Ask Lee Saxby a barefoot question by
Karl: My son of 11 years old has flat feet with no compliant or pain but I observe his body stability is not very good . Consulted doc and suggested to make a tailor made insole for him after getting in-print of his feet condition. He needs to wear for about 18 months. My question is would such tailor made insole help to correct his flat feet to normal arch foot as the tailor made insole does not come cheap. Will barefoot shoe like yours help his flat feet condition? What is your recommendation? Thanks.
Lee Saxby: Orthotics are a last resort. They restrict natural movement and function. Barefoot encourages natural movement and function. The muscles which support the arch will become stronger when barefoot. Strong feet improves balance.
Judith: I’m recovering from a minor tear of the achillies (overuse). Training for a marathon, hopefully back to running in next week or two. I’ve read your e-book, watched a video etc. I realise that one has to do the transition slowly, does that mean you continue to run with heel strike for some runs and just do a short barefoot run every other day or so slowly increasing the distance or what? Slightly confused. What’s the chance of me being able to run my marathon in May barefoot?
For running start with 1 mile every day 5 days a week, add half a mile each week. Continue for 8 weeks until you are up to 5 miles a day 5 days a week.
Add in a longer run at the weekend but do not run too far to soon in your training programme!
All injuries are caused by a lack of skill in technique or training. To perfect your technique seek out a VIVOBAREFOOT Certified Coach for a running lesson. You have to get video feedback to check your technique.
Ian Hunter: I recently finished a training course at born to run and have been ramping up my barefoot running times to get to my usual running time of around 36 minutes. the other day i ran for about 34 minutes and i felt i was able to maintain my form for most of the run. i felt good immediately afterward but later that day i felt discomfort in my knee that i would describe as tendinitis. is this a common result of over training the barefoot technique? i have shut down my running for a week and was going to start it up again at a lesser time to see how things are. any thoughts? thanks.
Lee Saxby: Please see the answer above…All injuries are caused by a lack of skill in technique or training.
Ursula: I find when I put on closed shoes my toes feel cramped and my feet ache and sometimes burn. I have been walking around in slops most of the time, run barefoot on grass and with the Vibrams on the road and cross country. I have to sprint with cramped toes in spikes on the tartan as the heat goes straight through the Vibrams on a hot day, and the Vibrams have little grip on the tartan. Would any of your shoes work for me or would my toes also feel cramped in them? I use my toes individually to push with, especially for cross country, can you still push with your toes in your shoes even though they are closed infront?
Lee Saxby: VIVOBAREFOOT shoes have wide, anatomic toe boxes which let your feet splay and contract naturally. Give them a go…
Lenore Lambery: Lee, all the research seems to be on endurance runners. Can you tell us about barefoot running for sprinters? I’m a masters sprinter and I love running in bare feet but my coach is concerned about it because for every article you read saying barefoot running is good there’s another saying it causes problems. So he lets me do my warm ups in bare feet but not any proper training. Personally I can’t see how it can hurt given that as a sprinter you’re running on your the balls of your feet and there’s no shock absorption in spikes anyway. Can you tell me of any research evidence?
Lee Saxby: You’re right most of the research is based on endurance running but all injuries are caused by a lack of skill in technique or training which applies to both sprinting and endurance running. It requires great skill and strength. Warming up barefoot is a good thing and slowly increasing the amount you train barefoot will gradually increase foot strength.
Jane Willingale: I want to wear my barefoot trainers for walking.not running! I walk fast for an hour every morning.
I have just watched your video for running and see that you emphasise front of foot down first> I read that for walking I shoud put my heel down first and then roll through the foot. Is this correct ?
Lee Saxby: Walking is: heel–ball–big toe. Have a look at this video. Humans have three forms of locomotion based on speed, walking, running, sprinting. Walking any faster than 4 mph may cause injury.
Tom: I have read the e-book and maybe missed it but what is the proper arm movement that supports this technique. I have recently read that greater than 90 degrees with hands close to sternum helps promote forward lean. Do you agree?
Lee Saxby: 90 degrees with hands close to the sternum sounds good. But not to promote a forward lean. Posture is number 1 in the hierarchy of skilful movement; followed by rhythm and relaxation.
Michael: When it comes to fit, should you allow a bit of room for flex, or should the “Vivo’s” fit be a bit snugger! I recently purchased a pair of breath’s in a 43, but I know a 42 would be snugger fit lengthwise, any suggestions?
Lee Saxby: You need at least 1cm (2cm is better than 1/2cm). Your toes should never touch the end or side of the shoe – it stops the foot from functioning properly.
Kim: What about those of us with Morton’s Foot or Morton’s Toe? The alignment of the bones in my feet is such that my big toe really isn’t where the bulk of my weight goes when I’m balancing on the balls of my feet – instead, it’s concentrated on the head of the second metatarsal. Thus, running (or even just walking) barefoot tends to hurt at that spot after a short while. I’ve looked everywhere online for answers to how to properly deal with this. What’s your advice?
Lee Saxby: We’re developing a how to make your own Morton’s insole kit. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Scott: For everyday walking… Does the lack of cushion have any consequence since we live in an unnaturally hard surfaced world? Are minimalist shoes designed for concrete and tile all day?
Lee Saxby: The African savanna, where humans originated, is very hard. Yes barefoot shoes can be used on any terrain all day!