Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group, LLC Blog

Quick Thoughts on Barefoot Training by Charlie Weingroff

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Question to Charlie via 

I wanted to know your opinion on training without shoes or using the Vibrams or other brands.
Also I have extremely flat feet.  How do you think this will impact me?


barefoot training 


As a blanket statement, I’d like to think and say that I’d like to get everyone doing as much as possible in most general physical preparedness barefoot.
And that statement is vague and non-committal intentionally.  I often wrestle with the list of benefits that make so much sense but then there are some antagonistic thoughts that also make a lot of sense too.

1) My favor for training barefoot does not include running without progression.  I am not well schooled in running form and the effects of different footwear.  Part of this is whenever I seem to read something, even of alleged substance, there is anecdotal success in every option.  Maybe this is why I can’t get into these topics because everybody has something different to say in terms of heel strike, etc.  Some say bad; others say no difference like the research we see coming out of the US Army.  I wasn’t particularly moved by their presentation at SOMA as they had no control for the rest of the body in terms of the default pattern that the subjects were coached to use.
Bottom line is I think running barefoot should be progressed into with great caution, and it may not be for everybody.  This is just not a topic that has a lot of gravity for me in all honesty.

2) What does have gravity for me is training barefoot.  Eliminating the sole of a shoe allowing for uptake of tactile proprioception is a very big victory.  Variables such as improved technical proficiency of fundamental and training patterns and subjective recovery are things that stick out as often remarkable changes from training barefoot.

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Learn more about barefoot training, barefoot pitfalls, and how to best incorporate barefoot work into your existing training programs by reading, BAREFOOT IN BOSTON.