After finishing the 2009 Miami marathon, I was burned out on running. The I read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. This masterpiece of non-fiction writing inspired me to start running again … only without shoes!

There are a lot of different benefits of running barefoot, many that a lot of people may not know of. When you think of running, you immediately go to running shoes and the different brands that are offered but sometimes just running with the feet you have on your body can be enough to get a good workout in and have your body feeling refreshed and fit.

One of the best benefits of running barefoot is the strength it can provide for your body. Running while barefoot can give your tendons and ligaments and workout that shoes can sometimes prevent from happening. You are training your body to have a more natural stride and finesse that shows can sometimes hinder because you learn to run with the way shoes require you to rather than how you would run while barefoot.

Along with giving you a more authentic pace and workout for your body, running barefoot can also help you improve balance. Your newfound level of balance can help you stay grounded while you are running and completely aligned with the floor beneath you. You develop new ways of keeping your toes and feet more solid and perpendicular to your body and keeps your movements confined in a way that feels more natural and comfortable than with shoes.

Along with these benefits can come some negatives, however. One of the biggest negatives with running barefoot is that it can be very painful. It is no secret that if you have great running shoes on, you are given a level of comfort, security, and stability that you would not be able to get by running barefoot. You lose that benefit the moment you remove your socks and shoes, and in the end that is not worth it to some people.

Another negative to running barefoot is that you may feel you are actually working out inefficiently than if you would just use running shoes. When your mind and body are used to working out a certain way, and you adapt to do something different, that can take a phase of transition that may hinder your workout or even cause you to regress before getting better.

There are certain pros and cons to running barefoot but you just have to decide what is worth it and what is not. We all have our reasons for running the way we do, but only you can choose the best decision for yourself before making that commitment.