Running the marathon barefoot

Abebe Bikila was a runner from Ethiopia who, running his first marathon won the Rome Olympics marathon on 10 September 1960 running barefoot without running shoes. He was a last minute addition to the Ethiopian team and the teams sponsor did not have enough time to organize running shoes for him and they had only two pairs left, of which neither was able to fitt him. He decided he would then run the race barefoot. At the subsequent Olympics in Tokyo in 1964, he again won the marathon, but did it this time wearing running shoes. He died in 1973 at the age of 41 from complications following a motor vehicle accident. Abebe Bikila is honored and revered in Ethiopia.

Abebe Bikila has a special place in the history of running, especially from those who advocate barefoot running as they hold him up as evidence that a marathon can be run barefoot. There was a fad a while back for doing away with running shoes and running barefoot. This was driven by a lot of websites, forums, books and social media commentary as something that was beneficial and better for runners. Lots of unsubstantiated claims was made for barefoot running, none of which stood up to subsequent scrutiny. This fad last a few years, probably peaking around 2013 with probably 25% of runners trying or dabbling it. The fad quickly dropped off when most who tried it got and injury or realized that it did not live up to all the claims that got made for it. It has now been relegated to the history books, with only a handful of hardcore barefoot runners still doing it.

There has been a lot of research done on barefoot running that those who like to support and advocate barefoot running offer as evidence that barefoot running was better than running in shoes. However, the research never showed that at all and was widely misinterpreted. All the research showed was that barefoot running was different to running in running shoes.

There were claims made that the first sub 2-hr marathon was going to be run barefoot. The folly of that claim is now obvious.

Advertisement:

Bestseller No. 1
Inov-8 Men's Bare-XF 210 V3 - Minimal Barefoot Trail Running Shoes - Black/Gum - 10.5
  • ZERO DROP - Zero lift allow steady for deadlifts and stable footing so you can get that natural feel as near to being barefoot as you can without taking your shoes off.
  • WIDE TOE BOX - Plenty of space in the forefoot allows you to spread out the toes and provides a solid base for weightlifting so you can feel secure in your stance.
  • STICKY RUBBER GRIP - A patented stick rubber on the outsole guarantees a non-slip grip so you can feel confidence in your stance when weightlifting.
  • MINIMAL CUSHIONING - These lightweight trainers have minimal support so you can feel more balanced, agile and connected to the ground during indoor workouts for that true barefoot experience.
  • VERSATILE EVERYDAY SHOE - Perfect for everyday wear and multipurpose gym. These minimalist trainers are perfect for deadlifting and squatting.
SaleBestseller No. 2
WHITIN Men's Trail Running Shoes Minimalist Barefoot 5 Five Fingers Wide Width Toe Box Gym Workout Fitness Low Zero Drop Male Light Weight Comfy Lite Tennis FiveFingers Black Size 10
  • A wide toe box lets your toes spread and relax.
  • Produced using animal free products and processes.
  • Removable sockliner (insole) if you want a “more barefoot” feeling.
  • True rubber sole provides great protection while still getting the ground feedback.
  • Note, if between sizes, order next size down
Bestseller No. 3
Barefoot Running Step by Step: Barefoot Ken Bob, The Guru of Shoeless Running, Shares His Personal Technique For Running With More
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Wallack, Roy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 244 Pages - 05/01/2011 (Publication Date) - Fair Winds Press (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 4
TSLA Men's Trail Running Shoes, Lightweight Athletic Zero Drop Barefoot Shoes, Non Slip Outdoor Walking Minimalist Shoes, Barefoot Shoes Black & Grey, 10.5
  • Alert : True to size ! Recommend ordering usual shoe size
  • ex: usual size MEN 7 (D) > MEN 7(D)
  • TSLA's Zero-Drop Barefoot Shoes© designed for performance and outdoor trail activities.
  • [Slightly cushioned zero-drop sole] Offers barefoot feel of the terrain that stimulates and develops the bottom muscles the of foot for better stability.
  • [Dura Nylon Band] For instep support and a enhanced tight fit.
Bestseller No. 5
Barefoot Running: How to Run Light and Free by Getting in Touch with the Earth
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Sandler, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 322 Pages - 09/20/2011 (Publication Date) - Crown (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 6
Nike Men's Free RN 2018 Nylon Running Shoes 8.5 Black/White
  • Circular-knit upper is made with spandex for natural movement.
  • Dynamic heel fit system supports from heel to ankle.
  • Tri-star outsole pattern adapts to your step for flexible cushioning.
  • Minimal, molded sockliner mimics the curvature of the foot to add support.
  • Anatomical heel is rounded to roll with the ground, promoting a more natural range of motion.
Bestseller No. 7
Barefoot Running – The Movie: How to Run Light and Free by Getting in Touch with the Earth (Visually Stunning, Includes Getting Started, Proper Form, Drills, Minimalist Footwear, Stretching and More) by Sandler and Lee (US VERSION – REGION FREE)
  • Everything You Need to Begin Running Barefoot or in Minimalist Shoes
  • 76 Minutes and 17 Chapters of Instruction and Inspiration for All Levels
  • Bonus Material plus English Subtitles - US VERSION - REGION FREE
  • Spectacular Cinematography Filmed on Maui, HI and Boulder, CO
  • Inspirational Music Including Grammy Award-Winning Musician
Bestseller No. 8
Running Barefoot
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Amy Harmon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 439 Pages - 04/05/2012 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 9
Barefoot Walking: Free Your Feet to Minimize Impact, Maximize Efficiency, and Discover the Pleasure of Getting in Touch with the Earth
  • Harmony
  • Sandler, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 432 Pages - 03/26/2013 (Publication Date) - Harmony (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 10
Nike Womens Free RN Flyknit 2018 Running Athletic, Black/White (Black Upper), 9
  • The Nike Free RN Flyknit 2018 features a classic color combination on the innovative running shoe in women's sizing
  • The recrafted Free RN silhouette mimics the feeling of barefoot running while providing stellar protection for the foot
  • The sock-like fit is updated with more stretch, while the lightweight sole supports the foot's natural movement with a state-of-the-art auxetic tri-star pattern
  • Dressed with a lightweight Flyknit upper shaded in black, the side Swoosh makes its presence known in white

I get commissions for purchases made through links on this website. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.