Bare Foot Running: Pros and Cons

Bare foot running enables the feet to move more naturally than they can in shoes. By running bare foot, the runner’s feet, ankles, tendons, and legs are strengthened. Bare foot running also tends to improve and refine the runner’s posture. Runners who suffer various stride or foot strike issues and injuries can benefit from running without running shoes. Most runners hoping to transition to bare foot running should do so on softer surfaces, such as a clean, sandy beach. A grassy sports field is also a good place for running bare foot. Runners in search of a foot doctor in NYC often look for a natural running advocate.

Although athletic shoes create ankle support and stabilize the feet, this stability has a price. Ankles can weaken over time. Conversely, bare foot running strengthens the joints and feet, so it’s one of the best and easiest ways to strengthen ankles and joins. As the individual’s body moves as it was designed to do, the legs and feet absorb more shock as the runner’s strike is naturally adjusted. Shoes do absorb shock but also transfer some of the impact to the joints and spine. Some people with bare foot problems believe that custom insoles or expensive orthotics are required but, according to author Chris McDougall, (“Born to Run”) nature is frequently the best cure.

Nature-Oriented Podiatry

Podiatrists oriented towards natural running can help patients with bare foot problems. For instance, a runner who’s accustomed to wearing a certain type or brand of running shoes has achieved some level of adaptation with his or her shoes. When the runner decides to transition to natural running, it’s possible to suffer injuries. Shoes offer primary protection against debris of all kinds and even microbes that enter through the feet. Runners in search of a foot doctor in NYC are likely to have many special considerations related to running bare foot in an urban environment.

Of course, the runner likely experienced a variety of problems while training ankles, legs, Achilles tendon, knees, and hips to run well in shoes. Many runners remain in constant search for the “best” running shoes and still more own a dozen or more pairs that didn’t “become one” with his or her feet. These runners sometimes need instruction on how to restore their body’s natural running style. If the live in Manhattan, they want to know how a foot doctor in NYC can help them become ultra-runners.

Minimalist Running Shoes

When the runner decides to transition to running bare foot, it’s possible to simply wear shoes less in and around the house, the backyard, or at leisure, at a park, the beach, or a country field. Add a little barefoot time as tolerated, and then seek out ways to toughen the feet. For instance, walking on rough pavement or dry soil can accomplish this. A podiatrist may recommend soaking the feet in some solutions to toughen the skin. A regular swim in ocean water will also toughen the skin by drawing moisture from the feet. Using specially designed shoes for bare foot problems can be very helpful during this transitional stage.


Runners in Manhattan and Brooklyn with bare foot problems need special solutions. Manhattan Foot Care, with offices in midtown and lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, is a leading foot doctor in NYC that serves the needs of runners in the city who want to run free.