August 2012 archive

Aug 31

Pick of the Posts no.7 -The best 5 barefoot posts to see you through the weekend are…

Here are my favourite posts from the barefoot blogosphere this week.

To put this list together, I read a lot of posts during the week and some of the writing is superb. I aspire to blog with such feeling and economy. Thea Gavin has made it is post of the week again. Her post is one of the best barefoot posts I have read since starting this adventure.

I try and just list posts from bloggers but every now and again something turns up which I think needs a mention.

Have a browse, there is something for everyone.

1. Post of the week goes to Thea Gavin at the Barefoot Wandering and Writing blog for her post on handling rough terrain

I don’t usually list a blog so soon after a mention on the list but this is a fantasatic post and well worth reading. Following last week’s post another blogger, Patricia Bowmer had commented on Thea’s blog and asked her about handling difficult terrain. Thea’s answer is honest and inspirational and gives me hope that one day I will be able to handle the rough stuff.


2. – I have just ordered my first pair of Luna sandals and they on their way from the US as I type. I am quite excited about this and have been doing a fair bit of reading. This post shows how creative we become when faced with a difficult situation out on the trail. Barefoot and minimalist running is not without its problems and it isn’t all plain sailing. The more posts with problems and minor disasters in the better. It shows that we can carry on and be barefoot regardless mostly with a grin on our faces.

3. – From the Fueling Fitness blog. It is a summary of the ancestral reasons behind barefoot running. Most of us have read a fair bit on the subject but I never tire of hearing it from the point of view of a genuine blogger. The blog is full of good advice on a number of subjects. – I know it is a good sign when I find myself sitting reading a few of the other posts on there. I will be going back to check on new content. Already some good new stuff.


4. – This is a reprint of a very early post on the freegrowth blog. Karl from the blog says, ‘Get ready to have your shoes blown off and enjoy’. I did.

The original post shows the link between shoes and many of the degenerative conditions that affect the developed world. It is a long, informative piece. You may never wear shoes again. I will certainly be encouraging my kids to be barefoot as much as they can.


5. This is from Lou’s Cornwall Physio site. I have been having a few knee concerns and came across this post in my trawl for advice. Coincidentaly, Lou has given me some excellent advice by commenting on my blog a few times in the past.

This is a runner’s account of how good barefoot technique helped him through his knee pain. It gives me heart and is shoving me gently towards getting some good bareoot coaching. Thanks, Lou.

Click here for more Pick of the Posts



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Aug 30

Vivo Barefoot podcast interview with Ironbridge Runner

If you missed it, this is a link to the podcast done by Ironbridge Runner. It features an interview with Gallahad from Vivo Barefoot.

Gallahad is interviewed about all things Vivo and barefoot related. It takes a minute or two to warm up and then both the interviewer and Gallahad get into the swing of things.

I run in Vivo Evos and rate them highly as a mimimalist shoe so it was good to get a UK based perspective from one of the Vivo Barefoot guys. Click on the image to visit the Endurance talk webpage and listen to the interview.

Click here for Vivo barefoot shoes.

Aug 30

Barefoot running – Which shoes to choose?

Click the image to see a typical day in the West Pennines

I ran 4 miles this morning in my Vivo Evo IIs.

The morning was just about as wet as it could get and I woke up with a slight pain in my hip, an awareness of my calf and a niggle in my right arch. I am definitely a runner!

So…what (if any) shoes to wear.

The trail is too tough for my soles at the moment so I would need something on my feet.

My calf made me wary about wearing my Pegasus because I need to run with really good form and my arch made me feel like I may need the support.

I think that the arch is more a soft tissue type thing rather than the start of Plantar Fasciitis so I opted for the Evos. A good choice,l I think.

I was wearing socks and have kept the insoles in because these shoes feel a little too roomy without. It made them feel like slippers, they are so comfortable. They are easily my favourite thing to run in.

I could have chosen my Breatho Trails this morning for a little added grip because the trail is pretty rough and there are some slippy sections. However, the Evos handled everything well and if anything it was simply a confidence thing as I ran across a couple of slippery wooden bridges.

The rain continued and it made me realise that although it isn’t even September, it won’t be long until the headtorch is out. I have never run barefoot in the dark before. It should be quite interesting.

I watched a video of Steve from invisible shoes yesterday. He was leading a group of runners and his cadence is even higher than mine and his leg lift seemed very pronounced. I got the same impression when I watched the trailer for the RunBare movie recently. On both occassions the clips were downhill and maybe that explains the high lift. I do concentrate on lift but run in more of a Chirunning style with an out and back movement.

Overall, I am glad that I stuck to my rule of not running further in shoes than I can manage barefoot. I may have cheated by 0.25m but not going further gave me confidence that everything would hold up.

If I had been in my Pegasus, I would have been nervous about my calf so that tells a story.

4 miles further down the road to being injury free. I am off to walk a section of the Lancaster canal with my dad, hope the weather picks up!





Aug 29

Patellar Tendonitis – Is my barefoot style similar to repeated eccentric squats?

Although it doesn’t hurt when I run, my knee is causing me some anxiety.

I have just got back from the Diamond league meeting in Birmingham. It ached like crazy on the journey there, whilst cooped up in the stadium seating and on the journey back. It is fine when I can stretch it out and walk but restricted movement causes me some discomfort.

I have exchanged a few messages with people and it seems very much like patellar tendonitis.

If I do an eccentric squat on my left leg, I really feel it right down the the front of my knee and into the top of my shin.

I don’t use the slant board or the weights. Could this be the cause of my knee problems?

I have been doing exercises to strengthen my right hip and I have been doing some squats as part of this regime. I don’t know which came first, the pain or the squats.

To treat the symptoms of patellar tendonitis, eccentric squats seem to be a useful tool but I am not sure whether doing the squats is the reason for the discomfort in which case I need to lay off.

When I google my symptoms is also get to chondromalacia patellae which seems to go along with the dull ache I get while driving and sitting in one spot.

Due to a hip injury, I have been favouring my left leg and my left thigh is now noticeably more muscled than my left. It could be that this imbalance is causing my knee cap to get pulled around and not be running smooth. It certainly feels like that, it creaks as I move it (my right one doesn’t).

The physio I went to about my hip said that my knees also hyperflex.

I am unsure whether to get on with the exercises or leave them alone.

I have just run 4 miles barefoot and it gave me no problem. I was aware that it was there but it only hurts when I am forced to sit in one position for a long period.

In all my 25 years running, I have had many niggles but never a knee problem.

I have read numerous accounts about runners sorting out their patellar tendinitis by switching barefooting but I seem to be the other way round.

I think I remember seeing a clip of Micah True running into a checkpoint with a strap around his pattellar tendon, at least I am in good company.

Could it be that landing with a bent leg whilst barefooting is like doing a very short repeated eccentric squat?



Aug 28

Barefoot Running – How long should I leave between barefoot runs?

IMAG0058My job this morning was to see if I could manage 4 miles barefoot. I am still sticking to my rule of not running further in shoes than I can manage barefoot so I want to gradually build my miles up.

My knee gave me problems yesterday. I had a long car journey and spent about 4 hours sitting down watching the athletics at Birmingham.

I went to bed with an ache but woke up fine. I am worried about it and was conscious of running to protect it this morning. I tried my best not to alter my form and tried to run as softly as I could. Trying to run silently seems a good way to do this.

A few thought going through my mind as I ran.

1) My best run in barefoot came after about 3 weeks out. My feet had recovered well and were tougher than I thought.

What is a good length of time to leave between barefoot runs to allow my feet to build and recover?

2) I stood on a few stones and it hurt. I carried on regardless. Am I experiencing less pain or am I just getting used to it?

I managed the 4 miles and although I could have gone a bit further, I am pretty much at my barefoot limit. I will leave tomorrow and then try a run in shoes.

I walked the dogs last night in my Invisible (Xero) shoes. Perhaps I will carry them with me on my next barefoot run. I had my Evos tucked in my waistband today but didn’t need them.

It is now almost 4 hours since my run and I have no ache in my knee whatsoever.

Aug 27

Vivo Evo II – First outing, the Sino Himalayan Trail at Muncaster Castle


Visit the Barefoot Beginner store and select Vivo Barefoot for Vivo Evos

IMAG0152I couldn’t resist packing my new Vivo Evo IIs when I got the chance to stay at Muncaster castle for the night.

What a beautiful place. John Ruskin said that the view was his, ‘Gateway to Paradise’ and he was a good judge.

It was amazing to see the warden feeding the colony of herons and we spent along time wandering the grounds looking at the owls.

On our Friday evening walk, I spotted a path that said ‘Sino – Himalayan trail’.

IMAG0151The climate at Muncaster is very similar to that at about 8000ft in the Sino-Himalayan region and the gardens and paths reflect how well the plants flourish.

A new pair of barefoot shoes and a Himalayan trail. There is only one outcome.

I got up nice and early and was greeted by the sight of people in medieval dress cooking breakfast over open fires. The red Wyvern re-enactment society were performing later that day and as I set off, children in period costumes were playing in the castle grounds. It all added to the atmosphere.

I was concerned that I had bought a size too big and my first impression of the Evo IIs was that they felt big and bouncy. I am not used to running with the insole in and it made a difference.

IMAG0160One of my criteria for minimalist shoes is that they are easy to carry and easy to slip on and off even when my feet are wet.

I slipped the Evos off after about half a mile. The same thing happened as with my Neo Breatho Trails. The insole bunches up and is a bit of a pain. I may need to stick it down if I am going to keep them in.

The Evos tucked easily into the waistband of my shorts and stayed secure as I ran barefoot to the start of the trail. I slipped them back on easily and set off. The ground was steep, wet and muddy in places but the Evos handled it well. I forgot about the sizing and was grateful of the cushioned insole in places.

On the downhill sections near the end, I looked down and the Evos just felt like part of my feet. They are light and any worries I had about them being a bit big and flappy vanished.

IMAG0158So…I really enjoyed my first Vivo Evo II outing. They handled a muddy steep trail well. I am not used to running with the insole and it made the ride feel more cushioned and bouncy than I expected. I quite liked it but I know that if I am going to run with good form I need all the ground feel that I can get.

I paid £46 for my Evo IIs which after a first outing, I think is pretty good value.

 Visit the Barefoot Beginner store  and select Vivo Barefoot for Vivo Evos









Aug 26

Vivo EvoII (Evo2) have arrived – A first look

IMAG0131Visit the Barefoot Beginner store and select Vivo Barefoot for Vivo Evos

My new Vivo EvoIIs (Evo2s) have arrived and as always  with Terra Plana, I love the way the shoes are packaged. I know it makes no difference but it just adds the high end feel of these shoes.

When I bought my first pair of Evos, it was before the other shoe companies had caught up and they were pretty much the only thing out there in the UK. I had ordered a standard male 42 (UK8). What arrived was a Ladies 41.

At the time, I was new to minimalist running and was too excited to send them back so I took out the insole and although they felt snug, they quickly became my favourite thing to run in.

My new EvoIIs feel cavernous next to them and it is going to get a bit of getting used to.

My toes have plenty of room to splay on landing and the whole feel of the shoe is soft and comfortable straight from the box.

I think that to get the sizing right,  I will need to keep the insole in but I may experiment without and a pair of thin socks. I mostly use my Evos to carry and slip on and off when barefooting. They fit into the waistband of my shorts and don’t budge when I run.


I am off for the night to Muncaster castle in the Lake district and will pack them and give them their first run out.

I bought them on Amazon and was pleased with the price. When I checked this morning the prices ranged from £ 29.99 for certain sizes. My size 42 were £46 which for the Vivo EvoII (Evo2),  I reckon is good value. 


Visit the Barefoot Beginner store and select Vivo Barefoot for Vivo Evos





Aug 24

Pick of the Posts no.6 -The best 5 barefoot posts to see you through the weekend are…

Here are my favourite posts from the barefoot blogosphere this week.

Some really useful posts this week. I really enjoyed hearing about Patricia Bowers barefoot journey. It sounds very similar to my own. Jason and Shelly Robillard’s summary of their Trans Rockies run is also packed with useful stuff.

Have a browse, there is something for everyone.
1. Post of the week goes to Thea Gavin at the Barefoot Wandering and Writing blog for her post on her journey up the Harding Truck trail.

This is beautiful looking blog with great photos. As I run in the currently dreary West Pennines, it was good to read Thea’s blog about a run up a hot, Summer trail. A good read.


2. -This post is from Paul at I have often thought about getting some proper barefoot coaching but have been a bit wary about splashing the cash. There are alot of people out there offering advice but I want to hear about the impact they have made on real runners. This is some feedback from one of the runners that Paul has helped. Ok, it is from Paul’s own blog but knowledge is power and I feel a little more informed than before.


3. – Patricia is an author and this is a recent post from her blog. As I travel my own barefoot path, I like to hear from bloggers who are making the same journey. It is easy to forget what it was like at the start. Patricia’s experiences sound very much like my own. Patience and enjoyment seem to be the key. I feel all the better for reading her account of life in her Monster Feet.


4. – I know that many of you probably follow Jason Robillard’s blog, but just in case you don’t, this is my favourite of his recent posts. It sums up Jason and Shelley’s experiences on the Goretex Trans Rockies Run. Jason and Shelly are so experienced and it was good to see their thoughts on the things they experimented with. I particularly liked the sections on the pre-race meal and the choice of footwear.