Barefoot running may sound crazy at first and is often associated with hippies and dropouts. But very few people think about the fact that we were born barefoot. Before modern high-tech footwear was invented, we walked, ran and jumped barefoot or with improvised minimal shoes.
Why run barefoot at all
Many come to barefoot running because they feel increasingly severe problems in their joints when running. Visits to the doctor, even to specialists, often lead to little improvement. An injection to relieve pain and advice to stop running to protect the joints are common approaches. For athletes who need running as a balance, this can be quite frustrating.
The question is why the human species develops such joint problems in the course of its life, which do not occur at all in the animal world. What do we do differently or even wrong? Quite simply, we wear shoes that alter our natural movement patterns.
Running shoes can cause joint problems
Modern running shoes are designed to be slightly higher in the heel area and have a high level of cushioning. For most runners, this causes the heel of the foot to bounce and the overall length of the steps to increase significantly. The hard landing of the foot via the heel leads to a strong shock wave that goes through the whole body and eventually becomes apparent in the joints. The strong cushioning characteristics of running shoes buffer the strong shock slightly, but the joints are still stressed with every step.
What happens when running barefoot?
The movement is intuitively adapted in barefoot running. After the first steps, which are often still performed as usual, the movement is quickly modified. Landing on the heel is much too hard and shocks the whole body. Without thinking about it, the step is adjusted to avoid the unpleasant, hard landing of the foot. Quite automatically, the foot is placed more on the ball of the foot to cushion the step. This makes the stride much shorter than when wearing running shoes.
Unfortunately, nowadays we already stop the development of the foot muscles in small children by putting them in shoes. When you run barefoot, your whole foot is working. As a result, you build muscles and your feet become much bigger and wider. Where muscles are needed and exercised regularly, they will develop.
In addition to the muscle growth in the foot area, you have another positive effect thanks to the numerous nerve pathways that end in the foot. The sensors in your feet perceive the impulses from the ground and transmit them to your brain. At first, this can be unfamiliar or perhaps even a little overwhelming. In the end, however, the so-called sensory feedback is extremely important because it protects us from injuries. In a flash, the movement is intuitively adjusted when it becomes prickly, slippery, sandy or rocky. The interaction of sensory feedback and strong muscles and ligaments ensures that every run is absolutely stable and safe.
Animals in the wild can escape in the blink of an eye whenever they feel they are in danger. Even in escape mode, the movement is always safe and controlled. This would no longer work if you tied something to their hooves or paws, because the sensory feedback would be completely lost.
Switch to barefoot running
As already mentioned above, when running barefoot, normally the foot comes to rest more on the ball than on the heel. This avoids the unpleasant strong shock that often leads to pain in the joints. However, for many people it is not only the foot that has changed as a result of permanently wearing shoes, but the entire gait pattern.
Most people manage the transition to barefoot running quite well after a certain period of acclimatisation. Others complain of pain and return to their conventional sports shoes. If you feel pain in your joints and ligaments after running, this is always an indication of overuse. This can have two causes:
1. your movement is correct, but your muscles, tendons and ligaments are not yet used to barefoot running.
2. your running style is not optimal and therefore damages your muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Since it is probably difficult for you to judge for yourself whether you have an optimal running style, it is advisable to consult a barefoot coach. They are specialised in analysing and correcting your posture. With the support of a special coach for barefoot walking or barefoot running, you can be sure that you will develop a healthy and natural running technique.
Barefoot running with barefoot shoes
Barefoot shoes or minimal shoes are the happy medium between wearing special running shoes and natural barefoot running without shoes. Our ZAQQ barefoot shoes are designed to allow your foot muscles to work optimally. Our special design of highly flexible sole and wide cut ensures natural movement despite wearing a shoe. In addition, the sensory feedback is almost completely preserved thanks to the extremely thin barefoot sole.
The advantages of our running barefoot shoes are obvious. Your feet are protected from cold and heat, and you don't have to worry about getting hurt by sharp stones or broken glass. Nevertheless, your foot muscles work just like in barefoot running and the sensory feedback forwards the impulses to adjust the running movement according to requirements.
Which ZAQQ barefoot shoes are suitable for jogging or running?
In general, you can also run with all of our barefoot shoes. However, we have developed certain running barefoot shoes that are made of particularly breathable materials. Especially for sports activities, it is important to wear a barefoot shoe that is well ventilated and quickly transports humidity to the outside.
Our ZAQQ barefoot running shoes provide you with incredible comfort and support you in developing a natural running style.
Feel free, feel ZAQQ!