this really fun interview with Khanh, and see what motivates him to run (hint: his brother dared him!)
Have you seen bigfoot?
If you were in Las Vegas on March 2nd at the Stratosphere hotel, you probably did.
In fact, you may have seen this mysterious barefoot beast climb the Strat!
While most people who claim to see bigfoot have grainy, fuzzy pictures or video, we have high-resolution proof of his existence. And, even more, we have proof that Bigfoot wears barefoot running shoes. Xero Shoes, to be exact! Continue Reading
Thanks to Frédérik Sisa, for asking me to answer a few questions about barefoot running on his site, The Front Page Online.
I want to highlight a point that I make in the interview, because I think it’s under-appreciated and under-discussed in the barefoot community.
If you haven’t been barefoot in a while – especially if you want to explore barefoot running – you probably are not used to using your muscles in the way that barefooting will demand.
Sometimes this means that the transition to barefoot may require strengthening. More often it means simply paying attention to your body, finding the comfortable way to move that doesn’t require extra effort (that is, I would focus on moving with less effort before trying to get stronger).
The key point I want to emphasize is use less effort.
Most people think that calf or Achilles pain is simply part of the transition process from running in shoes to running barefoot, that the cause is previous underuse, and that the solution is to get stronger.
More often than not, calf or Achilles pain is from using those muscles/tendons more than necessary, not that they’ve been weakened by wearing shoes for some amount of time.
If, when you land, you reach out with your foot (overstriding), you use your calf and Achilles to decelerate. Sure, getting freakishly strong may make that easier to do, but the correct solution is to “stop putting on the brakes” when you land by stopping your overstriding and, instead, placing your foot more “underneath your body.”
Similarly, if you remove your foot from the ground by pushing off with your toes, you’re essentially doing bodyweight calf raises every time you take a stride… and even a short run would be more than your body can handle. Again, the solution isn’t to hit the weight room and improve your calf raise strength. It’s to LIFT your foot off the ground (instead of pushing) by flexing at the hip. If you imagine what happens if a bee would sting your foot… you wouldn’t try to push away from the ground, you would reflexively (faster and easier) pull your foot from the ground with a hip flex.
In order to use less effort, you’ll probably have to start with less running. That’s fine. By the time you figure out how to make things easier, you probably will have gained any extra strength that you may need, if any.
Remember my barefoot running mantra: “How can I make this lighter, easier, and MORE FUN?”
I totally want to work for this kid!
Why would you make the transition to running barefoot? And what’s it like to do that?
How do you avoid doing “too much, too soon”?
Are Vibram Fivefingers the same as barefoot? The best minimalist choice?
We sat down (well, stood up, since I use a treadmill desk ) and talked with Alex Hill about how and why he made the move. Plus we get 2 special guests during our talk, and see some AWESOME feet when we do.
Alex made a “commercial” about Xero Shoes… here it is:
We take a break from our usual chat about barefoot running and walking for this:
I don’t think it’s much of a confession to say that I’m a total health and fitness geek.
I love keeping up on the research about strength training (most recently: power factor training), diet (my latest obsession: resistant starch), supplementation (lately: nothing), and anything else that could improve the quality of my life.
So, I was a kid in a candy store when I heard about “The Superheroes of Health”
Amber Rogers, from gokaleo.com has put together an incredible collection of 23 ebooks and audios that dig behind the mythology of health and fitness. Some of my favorite writers/researchers are in the mix. In fact, I already owned 3 of the ebooks in the Superheroes of Health collection. But that didn’t stop me from buying the whole package
I hope that you get introduced to some great people, including Armi Legge, Chris Highcock, Alan Aragon, Amber Rogers, and a LOT more. And, more, I hope yu get some great value out of the info that Amber has put together for you.
And now, back to our regular barefoot running shoes programming
There’s nothing I find funnier than when I’m running in my Xero Shoes sandals and someone asks, “Can you run in those?”
Uh… you’re WATCHING me run in them!
Well, when I tell non-runners that some people run 100k ultramarathons in huaraches, they’re incredulous.
Now I don’t need to explain anything, I can just show this video of the La Ruta Run, a 50k and 100k race that took place in Costa Rica. Arguably, La Ruta is the hardest trail ultramarathon in the world.
Check it out… but be careful. This video will make you want to run La Ruta!
Oh, and look at the 4:18 -ish mark for Jonathan Sinclair and Melissa Gosse running La Ruta in their Xero Shoes! Hear them talk about running La Ruta here.
And check out the women running in their cheap plastic sandals!
Outdoor industry analysts, SportsOneSource, reported our good news:
Xero Shoes Enters Australian Market
SportsOneSource Media Posted: 1/15/2014
Xero Shoes announced that Stepping Out Footwear of Sidney will represent Xero Shoes in Australia and New Zealand.
After the Colorado maker of barefoot-‐inspired footwear appeared on Shark Tank, and since the release of their ready-to-wear Sensori line of recreational performance sandals, Xero Shoes’ expansion has accelerated dramatically, with this being the first aggressive move into international retail.
Stepping Out Footwear’s Director, Hamish Lorimer, has 20 years of experience introducing international brands to the Australian market.
“When I saw the new Xero line of sandals at the Atlanta Shoe Market, I realized immediately that this was a perfect product for Australia. The simplicity, durability, and elegance all fit with the active lifestyle we lead down here. And with 8 months of sandal-‐wearing weather, it really is, well… a PERFECT fit,” said Lorimer.
Xero Shoes CEO, Steven Sashen, said, “We know that Australia and New Zealand have a big flip flop culture. And the comfort, performance, and style that Xero Shoes provide make our products a total ‘flip-flop killer.’”
Feel The World, Inc. of Boulder, CO, manufactures Xero Shoes, a high-‐tech upgrade on the traditional huaraches running sandal of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico.
Needless to say, we are EXTREMELY excited about having more Aussies enjoying the fun and benefits of Barefootware®.
Look, I’m the first one to say that barefoot running isn’t for every person under every circumstance. Granted, I’ll say that it’s great for almost everyone, almost all of the time.
But every now and then, you need a pair of shoes.
Certain restaurants or businesses require SOME form of footwear (one of the reasons we developed Xero Shoes, in fact).
As a sprinter, I wear sprinting spikes when I need to run full speed on a track.
But this may be the best reason to wear shoes: When you need to open a bottle of wine and don’t have a corkscrew… or just want to show off in a geeky-nerdy way:
Oh, and if you’re out on the trail and don’t even have a wall, how ’bout a tree? (BTW, this video is WAAAAAAY funnier than the first ).
Will this work with a pair of Xero Shoes? Who’s going to be the first one to make a video and answer that question?
On Jan 15th, I was part of a GREAT conversation (podcast) about the state of footwear and barefootware, with 1980 Olympic marathoner, Benji Durden, Michael Sandler from Runbare, RL Smith from In-Step shoes and, of course… ME!
George Thomas from Over The Top Radio moderated and, well, not surprisingly, nobody pulled any punches when we gave our thoughts about the truth behind running shoes, barefoot running, minimalism, and “Big Shoe.”