Sep 22

Barefooting harder for older runners? Maybe but so what?


Daniel Lieberman runs barefoot across the Weeks Bridge n Cambride, Mass.Credit Bryce Vickmark for The New York Times

This article on the NY times blog caught my attention. It cites research that claims that barefoot running is harder to transition to when you are older. Older seems to mean over 30 and the hypothesis is that this is because older runners have years of bad running to unlearn.

This seems obvious but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t or can’t be done. I am one of those older runners with 25 years of cushioned shod running in my history. I was broken and at the end of the line and now I have gradually taught myself to run with good form by barefoot running (with the help of a little handheld metronome in the very early days).

I am now running every day and pretty much without injury. Harder? Possibly, but so what?

In my eyes it is all about readiness. I hit a point in my life where I was ready to do whatever it took to find a way to run in a sustainable way into my old age. It can be done!


  1. You are exactly right, Chris! It can be done! I am another “lifelong injured runner” who began barefoot trail running/hiking at age 50 . . . and almost six years later (with much help from excellent physio’s and movement coaches to deal with gait/tightness/issues), I can run 1-2 hours on trails and ENJOY every step!

    Thanks, always, for your helpful and encouraging blog, Chris! Here’s to “old age running” (I share your goal that you’ve stated elsewhere to keep enjoying running for the rest of my earthly days 🙂 )

  2. ‘The rest of my earthly days’ – I like that Thea…and after that the trails in the great grand canyon in the sky!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.