Safe Transition to Barefoot Running

Safe Transition to Barefoot Running - Pyopp Fledge Barefoot

If you have only been wearing shoes with lots of support for long periods of time, the first use of barefoot footwear may make your feet uncomfortable.

Imagine doing a heavy workout after months of no training, your body will feel sore because it hasn’t been trained for a long time. This analogy applies to the feet as well. This is because going barefoot or wearing minimalist footwear without support can awaken the leg muscles which may have been “asleep” for a long time. 

If you are considering switching to minimalist/barefoot footwear, please read this article to help you to transition safely without being injured. 

Take it slow

Too Much and Too Soon are the first things that can injure your feet. 

The feet need to adapt to new habits. If this is your first time wearing barefoot footwear, avoid doing strenuous exercise immediately or using it for a long period of time. Instead, start with 15-30 minutes a day, then gradually increase the frequency and duration of use as your body and feet adapt. The stronger your feet are, the more comfortable you will feel wearing barefoot footwear, even for sports and running.

Make sure to walk before you run, and walk a short mile before walking a long mile. Transition times can vary from person to person so always listen to your body!

Do feet exercise 

Do little exercise for the legs (toe yoga, tiger claw, or using a toe separator), basically doing stretching exercises regularly. You can also practice walking barefoot around the house or on a natural surface.

There are different ways to transition depending on how you plan to use your Tapak Barefoot Flip-flops.

Transition to Barefoot Running

If your transition goal is to exercise using minimalist footwear, then the foot transition period will go through a more strenuous process. Running barefoot means waking your feet and the bottoms of your calves up. You will go through a gait change from heel strike to forefoot strike. In addition, many muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones must adapt to this change.

We summarize these transition steps from physical therapist and barefoot running teacher, Michael Sandler written in his best-selling book “Barefoot Running.” According to Michael, start slowly with the steps below:

  • Start completely barefoot. Because maximum feedback from the ground will help you 'feel' and find the lightest stride. Always go barefoot first before putting on minimalist/barefoot footwear.
  • Start running completely barefoot for only 180-200 meters.
  • Add 100 meters of barefoot running every two days. Carry your shoes in both hands, holding them high enough to practice good poses for running.
  • For the first 3 months, only run barefoot once every 2 days at most. If you want to run more often, run in your old shoes or orthotics the rest of the time.
  • As you increase your barefoot running time, you can begin to ditch your old shoes or orthotics. After that, gradually increase running frequency and distance using minimalist footwear.

Note: If your feet hurt, take a break from running. Let your legs fully recover before you start running again. Don't forget to 'feel', have fun and smile!

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