Barefoot Running Considerations
Things to Consider
Choosing a surface: Hard or soft? The answer might surprise you. It’s commonly thought that running on hard surfaces will immediately cause injuries and that all novice barefoot runners should stick to grass or sand. But this may not be the case. With proper forefoot or midfoot strike form, running on hard surfaces can be comfortable and safe. In fact, some experts suggest that the best way to learn proper barefoot running form is to begin on a smooth, hard surface such as pavement.
Running on soft surfaces such as grass, dirt trails, or sand can be extremely pleasurable, too. Oftentimes, they force us to use more of the muscles in our feet and ankles to compensate for the lack of regularity—something to consider if you are still a beginner with weaker foot muscles. Just know that the softer the surface, the less likely you are to land lightly and with the most compliance.
Whichever surface you choose, make sure to select a controlled, familiar environment to begin your training. Don’t venture too far from your starting point in case you need to stop and pack it in for the day. “Choosing” a surface actually means learning where to place your feet and how to negotiate every single step. In time, it becomes a high-speed reiterative process and contributes to a wonderful feeling of self-awareness.