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How can you have bare feet if you wear shoes? Of course, some people really do run with no shoes, but more and more people are choosing to run with minimal foot protection and maximum foot comfort provided by Vibram Barefoot Shoes.

Vibram Barefoot Shoes May Be Even Better than Running Barefoot

Advertisements for Vibram Barefoot Shoes the market invite the viewer to do a double-take. How can you have bare feet if you wear shoes?
You'll learn more about using Barefoot Shoes to your advantage by getting a good fit and starting your exercise routine, but here are some frequently asked questions and their answers.

Q. What is the difference between Barefoot Shoes and low-top sneakers?

A. Even minimal sneakers keep the toes together and direct the force of the stride against the heel. Barefoot Shoes distribute pressure on the foot forward toward the toes and have a very different feel.

Q. Can I do the same mileage running in Barefoot Shoes as I do in my regular running shoes?

A. Not at first. In fact, before you start running in Barefoot Shoes, you should practice running on a track with no shoes at all.

Barefoot Shoes distributes weight on your foot the same way as running barefoot. You can suffer sore muscles if you run your usual distance the first time you use Barefoot Shoes. Running barefoot, however, is more difficult than running in Barefoot Shoes. Your skin will tell you when you have run too far, so you avoid muscle injury. Training with no shoes at all is especially important if you usually run in motion-control shoes.

Q. Can I still run races in my regular shoes and use Barefoot Shoes for training?

A. Yes. You will have more control over your stride and more sensitivity to changing track conditions as a result of training in Barefoot Shoes. If you choose flat, thin-soled running shoes, you will be able to take maximum advantage of the adaptations of your feet to Barefoot Shoes during training.

Q. How long will it be before I see changes in my running style?

A. You'll feel a difference in your stride immediately. You will make more gains in speed and endurance, however, if you start using Barefoot Shoes slowly. Running your regular mileage in Barefoot Shoes right away increases risk of foot injury, and may keep you sidelined from regular training. Building up your mileage in Barefoot Shoes is the best way to improve speed and technique.

Q. Are Barefoot Shoes good for running on streets and in parks?

A. Hard soles are much more forgiving of punctures by rocks, sticks, metal, and glass. Barefoot Shoes are best for the track or the pristine outdoors.

Q. What's a good program for "breaking in" my Barefoot Shoes?

A. Here are the key points:

  • Try walking around barefoot before you start training with Barefoot Shoes.
  • The first week you have Barefoot Shoes, run no more than 1/4 mile to 1 mile (400 to 1600 meters) in them.
  • Increase your distance in Barefoot Shoes by no more than 10% a week.
  • The first month you have Barefoot Shoes, don't run in them two days in a row.
  • Take care to build up your calf and foot muscles to prevent Achilles tendonitis.
  • A good landing is a gentle landing. You should land with the ball of your foot slightly to the outside of your foot. Let your heel down gently after the front of your foot lands on the surface. Don't try to run on your toes.
  • Your feet should feel the same way they do when you are jumping rope or you are running in place waiting to cross the street.
  • If you arches hurt, or the top of your feet hurt, or anything else hurts, stop! Sometimes muscle pain results from running with the feet more forward of the body than usual with Barefoot Shoes.
  • Allow up to a year for complete training benefit. The rest of your running career, however, may be much more successful.