Archive for the ‘Research’ category

Meet-up with Dr. Dan Lieberman, ever-practical barefoot rockstar

March 21, 2010

Despite the difficulty of parking in Cambridge on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, I enjoyed yesterday’s clinic put on by the Metro Boston Barefoot Runners. Particularly interesting and useful was chatting with Dr. Daniel Lieberman whose recent study, Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners, represents some of the most extensive research in the field to date.

Photo courtesy of Ken Skier

After running 16 miles training for the London Marathon, Dan Lieberman joined about twenty of us yesterday afternoon first in the rec room of a church and then on the Cambridge Green. Dan is not an M.D., he’s an Evolutionary Biologist and runs the Skeletal Biology Lab at Harvard. One of his primary areas of research is “the biology and evolution of endurance running.” Thus, he’s thought a lot more about how people run and how feet work than most podiatrists. To say that his perspective is an informed one is an understatement.

I’ve not seen the lab (maybe sometime) but (more…)


A shot of Bikila

March 18, 2010

The much anticipated Vibram Five Fingers Bikila seems to have been cloaked in mystery. Maybe this is just the way Vibram operates, but they’ve been almost Apple-like in keeping closed lips about launch date and final design of the minimalist shoe. It’s kind of a surprise, I guess, to those in the barefoot running community to learn that Vibram never really designed their footwear or running. So, it’s very exciting to see what they come up with when they put their mind to it…Bikila!

Birthday Shoes posts three new stories on the Bikila. None are a lot more illuminating than past info, but they do confirm (sorta) that April is the release month, and more importantly, one of the stories tells you how you can enter a contest for a free pair.

Go for it!!! And let me know if you hear anything.

Let’s get physical

March 12, 2010

There has been a preponderance of press in the wake of the Lieberman study, and most of the articles read the same. So, I was surprised to see an piece a few weeks ago that actually didn’t mention Lieberman! More importantly, however, it’s a very good survey of barefoot running from the perspective of physical therapists. In my experience, PTs are often more practical than docs and generally provide very useful, pragmatic advice. In my estimation, this article from is no exception. It’s mostly directed at those new to barefoot running, but even experienced runners can benefit from reminders and new perspectives now an then.

Who is behind the “Barefoot Running is Bad” site?

March 9, 2010

I suppose I should just ignore and not contribute to the traffic, but really bugs me. The smug, arrogant attitude seems somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Fine. Clearly he’s (or she’s, though I think there’s a lower incidence of jerkism amongst women) trying to be provocative with statements like, “Members of the barefoot running community are not particularly bright people.” Fine. But I’ve got a real pet peeve with blogs, particularly provocative ones, that don’t accept comments or provide any mechanism for feedback of any sort.

There is an email address provided (more…)

Prose about toes

February 27, 2010

Barefoot Jason just published a great review of the Vibram Five Fingers KSOs that he’s put 600 miles on. He actually knows whereof he speaks!

Barefoot running teacher…my foot

February 23, 2010

Ken Bob Saxton is the man. According to Wikipedia, Barefoot Ken Bob is the Godfather of barefoot running, and that’s consistent with my experience. I am one of the countless rookie runners BKB has gone out of his way to advise. He’s a busy guy, but he took the time to respond twice to my post on Sunday.

Normally a very patient teacher (ala the Shoalin priests in Kung Fu) he bristled at me a few weeks ago when I too readily concluded that winter barefoot running in New England doesn’t work. “Open your mind,” said KB. I did, and was out running in 15 degrees a week later. The only time BKB really loses it is in response to the cardinal oxymoron: barefoot running shoes. Barefoot means barefoot.

His madness is not without method. His most consistent (more…)

The shoe must go on

February 18, 2010

I’ve written a few time about Vibrams, but as I mentioned in The Great Oxymoron there are a number of other minimalist shoes positioned as the thing to wear when you are not able to go barefoot. I’m still trying to figure out what the whole barefoot thing means to me, but at this point, my focus is purely on running barefoot. The VFFs are in support of that end and they seem to be doing the job.

I’m not out out trying other shoes, but I am interested in a number of the shoe options that are more for people who want to maintain the feeling of the ground under their feet while walking around town. Birthday Shoes, a site that I thought was pretty dedicated to VFFs, just published a nice review of the Terra Plana Vivo Barefoot Aqua. I gotta admit they look and sound pretty cool and although they are pricy, Barefoot Shoes offers a promo code that knocks 30% off the price. That almost brings them into the range of my cheapskate standards. But given my running focus, I still think the next shoes I buy will be the VFF Bikilas when they are available in April.