Comment from: Jesse [Visitor]

I really like this advice. Several weeks ago I bought my first pair of KSOs and immediately loved them. I got pretty over zealous and ran 30 miles in them my first week (this was obviously a mistake!) I wasn't too badly injured, but my left foot got mighty mighty sore and I was pretty worried I was on my way to a stress fracture. Since I'm trying to stay in shape for the "American Odyssey Relay" in a couple of weeks and my team is relying on me being injury free for that race I figured I should hold off on my barefoot transition until after that race is over. But now that my foot is feeling better and I've read up on safer transition techniques I think I can do tiny little barefoot runs like this article suggests while I keep up my regular shod running routine. Thanks for the article! Before I read it I was pretty unclear on how to tell if I was going to far to fast, but the "let your skin be the guide" philosophy makes a lot of sense to me. I'm going to try this tomorrow!

04/06/10 @ 22:38
Comment from: Daphanie [Visitor]

I have been wearing my vibrams constantly for the past 2 months. I figured I would try a little running I ran about 2 blocks and turned around. Today my calves are so sore. I can feel muscles in my feet are sore as well. My calves feel like rocks today and I can see some more muscle definition.. I can't wait to heal up, feel stronger and run that same distance. I bet it feels so awesome to run when you have optimal foot strength. Bet I run faster barefoot than in regular shoes!

04/06/10 @ 23:10
Comment from: Chaia [Visitor]

good post! :)

04/07/10 @ 01:52
Comment from: JQ [Visitor]

I actually mainly want to comment how great of a picture that is. You can notice the difference in the stride between the VFF clad runner and they person slightly behind.

04/07/10 @ 02:03
Comment from: Chris Johnson [Visitor]  
Chris Johnson

I am like you Jesse. I get way to motivated to the level of lunacy.
I have been doing a too fast barefoot effort (6 miles max right now after about a month) and recently got the VFF Sprints which of course felt great. I had really not developed a great bf stride and did not realize it until I did a 13 mile VFF run last Thursday and then 20 miles on Saturday (two weeks after my second shod marathon). I know I know - IDIOT!
The funny thing is even with my right calf forcing a goofy limp, my left leg has zero pain. So I learned that my left should be the model for my right. I have since returned to bf only running for now to train my stride and the number of "a-ha" moments have been marvelous. I have slowed WAY down, evened up my stride, and repeated my 6 miler only this time there was NO wear on my feet and I felt like I could go longer.
So for now I am (somewhat more) sane and loving the slow development in skills.
Great Article, Great Advice.

04/07/10 @ 06:23
Comment from: David Pollitt [Visitor]
David Pollitt

Great article. I am interested in learning more about barefoot training based weight lifting. I am used to being a gym rat, so I have been searching for exercises to help me transition into running barefoot. Does anyone have an article or resource I could look at for weight lifting for barefoot running?

04/07/10 @ 09:41
Comment from: Jimmydotmac [Visitor]  

This is a Great Article.

04/07/10 @ 15:28
Comment from: hinogi [Visitor]

Hehe the picture is funny, it nearly looks like a procession of VFF disciples, all on they way to worship the barefoot god :D And of course they bring gifts as you can see.

04/07/10 @ 20:41
Comment from: Cody Toone [Visitor]
Cody Toone

Thanks for all the great information. I found this post through the website My buddy has been running barefoot and in VFF's for a few months and I made my first barefoot run last week.
It was really good. I had my friend there to remind me about form, and I took one more step toward barefoot or VFF running.

04/08/10 @ 13:15
Comment from: Han [Visitor]

I like the idea of running barefoot until your skin fatigues and then using the VFFs on the return trip. But if you do this, won't the insides of your shoes get really dirty?

Also, when you run barefoot, would you consider wearing say--iniji socks?

04/08/10 @ 14:10
Comment from: Matt [Visitor]  

Really wish this post came up about two months ago... I was really enjoying running in my new KSO Treks until I WAYYY overdid it on a weekend run (I just didn't wanna stop running, damn stupid grin). Anyway, a week and a half of couch rehab and I think I'm about ready to get back out there... oh, and I'll be barefoot this time. Thanks for being such a great resource, birthdayshoes rocks :-)

04/08/10 @ 14:49
Comment from: Carla [Visitor]

I have been on the mend from a piriformis injury that has come-gone-come back over the past 9 months or so, adn kept me out of competition for T&F and XC seasons during that time. I started running barefoot after cooling down that way after a workout, and noticing there was less pain. I am using a track to gradually increase my barefoot distance, but mostly just listening to my skin. It was only after starting to run this way that I became interested in VFF's and I am glad to hear that I am getting ready for them w/o even knowing it.

04/08/10 @ 14:55
Comment from: Jesse [Visitor]

I'm guilty of too much too soon in my Vibrams - left me with Extensor Tendonitis. Now I'm slowly integrating the Five Fingers into my training, rather than switching Cold Turkey.

04/08/10 @ 17:12
Comment from: Piper [Visitor]

This is a good article. It explains things very well and very plainly.

I'm just getting started running and you'd think I would have a clean slate but I don't. It's been difficult. I try to extend my training by walking barefoot but it seems I also need to learn how to walk!

04/09/10 @ 21:19
Comment from: G8rRanger [Visitor]

Great article. I spent almost a year with POSE running in my old broken down New Balances which helped prepare me for the transition to VFFS with minimal issues.

04/10/10 @ 20:29
Comment from: Chris Johnson [Visitor]
Chris Johnson

I am finding it much easier to begin (again) doing barefoot to focus on stride and form and carry and slip on the VFF Sprints if my feet get sore. So far MUCH better.
Walking? I bought Aqua Shoes for walking and I think THAT was too much to expect of my feet. Walking is a different issue altogether apparently. I am back in regular shoes for walking. Maybe after a few weeks of running I can experiment with flats or bf for walking again.
But there is no pain when I run, nice.

04/12/10 @ 05:57
Comment from: Rich [Visitor]  

"I'm guilty of too much too soon in my Vibrams - left me with Extensor Tendonitis."

Me too!! I've taken a week off and it's not gone yet - I'm going absolutely crazy. I thought I was building in to this carefully - I started out doing 1 day in VFFs, then several days in regular shoes. Then 1 on, one off, finally every day in VFFs - and then the tendonitis hit, hard (didn't help that I also had a too-tight pair of dress shoes at the same time).

The problem with this article's advice is that I just don't see going totally barefoot as an option. There's too much debris, broken glass, etc. where I run. It's not like I'm running in a war zone, pretty nice areas, actually, but it's still (sub)urban. I'm sure some of you do run totally barefoot in such areas, but I'm just not willing to risk it. Given that... any advice (including advice on how to get rid of this damn tendonitis!!)?

04/12/10 @ 10:33
Comment from: jeremy [Visitor]

I would agree with taking it slow when you first start off training in vibrams. I took it easy for about 3 months when I started life in the ff. After that point it has been good to go with running whatever distance I want. I often go barefoot vs wearing my ff just because my feet like to breath....haha.

04/12/10 @ 10:57
Comment from: Heather [Visitor]

Its reassuring to see so many others that went a little crazy! I had done a couple great short runs on my VFF with minimal difficulty,(they feel sooo good) but got carried away and did my first trail run of the season, 18k, with half in old beaten-in New Balance the other in my VFF and injured my IT band--DARN IT! They had felt fine before on 12k road runs (a little sore in calves and the achilles, but not too bad), but don't forget the different stresses on sloppy trails. Have fun, but it really is true--TAKE IT SLOWLY

04/12/10 @ 11:48
Comment from: Bart [Visitor]  

Thx Jesse,

I am one of the over zealous types who you are taling about. I bought some Treks and tried to start easy for about a week. Then started running 10 mile trail runs here in Utah. My calves were on fire but I kept at it and became addicted. Even ran on the road during snow storms. Went skiing and cycling on myrest days. Needless to say I stained the tendon in my left heal. I thought it was my achellies but it is more the tenedon that wraps perpendicular to the achellies to the sides of my heal. Big time pain cannot walk right for two weeks now. Getting a little better. Wante to run the boulder boulder but may not be healed in time. Should I start back totally barefooted?

04/16/10 @ 14:48
Comment from: Craig [Visitor]

I run in VFF sprints and flows now up to half marathon distance (recored a pb in the sprints). When I first got a pair I did exactly as this article recommends - I went barefoot. For a month a ran everyday starting day 1 with 100 yards then gradually building up to 5miles at the end of the month. I also walked each day in the VFFs for about an hour to get used to them (around town or wherever). I could run about 12 miles in shoes at that point so starting this slow was obviously difficult as I could easily run further. I did this beginner month running on a I run or roads, trails, across rocky and stone ridden paths - all with no problems and all with the VFFs......

04/19/10 @ 09:26
Comment from: Kevin [Visitor]

Just tried barefoot running without the VFFs at my local track and it was hard because the surface was so hot!

All my toes have blisters on them :( Am I supposed to wait until they've healed to a certain degree before running again? It doesn't hurt to walk or anything.

04/19/10 @ 14:31
Comment from: Deb [Visitor]  

I like many others thought I was ready, followed the break into your VFF instructions (so I thought). Went on a 7 mile hilly run last Monday, 3 on Tuesday and Wednesday and another hilly 5 on Thursday. My left foot/heel is now out of commission (elevated and being iced helps). I do however feel a little less silly since ready others comments. Could all you runners tell me what style you feel is best for running. Maybe I have the wrong style. Help?

04/25/10 @ 13:38
Comment from: MTN [Visitor]  

Like many of the other posters above, I suppose I did the "too much, too fast" thing in my VFF Classics. I thought I was being careful about it ... I have two dogs with whom I walk frequently, and I initially used my VFFs just for walks. After several months of that, I went out on a slow 5K or so run. After a few more runs, I began training for my second half-marathon, and was doing 95% of my weekly mileage in the VFFs. The first two weeks were fantastic, my long Sunday runs felt great, but then in week three I started getting some serious top-of-foot pain in my left foot. I persevered and ran a 5K race in the VFFs as the Saturday run at the end of the week, and even ran a personal best. But I've been hurting and limping around a bit since then, and have decided that it would be best to abandon the 9-week training program and begin again after the foot is healed.

04/29/10 @ 15:52
Comment from: Kevin [Visitor]  

After waiting 7 weeks, my VFF Bikila's finally arrived in the mail today. Can't wait to get home from work and run a bunch of miles in em. When I'm not running in them, I'll probably wear them everywhere - stores, restaurants, weddings, etc. I might even wear them to bed tonight.

07/02/10 @ 12:28
Comment from: Fwear [Visitor]

Such good advice. This kind of advice should come with each pair of Vff's. I have been wearing a pair of Moc's while working & they have really helped strengthen my feet and toes. Because Moc's do not have the solid rubber sole, they allow my feet and toes a wider range of motion only to be rivaled by being barefoot.

07/14/10 @ 10:02
Comment from: Chris Whiteley [Visitor]  
Chris Whiteley

Very useful and informative commnon-sense advice. Having read "Born to Run", I recently went up to our local common and did a little bit of bf running - and yes, that grin was definitely there. Aching calves the next day, but that's far better than aching knee joints any time. Have ordered some Fivefingers for me and my wife and looking forward to conditioning my feet (and legs) in the meantime. Not looking to run huge distances, but just to enjoy it more - finishing my usual 10K with a grin instead of a grimace

07/24/10 @ 10:11
Comment from: David [Visitor]

While this article must offer good advice, I find it to be discouraging. There is no way I could run barefoot for month or even a week. My feet are just too tender and soft.

I have run for 30 years, mostly with orthotics. I have been competitive in my age group but no longer race much. I had hoped that VFF might offer a new type of running experience that would be compatible with my gentler running. But I don't think I could follow this pre-VFF routine. Is there no other way to allow your feet and legs to adapt to the new foot plant?

08/09/10 @ 16:17
Comment from: Lara Kaye [Visitor]
Lara Kaye

I've heard that it is okay to go for your regular run in your old sneaks, then for the last 1/2 mile or 5 mins change into your VFF. That is what I did this morning and it felt good. Then keep this type of thing up for a week and then increase the time/mileage in VFF slowly. Not sure how it will work in the long run but I feel good today.

08/23/10 @ 11:59
Comment from: Christina [Visitor]  

Once you go to VFF's, are you not supposed to go back to tennis shoes? I say this because, I'm in a military program that does not authorize the VFFs, but I'm interested. Once you start running in VFFs, is it bad for your legs and feet to keep switching back and forth?

09/01/10 @ 10:45
Comment from: Tj [Visitor]

I can confirm that just wearing VFFs will not prepare you for running. I used VFFs while working out, biking, and just doing things for several months.

Then I decided to start running in them. After about 6 weeks I noticed the top of my foot started to hurt after running. Eventually I had an MRI and confirmed a fractured 2nd metatarsal. Yikes!

So follow this to minimize your chance of injury.

09/27/10 @ 18:38
Comment from: Ross [Visitor]  

Wow! I can't ease into them. Got them yesterday, wore them all day. Took them for my 3 mile jog that I normally do every day or every other day.

WOW! My calves are killing me. Felt like I ran 10 miles! Really had to shorten my stride. Tried to focus on the balls of my feet, but still found myself slamming heels into the pavement.

I think I like the VFF KSO. Not sure if I'll ever get used to running in them. Hope so. I'm sure gonna try.

09/30/10 @ 17:30
Comment from: Sheri Southern [Visitor]  
Sheri Southern

I got VFF's, ran too much too fast, and got tendonitis in my left foot that has taken two months to heal, and now that winter has started here in CO, I have no place to barefoot run for a while, so I am running at my gym in the VFF's for a little here and there.

I wanted to say (at risk of you not posting my comment) what no one seems to be saying but it's the truth: wearing VFF's is like having foot sex! It's reconnecting with your inner sensual caveman, and that's why we do too much too fast. I literally feel orgasmic when running in them because all these nerves that have been unstimulated for years are being stimulated again, and some of them must connect to my sexual organs. Having said that, the injuries we are getting are comparable to when we have a new Lover and get "soreness" or honeymoon cystitis or UTI's from too much nookie!!!!

So slow down and enjoy your new shoes - but become "friends" first - have coffee with your VFF's, then maybe dinner and a movie, but don't go straight to the marathon love-making sessions or you'll have a terrible break-up and be lucky to make up!!!!!!

Take it from me, now on my second injury, which is a black toe nail from trying to wear wool toe socks, which made my toes too cramped in the VFF's, which I liken to a condom injury.

Owwww, but sooooo worth it!!!!

Please post for the humor of this if nothing else. I think it's the best analogy yet!

11/27/10 @ 09:23
Comment from: Pat [Visitor]

Hi All,

I think one important thing that was missed from above was the adaption of your stride.

You all need to learn to land mid/flat footed and not on your heels or that defeats the object.

Knees slightly bent to absorb impact and the landing directly under you (not in front like heel striking).

Easiest way is to do shorter "shuffly" type steps - 180/200 per minute.

Also, think about your feet when they are in the air and try and slightly point your toes (they will tend to land flat then) until it becomes natural and instinctive.

Other than that, good read.

Pat ;-)

01/23/11 @ 03:48
Comment from: Joe [Visitor]

I ran a marathon after having trained in my VFF's for 1 month...idiot.
Was surprisingly ok though, I only had one injury and it was my calf (ended up quite short lived and I was up and running again before too long.)
The shoes are great, I was SUCH a skeptic but eventually took the plunge and haven't looked back (PR in the 10k and looking to break my 1/2 time next month)
It just feels tribal...and awesome.

01/24/11 @ 13:45
Comment from: Candice [Visitor]  

I would like to start running barefoot but it is still cold outside. Will running on the treadmil have the same effect?

01/28/11 @ 10:19
Comment from: Nicolas Pain [Visitor]  
Nicolas Pain

Hey !

I'm so glad I found this very helpful article before I bought my first pair of Vibram shoes ! I ran barefeet this morning for the first time since many years, as suggested here. I noticed (i) that indeed it feels really good and the flow of information from your feet is overwhelming when you run barefeet ; (ii) that my feet are really softened by the use of running shoes. The softeness might have been increased by the fact that I ran on a wet and cold ground. Whatever are the effects of the ground, the skin of my feet is not callused enough. Maybe I will use an ointment to roughened my skin. Has someone already use some ?

02/15/11 @ 04:29
Comment from: CB Langley [Visitor]  
CB Langley

I would love to run barefoot first but the amount of broken glass and bum piss I would be subjected to would be too much. Ran 5.5 in my first run and can only complain of calf soreness and a bit of a hotspot on the outside of my left forefoot. That probably would have been avoided with some BF running first but that's just not going to happen.

02/24/11 @ 18:38
Comment from: NB [Visitor]

I bought my first pair just a couple days ago and I took them out yesterday for a spin. I did 4 miles of moderate hiking in them and a very short (less than half mile) sprint just because I couldn't resist. It felt great!!!! My calves are only the tiniest bit sore. I think what helped me avoid serious aches and pains is that I dance barefoot for at least half an hour every other day or so on a hard floor. This has probably helped strengthen my arches and my toes. If you're looking to tough up your foot, I really recommend busting out some ballet moves!

02/28/11 @ 23:29
Comment from: liv [Visitor]


Like a good few of the people here I got WAY too excited when I first got my vibrams (classics) nearly a year ago. I have in the past had problems with my feet, mainly sesamoiditis. A few years of orthotics and good shoes largely cured it. I read born to run, and was sold on the ideas behind barefoot running so wanted to give it a go, improve my running style and enjoy running!

The first few weeks/months I took it slowly, wearing them for a couple hours a day just walking around, gradually building up into a short jog. No problems other than stiffness/muscle pain. Unfortunately, about two months ago, after wearing them for hours at a time as well as doing 20-30 minute runs in them 2-3 times a week, I began to get real pain in my right foot only. After going to the pysio, it was diagnosed as ligament strain due to poor form. The cure- rest and wearing roomy shoes with adequate arch support.

So Im still waiting to heal, and it was pretty painful there for a while. But I havent yet given up hope. I still love them, and am going to apply the barefoot-skin guiding-continue to run shod- method outlined here.

This article was really helpful-thank you!!


04/27/11 @ 05:27
Comment from: sandra olivo [Visitor]
sandra olivo

I would like to know, more about the knee. can people with knee problem take the chance with this fivetoes shoes!!!!

05/02/11 @ 10:24
Comment from: sevilnort [Visitor]

I was up to running half-marathons in regular shoes (average pace was an 8 min mile). I started experiencing various issues with my ankles, knees, and feet. In hopes of reducing pain I purchased some VFF's.

For those of you who tend to overdo everything, this is good advice, but I just took it slow with the VFF's. I started off with a half mile and incrementally added about a mile each week. Within a month I was up to four miles. I also lift weights so I focused a little more on leg strengthening for the first month. Be sure to stretch after your runs, especially the calves. Another good tip is to use a roller to massage your calves after a VFF run. I use a baking roller. It helps soreness the next day and reduces shin splints by loosening up the muscles.

05/17/11 @ 14:23
Christopher S. Rollyson

I just got my first pair and am preparing to get back into running; haven't run for several years, constant injuries (no amount of ortho could solve it). One thing I'm doing that may be helpful to you is jumping rope. I think jumping rope barefoot will help build my feet faster, has anyone else tried this?

05/22/11 @ 19:13
Comment from: Ale [Visitor]

I just bought my Vibrams a little more than a month ago. So far I've been able to run once a week. Taking slow is a good thing I guess. I am up to 3.5 miles after one 5-mile trail walk and 4 runs. I play soccer regularly so I felt I could push myself a little harder than average folk. My first run was about a mile. I just ran 3.5 yesterday and my calfs are still sore but not as much as before. The main thing is if you start feeling pain along the bottom of your foot you need to stop. The most amazing thing is to realize how strong your Achilles is! At this point I am never out of breath because the legs do all the work. For proper running never land on your heel. I am guessing the older you are the harder/longer it will be because you've been doing it all wrong for all these years :)

08/10/11 @ 12:19
Comment from: alan [Visitor]

Thank you! I wish I had read this before! I just found out for myself today how different barefoot is from minimal. For me the idea of a transitional shoe was a dangerous route, putting strain on the achilles tendon.

Now happy in bare feet.

09/01/11 @ 18:45
Comment from: Cory [Visitor]

I thought it was just me! Read "Born to Run" and got me a pair of VFF. Started running exclusively in my VFF - nothing crazy but 3 to 4.5 miles every couple of days (I'm a recreational runner, not competitive or long distance). Felt fabulous - tired feet and tight calves but no ankle, knee, hip or back problems, ever. Then about 5 runs in, wham! Top of my left foot starts killing me but still no ankle, knee, hip or back problems so I'm thinking what the heck is up?!? Nice to know I just overdid it and that extensor tendinitis is the likely injury. I've been walking the treadmill barefoot to toughen my skin and let my feet splay ('cause it just feels so good) and went back to running in my new balance shoes (but at least they're worn down). So glad I can work my way back into my VFF. Love them!

10/06/11 @ 19:26
Comment from: richard [Visitor]

After 30 years of on off achilles injuries interrupting my running I read Born to Run duirng an airport layover. What a revelation! 'Running shoes' had never done it for me so why not go back to square one! All the excercises for overcoming the latest achilles injuries sustained training for a 70.3 Ironman, (nearly nine months of no running but tendon and calf strengthening excercises) were perfect conditioners for going barefoot. Slowly building up the mileage in VFF's, but already have the grin :)
Not only that a neat pink pair got my wife running for the first time a month after her 50'th.

11/10/11 @ 12:12
Comment from: Tinus [Visitor]  

I started thinking out of the box running wise. Running in normal shoes costs me a lot of energie. I found out that I was a forefoot runner already and the my shoes forced me into a heel stride. So I started running barefoot on the treadmill and that worked out really well. Less effort per miles so to spead. So I ordered a pair of KSO and will start running barefoot outside. I hope I won't need to long a time to get used to the new way of running and that only the soles of my feet need getting used to.

12/30/11 @ 19:02
Comment from: BA [Visitor]

recently purchased my vff and still breaking them in-my main purpose in making the switch is to hopefully be rid of toe tip pain and bruised toenails after longer runs.Any comments/insight from anyone else experiencing this?

01/20/12 @ 14:34
Comment from: Ben [Visitor]

Hey there! I've been using Vibrams for nearly 3 years now. This goes without saying but I love them! I wear my vibrams all the time and have seen many positive biomechanical improvements in my walking.

I did not initially use these shoes to run but after about 2 years of using them I started going to the gym and using them on a treadmill. Things went great at first but after about a month of consistent running (3-4 times a week), my calves started tightening up to the point of it being difficult to walk in the morning. I stopped running at this point. Now about a year later I'd really like to start running again but after my first trial run last week my calves/achilles tightened up again to the point of inhibiting exercise.

What can I do to make this work? Should I just look at another type of running shoe (If so, is there a type you'd recommend)? I think I've given myself ample time to get used to the shoes, and I definitely have midfoot/ball of foot strike when I jog. Is there some specific type of stretching perhaps I should be doing?


03/27/12 @ 12:51
Comment from: mark wilshire [Visitor]
mark wilshire

I wish i had heeded the advice in this article. If you are new to barefoot running or like me... new to running!! If you think things aren't progressing quickly and are tempted to push on... DONT. I thought i was taking it slowly, i missed out the " running barefoot first " and went straight onto wearing the Vibrams. Big mistake. First thing to happen was extremely tight calfs... unable to walk properly for a week. Then i thought i had cracked it.. i felt such a bounce and strength...then i started training for a 10mile fun run and intensified my training, doing sprint interval training... big mistake. I Ended up with what i now know to be " TOTFI" or top of the foot injury. I still did the fun run "in trainers and painkillers".. that was 8 weeks ago... i am only NOW able to walk properly but still suffer pains... heed the advice ... if you think your taking it easy... your probably not. take it even slower. i would recommend a progressive 4-6 months .. if you are like me... not a runner.

12/02/12 @ 06:28

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