How to Forefoot Run
Making the switch to minimalist shoes isn’t the only step you need to take to start running more naturally. Sure you may have browsed the barefoot shoes review section and picked what you consider a pair of the best minimalist running shoes but there is a learning curve. If you’ve been running with traditional running shoes for some time or haven’t run barefoot before, learning to move correctly can take a bit of practice.
We always recommend you start by picking a familiar environment to start barefoot running. There are less risks and you know the hazards and are therefore more familiar, comfortable and relaxed before you start. When someone asks: “How do I start barefoot running?” usually the best thing to do is to just start running. If you’re using a pair of minimalist shoes, it’s likely that as soon as you start you’ll notice some difference in your style immediately and that’s when the changes come in.
Minimalist running shoes generally employ a zero offset which means that there is no height change between the toe and the heel. If you’re used to heel striking, you’ll find that the first change you’ll need to make is to actively work toward forefoot running. This entails taking smaller strides and using a quicker and lighter cadence. You might find that you feel like you’re landing flat footed for a while, don’t worry or micro manage this, the forefoot stride will come with time.
Another element of barefoot running is a slight forward bend. You want to use your torso in a sort of “prepped and ready” stance. Meaning that your using it to guide you forward.. You shouldn’t be hunched, but neither should be fully erect. Instead use your body to guide you in the direction. This will help the leg and foot muscles to correctly do their job and proper you forward in quick steps.
Minimalist shoes or minimalist running shoes are excellent for barefoot running but if you want to take it a step further you can go completely shoeless. If you plan on doing this, it’s important that you build up your running ability slowly as the feet will need to be conditioned to run on new terrain and not in the shelter of a shoe. Additionally, the muscles engaged when running barefoot are used slightly differently than when running with shoes on. This is true for minimalist shoes as well; you may find your legs are more tired and sore than they usually are after your first few runs.
Running barefoot (or with minimalist running shoes) takes some time to get used to but it’s infinitely better for you. Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself sore or a little weaker than usual. Growing accustomed to barefoot running is like learning a new way to walk. Take it slow, don’t micromanage and be persistent, that’s all it takes.