Taking off your shoes to run usually means reducing your speed and mileage which, for many runners, is a quite a challenge.
However, what begins to happen is a shift in focus from the numbers – distance, speed, how many runs per week – to playing with running form, subtle shifts in technique and finding ways to make your running smoother and more efficient.
You may also find that your awareness is heightened. Many people find that they don’t want to listen to their ipod anymore, but listen to their surroundings instead. As a barefoot runner, it is important to be aware of obstacles, terrain and what the ground is doing underneath you so, mentally, you tend to feel sharper. There’s so much feedback coming from your feet too, so this also has a stimulating effect on your mind.
Imagine how you feel driving down a motorway, in a luxury car, at a consistent, comfortable speed and in a straight line. Now imagine the contrast of driving off road, at the same speed, but in a car built for performance over unpredictable terrain. Which is the more thrilling ride?
This is the difference between running in shoes and running barefoot.
"Me thinks that the moment my legs began to move, my thoughts began to flow."
- Henry David Thoreau