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I told you so, Barefoot Running is bad!


I know a few people do not agree with my VFF running.  And A lot are waiting till I get injured because of it.

Tez is happy to throw it at the balcony …

A lot are curiuos, everytime I wear my Vibram Five Fingers Sprints, Never would a day be missed without asking me about it.  As i wrote before that running barefoot depends on who is running on it and how you plan to run with it.  Sure, a lot of writings and research says that running barefoot eliminates injuries, teach you proper form.  And yet again, it is case to case basis as i remember saying in my VFF review, that what would work for one might not work for all.

My first running shoe was a Nike Free and I never did get injure, so I went back for it lat year and I am still running on them.  And got myself a VFF Sprint.

The last time I can remember wearing my Sprints on the road was before Melbourne Marathon, and I got injured.  Which I am not sure which caused it.  The running of 33 Kms in my Nike frees the day before and running on VFF as recovery for just 7Kms. (Brendan thinks its the VFF that caused it! I still deny it did :p)

Anyway, I have heard that one of our Woodie die hard barefoot runner, Mani who has ran in his ultra Marathon in his VFF KSO, is injured with Stress Fracture.  Then I learned someone who as been wearing one again had Plantar Fasciitis.  And another, a friend’s brother who’s friend with Mani has stress fracture!!

Disclaimer, this is not against barefoot runners, and as they said knowledge is power, I do not want to be biased about barefoot running as I try to mimick some runs in barefoot however their are still questions underlying this form of running, not unless you were born and had a way of life that involved cracked soles, i mean barefoot in everyday lives just like the very early days!

What is the relationship between barefoot running and plantar fasciitis?

At Michael Warburton’s review on barefoot running that I totally demolished, he claimed:

“One of the most common chronic injuries in runners is planter fasciitis, or an inflammation of the ligament running along the sole of the foot. There is some evidence that the normally unyielding plantar fascia acts as the support for the medial longitudinal arch, and that strain on the proximal fascial attachment during foot strike leads to plantar fasciitis (Robbins and Hanna, 1987). Barefoot running may induce an adaptation that transfers the impact to the yielding musculature, thus sparing the fascia and accounting for the low incidence of plantar fasciitis in barefoot populations (Robbins and Hanna, 1987).”

Plantar fasciitis is due to too high a load in the plantar fascia that is higher than what the structure can adapt to. A number of risk factors have been shown by the evidence to increase the risk for plantar fasciitis – all of those factors increase the load in the plantar fascia. The treatment of plantar fasciitis involves using strategies to reduce that load and to get the tissues to heal. It does not matter if you run barefoot or not.

How about Stress Fractures?

This are just compilation of feedback from internet users in this forum:
Tom Baker November 2, 2009 at 3:24 pm
I’d rethink these If I were you! I have run for about a year and a half now with sneakers and had no issues. I bought the Vibrams with the hope to increase my times and gain better form. Well in one month I did get faster and improved my time and pace, however I broke my foot from a stress fracture! These damned things offer no shock absorption and thus caused a stress fracture. Now I’m screwed. I can’t run for 6 to 8 weeks. I’m miserable, Thanks Vibram! Thanks for nothing but pain.

Now I’m fielding questions from every runner that I meet asking WTF was I thinking running with these. I don’t even have an answer…. friggin’ shoes.

Chris H April 26, 2010 at 12:30 pm
I also recently broke my 4th metatarsal wearing the VFF. I have been wearing them for 6+ months, about 50 miles per week… and then the pain showed up on an everyday run. I didn’t land on it funny or anything.

I’m really torn about what to do. I’ve never enjoyed running more than in the VFF, but I think they were a major cause of my broken foot. I’ve been running 50+ miles per week for years and this is the first significant injury I’ve had.

Brett V April 28, 2010 at 8:01 am
I am responding to all of those that hurt themselves with the VFF’s. I am an avid marathon runner that recently switched to Vibrams in February. I will say that because I was so excited about these shoes, I probably started running on them too much too soon. My first two weeks I only put in 3-5 miles with each run. Granted, I did some barefooting on the beach a few weeks before.

Anyway, I continued my marathon training and didn’t have any big problems, I loved running with them. However, two weeks ago I put a stress fracture on the upper side of my foot, 2nd and 3rd metatarsal. It occurred on a regular, and almost light, run a week after I had run 20 miles. I am so confused and torn what to do/think. I loved running with my VFF’s but received advice from the doctor not to.

I agree with the whole barefoot movement, but I wonder if I am one of those “classic cases” who jumped on the bandwagon before properly researching all necessary prep work. Also, my doctor said he fears barefooting is the next gravity shoe fiasco where people will only realize their injuries after significant time and it becomes a fad. Thoughts?…roduct-review/

Ron Ernst: I loved my VFF but I just got a stress fracture and my Dr. said that he gets a lot of folks with the same injury that are wearing them. Before you assume I am some rookie, I eased into my miles for about 9 months and it was a short run. Now I am bummed and I am unsure if should try them anymore.
April 21 at 12:37am · Report…0 &comments=1

Tom Sturdy
I am a triathlete based in the UK. Fed up with a constant stream of injuries I started barefoot running early this year. Initially I did this under my own initiative, unaware of the growing community that exists online (unfortunately I’m the only person who has ‘seen the light’ around where I live!). I have been doing pretty much all of my running in vibram five-fingers but have recently encountered a bit of problem picking up a stress fracture in my second metatarsal. This is a little disconcerting as I had been running regularly in the five-fingers for some months without issue prior to this. I did have very weak, flat feet. Since using five-fingers my foot strength has improved but my feet are still flat and I think I have a way to go before I could call them strong.I was wondering if you could offer any advice as to how to get back into barefoot running (once the fracture heals) in such a way that this does not happen again! I have thought that maybe my transition was not slow enough (despite conscious efforts to built it very gradually over 6 months) and that i should ditch the five-fingers so give me even more feedback and proprioception.

Many thanks for you help!!
Tom Sturdy
slownlow-rw says:
2010/04/ at 11:34 pm
That was a very fair and balanced article, thank you. As a runner who runs primarily barefoot, but does supplement his running with Vibram five fingers, I wish you would have addressed the “dangers” of the Vibrams. The comment above mine demonstrates the problem with them. A second run in Vibrams of 3 miles is too long; the Vibrams need to be adjusted to in the same manner that you would adjust to barefoot running, very slowly. Quite a few of us that started our journey into barefoot running using Vibrams learned the hard way that the Vibrams do a wonderful job of preventing the pain that you would experience if you were barefoot, but that pain is there to warn you that you are doing too much too soon. I am not the only Vibram user that ended up with a metatarsal stress fracture because I ran miles in them that I wasn’t ready to run. Running barefoot with poor form hurts; you eventually will naturally improve your form just because your body wants the pain to stop. That pain just does not happen with Vibrams, you can run far enough to cause damage, not just pain, which is why most barefoot runners recommend learning to run barefoot first, and then use the Vibrams as a supplement for technical trails and such.…d-running.html


Kevin A. Kirby, DPM
Adjunct Associate Professor
Department of Applied Biomechanics
California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt College



And so on …

Our Woodie Japanese Bullet, kazu was curiuos on my shoe and got himsef one, after few tries on TNTs, he gave up.  He told me too sore in the calves.

Yes that is right, you get Sore calf and achilles pain on your transition and training with the VFF.  and do not push it.  Rest and as been said before never break it in in a long distance.  I never have any calf or achilles pain anymore after 10 months of running with it.  Now I am just running with it at Thursday Night Intervals at the track. It is my Thursday shoes.

All I can say is there is a word called COMMON SENSE! you run with a shoe you run barefoot you run in minimal footwear, anything in excessive is bad for you.

Planning to get VFF Komodos, which seem to have good revivews, it says have better support (thicker rubber), just like KSO.  I almost bought Bikilas, But i never liked them feeling its too thick material for me and its just like wearing real shoes :P.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 20/03/2011 6:38 pm

    In public school, during the school sports fest, as P.E. coordinator, i assigned teachers to facilitate each event. As feedback from running events, the pupils run faster if they are barefooted. Yes, its true! Mostly, public school pupils are not used of wearing shoes. It has been tested also that during the Division sports fest, where each are required to wear rubber shoes, our best runner ran slow. A lesson to learn from our P.E. Supervisor “Correct practice makes you perfect” .

    I know what you mean yoj. I had schoolmates who were the same and still prefer to run barefoot and do better in their times.

  2. 22/03/2011 5:01 am

    I also succumbed to a metatarsal stress fracture when I began running in my VFF’s over a year ago, but I attribute that to just doing too much, too soon. I wasn’t a runner before I bought them and was just excited to get out and use them, that I did so without even considering proper technique or easing into it. But that being said, now I have learned how to properly run “barefoot” and have not had any problems. Whenever I talk to people who are considering getting a pair I always advise them to take it slow and if they’re are going to run in them, consider going to a barefoot running clinic before hand, which are usually put on by local running clubs.

    I agree 🙂

  3. 27/03/2011 4:54 am

    I know I would fond it really difficult to run barefoot. 42 years ago at boarding school the runners we wore had such thin soles it was almost like running barefoot. I didn’t enjoy feeling every pebble and lump back then. I am sure that for some people it is the ideal thing but as someone who has experienced the huge change in running shoe technology over the decades I’ll stick with proper running shoes.

    I understand what you mean. I think it still a personal preference and comfort. I like my VFF but I think, I will not run them again on concrete, unless I get myself the Komodos which has thicker soles than the sprints. I did notice too that my times were slower with my sprints (although the name suggests otherwise). So on races, I wear shoes ;-), on track and grass training runs, barefoot/minimalist shoes is okey – personally.

  4. Chris bushaw permalink
    02/04/2011 3:48 pm

    Is this a legit site to buy VFF’s from?

    Hi Chris,
    No this are ripoffs. Check for the right color and appearance, the one you are looking at hav none standard colors and inferiorly made. You can get the legit stores here:

  5. permalink
    20/03/2012 12:11 am

    Simply want to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness in your post is just spectacular and i could assume you’re an expert in this subject. Well along with your permission allow me to grasp your feed to stay up to date with forthcoming post. Thank you 1,000,000 and please carry on the rewarding work.

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