Tag Archives: barefoot running

Barefoot Running

Running without shoes had been all the rage not long ago however interest in it and the number doing it have dropped of considerably. It was a craze that continued for several years and was mostly influenced by social media commentary. It was a short lived trend towards barefoot running that took off around 2009 with a lot more interest in running free of running shoes. It was touted in numerous books, blogs and magazine articles and Youtube Videos thhtbarefoot running was more natural, that it was a more economical method to run and that you got significantly less injuries running that way. Many runners tried barefoot running as an alternative to using running shoes and interest in it peaked about 2013. The sales of minimal or barefoot running shoes furthermore peaked at around that time, getting to nearly 10% of the running shoe market.

After that original attention and peak interest in barefoot running and minimalist running shoes have been steadily decreasing. Runners lost interest in running barefoot. The sales of the minimalist running shoes have been dropping steadily since around mid- to late 2013. The believed advantages for it failed to eventuate to many runners who tried barefoot running but, needless to say, those who touted barefoot running simply claim that those runners were doing it incorrectly. When the scientific data accumulated, the advantages weren’t just there. All of the injury rate reports were showing that the risk of injury was the same had you been running in footwear versus running without shoes and the majority of of the running economy investigations were also showing that generally there weren’t any systematic advantages.

While some runners, who’re rather vocal, still do their running without footwear the big market shift has now been towards the maximalist running shoes with the Hoka One One running shoe being the innovator in that group of running shoes. It has now reached the stage where the Hoka’s now outsells the entire group of minimalist running shoes giving an obvious sign of the popularity of cushioned running shoes compared to barefoot running.

Abebe Bikila and His Barefoot Marathons

Abebe Bikila was a marathon runner from Ethiopia, winning double Olympic gold medals: Rome in 1960 and at Tokyo in 1964. Abebe died in 1973 at the age of forty one because of troubles after having a motor vehicle accident. There’s a athletic field in Addis Ababa named after him. Google honored Abebe using one of their doodles on what could have been his 81st birthday celebration on 7 August 2013.

1960 Olympic Marathon at Rome:
Abebe had been a last minute substitute in the Ethiopian squad for the Olympics. Abebe had no shoes to compete in and Adidas, the official supporter simply had a few pairs remaining that didn’t fit him, therefore he ran the marathon barefoot (he previously had been running barefoot). Abebe won the gold medal in a time of 2hr 15min. Following the marathon, addressing an inquiry as to the reasons he competed without shoes, Bikila answered: “I wanted the whole world to know that my country, Ethiopia, has always won with determination and heroism.

1964 Olympic Marathon in Tokyo:
Forty days prior to the marathon Abebe was operated on for an acute appendicitis and at one stage it was thought that he might be unable to run. He went on to win this marathon in a world record time of 2hr 12min, being the 1st runner to win two Olympic marathons. Abebe had been wearing Puma shoes in the race (which Abebe Bikila also ran in to come 5th in the 1963 Boston Marathon).

He is a light to mild heel striker with a few midfoot strikes also. Despite that, he is not overstriding and could crack a world record. Bikila is frequently idolized by the barefoot running online community as a idol for running the marathon without running shoes (together with other elite athletes). Pundits of this love to point out that he did compete faster and break a world record when using footwear.

As part of his legacy, the minimalist running shoe producer, Vibram FiveFingers have the Bikila label of their range named after him. Early in 2015, the descendants of Abebe Bikila reported they were taking a law suit against Vibram for registering the ‘Bikila’ title without having authorization.