What is barefoot training?

Barefoot training has been around for a while now. When it first began to surface in the fitness industry, many thought it might be another short term fitness trend or a gimmick like we often see. However, this one is not going away and is growing in popularity. So what is barefoot training exactly?

Barefoot training

Barefoot training is training with no footwear or wearing footwear that has minimal material around the foot.

What are the benefits of barefoot training?

Vivo barefoot, the leading manufacturer of Barefoot shoes, highlights the following three key benefits to the ‘barefoot life’. 

Sensation

Our feet are an essential part of our peripheral nervous system. They receive information about our external environment and relay it to the central nervous system for processing, just like our hands do. Traditional shoes take away this feedback, and the brain has nothing to process, resulting in reduced movement efficiency that can lead to pain and injury.

Stability

Our feet are fundamental to our body stability. Scientists claim that the arches in our feet act like springs that absorb ground reaction forces. When running, the ground reaction force equals two times your body weight. The foot and ankle mechanics are designed to absorb over half of those ground reaction forces. The heel strike generated by traditional shoes eliminates those helpful mechanics, increasing the impact on the knees and hips.  

Strength

Biomechanists have determined that the foot has three ‘rockers’; the heel rocker, the ankle rocker, and the forefoot (big toe) rocker. The flexibility and strength of these rockers are crucial for healthy, natural locomotion. Traditional shoes make it extremely difficult to train the strength and flexibility of these rockers.

Minimalist shoes

Minimalist shoes such as those listed on the Vivo barefoot website allow your feet to do their thing. The shoes are wide, allowing your feet to spread and provide a robust and stable base of support. The soles are thin, enhancing foot sensation on the ground but puncture-resistant, keeping the foot safe. Finally, minimalist shoes are flexible, allowing the natural range of movement of the foot, therefore strengthening the muscles and connective tissues. 

My experience using minimalist shoes

Being the sports science geek that I am, I don’t accept anything as gospel until I see the evidence-based research and/or experience enough anecdotal evidence to give me confidence that something isn’t just an interesting theory. So I purchased my first pair of barefoot shoes with a lot of scepticism. However, after about eighteen months, I would not go back. I love running and walking outdoors, I would get knee and lower back pain after a few miles, but I used to just grit my teeth and punch on through it. Since going barefoot, I have not experienced any knee or lower back pain whilst walking or running. I even recently ran the north downs way half marathon in them, and the only discomfort I experienced was my calf muscles flooding with lactate on all the hills. Apart from that, I was fine. 

Furthermore, although this could be psychological, of course, I feel like my feet and ankles are super strong. The terrain I run on is easy to roll an ankle on, but I feel injury resistant. My feet are stretching and flexing and stabilising my lower body as they should.

My recommended brand of barefoot shoes

You have probably guessed already which is my preferred make, although I actually started off with a really cheap brand on Amazon just to try them out. These served a purpose and were perfectly adequate other than two crucial factors. Number one: Sticks would often pierce the soul and puncture my feet. I never experienced any severe wounds, but I felt it was only a matter of time until I did. Number two: they looked a bit crap. Friends would often ask what the f**k I was wearing on my feet. However, a good friend of mine introduced me to Vivo Barefoots, so I gave them a whirl, and as soon as I took them out of the box, I was in love. Ok, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but they looked fantastic. Beautiful design and built to last. I contacted the company and introduced myself. I told them what my profession was, explained how much of a barefoot enthusiast I was and how awesome their products were. To my delight, they gave me a 10% discount code to share with any Storm Fitness Academy followers and an exclusive 30% discount for Storm Fitness Academy students and graduates.

How to get a 10% discount

  1. Visit Vivobarefoot
  2. Add the shoes you want to your basket
  3. Add the following code at checkout AJBARE10

How to get a 30% discount (Academy students and graduates only)

  1. Contact Jon Bond for your exclusive 30% discount code
  2. Visit Vivobarefoot
  3. Add the shoes you want to your basket
  4. Add your exclusive 30% discount code at checkout