My First Time Running (almost) Barefoot

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I’ve been intrigued by minimalist running for a while, but after reading rave reviews from Ashley @ The Edible Perspective about her Vibrams, I was ready to give them a try. I got the Pink Vibram FiveFinger Sprints!


I walked around in them all afternoon on Saturday (and got some very confused looks). And I was surprised how comfortable they are without any cusion. They do kind of rub between my 2nd and 3rd toe on my right foot but I think that’s more of an anatomy issue with my own foot than the shoes.

On Sunday, I went out for my first run in them. Per Ashley’s advice, I started out short and sweet – 0.75 miles. (Sleepy sleepy  eyes…this was about 10 minutes after rolling out of bed.)DSC_1118

Thoughts during my first barefoot run:

  • My toes felts like they were being stretched.
  • I could feel my calves working overtime.
  • My ankles felt like they were being challenged. It didn’t hurt, but I could tell they were working. In a good way.
  • I was definitely aware of when I landed on my heel. It only happened a few times but it didn’t feel good.
  • It wasn’t as hard to run up on my mid-/forefoot as I was expecting, but it’s definitely a conscious effort at this point.
  • I took smaller strides to keep my legs under my body instead of reaching forward with my legs and heel striking (like this horrendous form seen below).32292-075-035f
  • When I stopped running, I felt an odd sensation in my arch of my right foot. Kind of like it was charlie-horsing and needed to be stretched.
  • When I left the house, I had knee pain just walking around– something that has been lingering for the past week or so. I didn’t feel ANY pain in my knee when I starting running. Fo’ reals.
  • It’s hard to say if running felt easier because it was REALLY humid so breathing was tough anyway.
  • Overall, it was a much easier transition than I was expecting.

So, not too bad for a first time! I ran again tonight; again, 0.75 miles.

Putting on Vibram Five Fingers

The first few times putting on Vibrams are definitely awkward. I tried to get on the KSOs in the store for like 15 minutes before giving up. I have no idea how anyone would get those on.DSC_0974-1

Maizey thinks because they are the same color as her snake toy (on the floor) that they are a new toy. Bad Maizey!DSC_0979-2

“Mom!! Come on!! I’m ready to run!”DSC_0980-1Phew! Got  it! DSC_0981-1 Let’s go!


Today’s run  also felt great. My calves are still tight from Sunday and it was humid, so breathing was still tough. But my stride felt lighter and more natural when I focused I lifting up with each step, like Ashley explained in the first video on this post.

So far, I’m loving these. I look forward to running since it’s a new challenge for me and as an injury-prone distance runner, I’m excited to see how my SI joint and IT band hold up with this new running style.

Would you ever consider running in Vibrams?

How do you guys pronounce “Vibrams”? VEE-brams or VIE-brams? I say VEE-brams.

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    52 responses to “My First Time Running (almost) Barefoot”

    1. My mom’s b-day is on 9/9 too! Happy early birthday! I’ve been so intrigued by the Vibrams but they don’t sell them anywhere around here. I came very close to purchasing the new Nike Free’s which were made based off of the “free running” concept. Very very lightweight and kind of like running in socks. But as soon as I tested them out, my knees killed and I feared I didn’t have enough stability. Shame because I really liked them and I really wanted them to work. Oh well!

    2. It must be easy filling out forms and such with your birthday being the same number as the date. I never know whether to write 05/07, or 07/05 (May 7). So 9/9 is just a no brainer.

      My momma should’ve had me 2 days prior 🙂

    3. Happy early bday! I always thought it was VIEbrams, but what do I know? I can’t wait to hear more about how your experience goes. I’ve been told I can’t go barefoot, but I’m just not convinced yet- I really want to try it!

      • He just doesn’t like VIEbrams because he thinks it sounds like “vibrator”!! I don’t know what is right!

    4. Cute! I’m intrigued by those shoes as well…I’ve always been like, “Sure, they’re more natural like our bare feet, but we’re also running on concrete, which is not natural.” I need to read more of Ashley’s posts…keep me updated on your thoughts! 🙂

    5. Love to see you got some!! Arent they amazing!!! I LOVED reading that your knee pain was gone. The “shoes” are magical! Can’t wait to read more about your transition!

    6. I love running barefoot! I feel so “natural” and smooth! I got my scuzzband a pair of Vibrams (which I say VIEbrams) for his birthday, and he pretty much hasn’t taken them off – which makes me REALLY want a pair, too. My birthday is in 4.5 months and these are on my list!

    7. I love this post! I just got a pair for myself. Since I’m marathon training, I am hesitant to transition. For now, only walking, but I plan to run as soon as the race is over. Can’t wait to hear more about these “shoes!”

      • I would definitely wait to transition until after your marathon! Luckily I’m not in training for anything right now so I don’t have to worry about mileage. 🙂 Good luck with your training!

    8. I’ve been running in these for a year and I love them. I can’t go back. I have the Classics and they are starting to show their age (and how much I run in them), but they have been awesome. I can’t get over the fact that I really just enjoy running more when I’m wearing them.

      • that’s great to hear that you’re still doing well in them after a year! And I agree, so far running in them is so much more enjoyable. I feel like a little kid just running around – guess it’s more natural!

    9. Aww my younger brother’s birthday is 9/9 too! (He turns 21 this year, sheeesh! He was also born at 9:19 am which is also cool, haha). Anyyyyway, I thought they were pronounced VIE-brams.. but I could be totally wrong. I’m totally intrigued with this barefoot running and definitely want to give it a try. I also love that you got hot pink ones — pink is the best!

    10. I’ve been wondering about these. I keep seeing more and more people sporting them around town – they definitely catch my attention and I might even be giving the wearers a strange look:) Looking forward to seeing what you think about them and how they compare to running shoes.

    11. Ooooooooooh, I’m in love with this post! Barefoot video post – Barefoot Clinic Revew post – Was it one of those? It definitely takes awhile to slip into the Vibs! It gets easier. I’m also realizing, since getting a 2nd pair, they will stretch out! And, the best way to put the sprints on is as follows: undo all straps – put foot in – get your heal as far back as possible – velcro the heal straps, tight but comfortable – velcro the over the foot strap. Voila! It honestly makes a difference in how they feel! Keep going slow. I swear it will be worth it. In a week or so when the calf soreness wears off don’t be temped 🙂 Walk around in your barefeet as much as possible and walking in the Vib’s is GREAt. Building up the muscles in the foot + ankle take so long…pretty nuts. Let’s talk more about this soon! This reminds me, I think I didn’t respond to an email about a video chat date…..time to go check that 😉 Love the pink! Thanks for all the shout out love!! p.s. BAD maizey!!

      • I’m taking ALL your advice! How many times did you run 0.5 miles before going up to 1.0 miles? Thank you so much for all your helpful posts on this – makes it much less intimidating!

        I’m always barefoot when I’m at home. I hate wearing shoes around the house – too uncomfortable!

    12. Oh, so cool! I have seen those shoes before, but only in the weight room. I thought it was SO ODD to see someone lifting weights with them on (in case the weight fell on your foot- DOUBLE OUCH!!!). Maybe it helped her balance, but it looked ridiculous!

      That is awesome how comfortable your run was! And, it has to be said–you still look adorable even just 10 minutes after getting out of bed!

      • I’ve seen people in the weight room with them too. My Body Pump instructor wears them to class and it freaks me out!

        You are nice for saying I look cute just rolling out of bed! haha!

    13. I just got the pink ones as well! I feel like a tree frog when I wear them. I had the same calf and foot pain you did on my first few runs. I actually thought that my regular shoes would help cushion my foot while the charlie-horse healed, but it felt best back in the Vibrams.

      Are you alternating between conventional and vibrams? I have been just to get in my milage, but I am wondering if doing that is counter active.

      p.s. I totally pronounce it VIE-brams!

      • I agree – it does feel better in the Vibrams than going back to my old shoes.

        Right now, I’m not too concerned about mileage so I’m only running 2-4 times a week. I am switching back and forth; Asics for my “real” runs and Vibrams just for a little bonus run after my weight lifting. I’m not sure if it’s counteractive!

    14. I’ve always wondered about these since I have terrible knee pain and flat feet. I’m still unsure how well they’d work on someone with mechanical problems like overpronation. I’m interested in knowing, but I don’t want to be the first to find out they’re not for the flat footed.

      • I’ve read about someone who used to have flat feet until he ran in these and he built up arches from strengthening his feet running in Vibrams. Crazy!

        I’m also an overpronator too but so far I don’t think it’s an issue with Vibrams since naturall you’ll have to run up on your forefoot and your foot doesn’t really roll like it does when you land further back…does that make sense?

    15. I like your play by play, too many people are saying “oh they’re awesome” without breaking it out like you’ve done here.

      Hope your baby doesn’t chew up the new purchase, that would definitely not be good, lol.

      Keep up the great workouts, your tootsies will thank you.

    16. It’s so cool that your knee pain went away with the barefoot run! I’ve been thinking about Vibrams for a while– for running and for training (the barefoot thing is good for powerlifting too!). They’re just so cool looking!

      I’ve always said VIE-brams…but I’ve heard people say VEE-brams…they’re just silly though…it’s vie-bram.

      • really? why is it good for powerlifting? I nervous to wear them to Body Pump, mostly with the squats and all that weight driving through my feet. Do you think it’d be OK?

    17. Love your thoughts on the shoes! Thanks for also pointing out the importance of not striking on the heel. That’s something I had to practice a LOT while training for my first half marathon in 2008. It’ s too easy to do when your feet are encased in running shoes, but it’s soooo not good for your body.

      How do you see yourself using Vibrams vs. running shoes for training/working out? Have you done any research on whether you can train with both? Or does that mess with your body?

      BTW, I pronounce it VEE-brams. 🙂

      • I don’t know if using both regular shoes and Vibrams messes you up. Right now, I’m wearing my Asics on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays when I do a “real” run and wearing the Vibrams on Tuesdays and Thursday for short runs – like 0.5 – 1.0 miles. When I build up my mileage in Vibrams, I’ll probably do all runs in those but for now, I don’t want to up my mileage too quickly so I’ll be using Asics for a while.

        I don’t know what I’m doing really. Just listening to my body. 🙂

    18. My Vibrams and I just had our 3 month anniversary! I still get some random foot pain, but it’s better than the perma-knee pain I used to have. And I and everyone I’ve met that wears them calls them VIE-brams. 🙂

    19. Do you recommend them? I’ve been so curious about those shoes but nervous to make the commitment of buying some!

      • So far, I think they’re great! I’ll keep you posted as I increase my mileage though.

        If you get them at REI, you can probably return them if you don’t like them. They have a great return policy.

    20. Rich LOVES his Vibrams! He hasn’t had any shin splint problems since he started wearing them. In fact, he totally sold my mom on getting a pair!

    21. Love ’em! Glad to hear the first run went well. I’m considering buying a pair, but our local outdoor store only has black and that will just not do. I can’t wait to use them for some supplemental runs to build up my foot and leg strength!

    22. I love your color choice! When I got mine I went very neutral and now I am so sad =(
      So far just been walking around doing errands but noticed my calf being a bit tight and because I am in training decided I needed to hold off before getting all crazy and running in them. Eventually that is the plan though. So glad they are working out so well for you!

    23. hehe, i definitely say vie… but i have no idea if it’s correct 🙂 i went and tried them on this weekend, but they only had brown leather in my size so i passed. i’m seriously thinking about it, but i have so many other issues that i’m worried, too. i’m sure slow and steady will help in the long run, so I have a pair on backorder! keep us updated on how they’re working for you 🙂

    24. You are so freakin cute!! And those vibrams are awesome (I saw it like you by the way), but I’m not sure they would be for me. I have really weak ankles so I think that might actually aggravate them. But they look pretty sweet that’s for sure!

      • You are so freaking nice! 🙂

        I’ve heard these actually help strengthen your ankles, but you have to ease into them SLOWLY.

      • What? You don’t think they’re stylish?? 😉 haha. I think my husband was embarrassed to be walking around with me last Saturday when I wore them all over town. 🙂

    25. My vibrams FINALLY got here today:):) I have want these shoes for over a year! While i was waiting for them to make more in my size, i transitioned by running in super flat keds, hot pink ones in fact:):) of course since i wasn’t in “official” barefoot shoes i thought transitioning didn’t apply to me. One five mile run later i was limping around and icing my calves and ankles for the week…or two! Definitely take it slow cause you will definitely feel it!

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