Barefoot Running: Fad or Great?

Barefoot Shoes

I like to walk bare foot on soft grass around my house, and have walked barefoot in garden often time, but sometime going barefoot, means getting splinters or hurt where there are thorns or pebbles around. The very first time I heard about barefoot shoes was last year sometime on one of my favorite blog Zen Habits, that I started following before even I had a blog along with a few others. Like Leo, I am a parent, and believe in simplifying, minimizing and decluttering stuff and not buying un-necessary stuff. One of the caveat when you stay home with kids and homeschool is we are living simplified life if not minimalist life. Health is important part of simplifying life to the best for all of us. I think, I was always frugal but learned lot more about simplicity to make living in reduced income comfortably so I can stay home with my little ones.

While I am working on finding harmony in many things in my life such as financial, health and fitness, relationship with people I care for, I find ways to achieve health and fitness in a simple ways such as walking, dancing and running after kids. Sometimes that is enough, and other times I think I need more push. So, when I read  Barefoot Philosophy post from Leo on Zenhabits, I was intrigued with a concept of  Vibram FiveFinger shoes as I love to walk barefeet often moist grass in my garden during morning. With the Vibram, I can almost go anywhere and have benefit of open free barefeet feeling. The only issue was that cost of Vibram Fivefinger, so I decided to dig further to research and find out more and share it here just in case if any of you are in same boat as I am. In recent times, shoes price have dropped to bit reasonable compared to when it was new! Check here.

What are Barefoot Shoes?

barefoot shoes2

Barefoot shoes kind of contradiction as how can one be barefoot and still wear shoes right? However, our city living is best suited for barefoot running or walking as once maybe our grandparent’s time. This type of barefoot shoes gives us benefits of going barefoot and still protecting our feet.

I am okay runner and athlete but I love walking and hiking. I am usually not in brands or new fads in footware, these Vibram FiveFingers are sure funny looking but I heard that they are very comfortable and functional for many minimalist fitness. I heard many people use it for biking, hiking, aerobics, gym exercise class, cycling and even walking. Barefoot shoes are flat and fits your toes like a glove which supposed to strengthening muscles on you ankles, toes and calves. It claims that your feet’s movements will be natural as possible with protecting your feet.

Click here to see Vibram Five Finger in Field Test Video
Barefoot running Frequently asked Questions for users

Barefoot Philosophy by Leo of Zen Habits

Until now we have been told, that high cushioned running shoes were the best for any runner, now these may seem like total 180 degree to be told running barefeet is best. Do they really work? Is barefoot shoes a fad? Is this invented by some green minimalist guy?

To find out these answer to these questions, I dug further and here is what I found:

These Vibram FiveFingers are created by Robert Fliri and Marco Bramani. Marco Bramani is grandson of Vitale Bramani who first invented rubber soles in 1935 for mountain boots. These shoes were meant for people sailing and climbing at comfort without actually going barefoot. However runners started using barefoot shoes enjoy the sport and reduce the injury and pain during running. It is one of the hottest trend that Times Magazine also name these shoes is one of the best invention of 2007 when they were first made.

How do Barefoot Shoes work? Some of Benefits and Issues?

barefoot vs. Traditional

According to the Vibram FiveFingers website:

“The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised.”

Wearing barefoot shoes are supposed to remind us and bring us to natural state of walking and running.  Our leg and foot muscles can get stronger to support knees and reduce pain and injury to hip and back while improving balance and posture.

Barefoot shoes changes the bio mechanics of your run or walk as you land on your foot instead of heel strike as you would in traditional shoes. For some it can change gait and biomechanics too much, so many expert recommend that when you start wearing them for short time and slowly start wearing it longer to adjust your muscles. It can take up to weeks or months before you may feel completely comfortable in it. Those who have stuck by it, swear of positive changes in to their running and muscles strength.

Pros Of Barefoot Shoes:

  • Allows for proper biomechanics in walking, running and hiking
  • Comes in many colors and styles
  • Natural way of walking, running without being hurt
  • Shoes fits perfect like gloves
  • Using proper leg muscles to avoid injury and pain
  • Cost ranges from $40-$125
  • You may  find bargain on Craigslist

Issues with Barefoot Shoes:

  • Not the cheapest but traditional running shoes can as high
  • It can take time to adjust and the shoes, up to weeks to months
  • Not recommended for long distance running
  • Might be less durable than traditional running shoes
  • Funny looking and feeling

If you afford it and want to buy, you can click here (aff. link)  Vibram FiveFingers.

Am I using these barefoot shoes Yet?

As much as I am intrigued about it and like to walk and run barefeet, I am sticking to my old running shoes for now. Maybe one of these days when money is not an issue, I might buy these and try it out. Are these type of shoes right for you? Only you can tell. I wanted to share what I have learned while trying to find out more about the barefoot shoes Vibram FiveFinger shoes.

Being healthy and keeping fit is essential to all of our well being. Many things can be done without spending money or spending less money. You can run bare feet as it is if money is an issue. Sometime prevention of better than cure. Maybe taking care of health now, will save us tons of money in medicine cost later.

Have you used these Vibram Five Finger shoes or ran barefoot? I sure would like to hear your thoughts on it.
Keep healthy and be healthy!



  1. Dawn says:

    I haven’t run competitively in either Vibram or barefeet but I can say that walking or running on soft grass in barefeet is a wonderful experience. Like running on a cloud.

    I’m intrigued with the Vibrams Five Fingers and you’ve written a wonderful review of them. I wonder why they cost so much to make. Still, if they’re good for your feet then they have to be good for you as a person.

    Happy feet, happy person!

  2. nazimwarriach says:

    Hi Preeti,
    I never used Barefoot shoes, actually heard about these very first time. But these are looking so smart that I wish to have one pair. Would you suggest me any online store to buy it.

  3. ZenGirl says:


    These shoes sure seem interesting right? People who are using it seem to love it. You can get it on amazon, I edited to put a link there now. Let me know if you liked them.

  4. ZenGirl says:


    I like your thoughts of running on cloud! That will be so cool. I like running barefoot on my small garden area and it is lovely. Before I buy, I usually do well research so I did it, but since I was not yet ready to buy, I thought why not share this information here, as it might help someone. Happy feet, walking happy person!

  5. rob white says:

    Well this is quite an new and interesting topic for me! Seems to me you have the right answer to this question in your philosophy towards life… that is finding balance and harmony. There is something intriguing about getting back to our natural gait, unadulterated by modern complications. I’d be willing to try them but we must remain weary about chasing fads (ie. jumping from self-help book to book etc.)that simply distract us from the real work of honest self examination

  6. The Vizier says:

    Hi Preeti,

    This is an interesting article that I can relate to. You see I go to the gym twice a week and during my sessions, I have noticed other gym users wearing barefoot shoes. Intrigued, I even went to read up a little on it to see what it was all about. That said, you have clearly gone the extra mile by putting together all these great resources on barefoot shoes.

    I suppose aside from cost, one of the biggest issues with barefoot shoes is that attention it attracts. I’ve always been going to the gym in normal shoes so if I make the switch to barefoot shoes, it would be very apparent. That said, given its benefits, I suppose getting a few stares initially is a small price to pay. Maybe in the future if I have cash to spare, I might actually get it. For now, normal running shoes work just fine for me.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article! 🙂

    Irving the Vizier

  7. Sibyl - alternaview says:

    Preeti: Interesting post and topic. I didn’t catch Leo’s post and did not know much about barefoot running until I came across yours. Thanks for all the great information. I guess I may have to try that out one day. I thought the list of additional things you can do to stay healthy was a really good one. Thanks for passing it along.

  8. ZenGirl says:


    Yeah, I first time read about it on Zenhabits otherwise I might have missed it too. I might try out those some days but right now, I am sticking with my old shoes and other ways to stay fit. I am glad you liked it.

  9. ZenGirl says:


    I agree, these shoes seems to be funny looking and may feel funny too! People who do uses seems to love it though! Go figure.

  10. ZenGirl says:


    I usually ignore new trend, but when I read it in zenhabits, I had to check it out. I still find it interesting but like I said, I am sticking with my old shoes for now, someday I will check it out. Some of the regular running shoes can cost as high though. This sure are funny looking shoes that bound to attract attention!

  11. ZenGirl says:


    I am also not in to fad and new trends either. I first read about it from zenhabits, the blog I respect a lot. Jumping from one thing to other will not get us result. I just wanted to share what I had learned during my research, only you can tell what works for you!

Comments are closed.