The New York Times just ran an essay on barefoot running. Here is a link to it:
- Are we built to run barefoot?
- by Gretchen Reynolds
Yes, I'm a "barefoot" runner!! I wear VFFs for nearly all my stairclimbing, kettlebelling workouts, runs, and exercises. I've experienced none of the injuries that are described in the above essay - neither before or after transitioning to barefoot. Maybe it's just a placebo effect, but I'd bet I have stronger toes and ankles now.
However, I have heard of some strains from others who admit to running too many miles, at too fast a pace, too soon after shedding the shoes. It's definitely a practice that has to be gradually adopted. One runner told me she ran with a small CamelBak backpack with a pair of traditional running shoes in them. At the beginning of her transition to barefoot, she changed footwear from (or to) her VFFs midway through her longer runs.
Considering going barefoot? Start out easy! Wear them in the gym or while walking around the house. Or maybe start out on a padded high school track for a few hundred meters.