My goal has been pretty simple: I want to change the running world. That’s the dent I want to make in the universe. A few of my recent posts have touched on the topic indirectly, specifically changing my perception of the term “barefoot shoes” and my discussion about the nature of our changing audience. When started this journey, the idea of barefoot running was universally rejected by the shoe industry, running specialty, the medical community, and 99.9% of runners. Since that time, our community has made incredible progress, including:
- A fundamental shift in the way some companies design shoes,
- A staggering increase in shoes that actually allow good form,
- A growing list of companies that are actively educating their customers about good running form,
- A few minimalist-specific shoe stores have been started and prosper,
- More empirical research supporting the premise of natural running,
- A growing list of medical professionals that buy into the ideas of barefoot and minimalist shoe running,
- More and more runners sharing their experiences on their own blogs, forums, and social networks like Twitter and Facebook,
- A growing acceptance of the principles we follow within the world of running specialty,
- A growing number of runners experimenting with barefoot running,
- and most importantly, we’ve planted the seed that barefoot running is the most effective way to learn good running form.
Slowly but surely, we’re undoing the damage created when the running world blindly accepted the ideas of the raised heel motion control running shoe a few decades ago. The best part- the rise in interest in natural movement is centered on the idea that barefoot running is a legitimate tool to learn good form… if not the BEST way to learn good form.
So where do we go from here? How do we maintain this momentum? Here are a few ideas:
1. Start a blog to document your journey. Yes, I know there are a ton of barefoot running blogs out there. Regardless, even if your experiences have a positive impart on at least one other person, you’ll have provided a valuable gift. The more voices we have in the conversation, the more all of us learn. Never underestimate your own ability to make an impact!
2. Participate in forums. Forums have been a staple of our community for years. Runner’s World, the Barefoot Runners Society, Ted’s Google Group, BirthdayShoes… all are excellent collections of great people that are more than willing to learn and share from each other. Being part of one or more of those communities will enrich your experience. BTW- I post on all four as “Last Place Jason.”
3. Connect with local runners. That goes for both barefoot runners and shod runners. Start with your local running store. Inquire about running groups. Actively participate. you’ll meet some great friends! While you’re at the running store, ask about your favorite minimalist shoes. Also check to see if there’s a Barefoot Runners Society group in your area. If not, consider starting one!
4. Keep an open mind. There is no real consensus about many facets of barefoot running, especially considering the individual nature of the activity. Experiment with new ideas, keep what works, discard what doesn’t. Don’t rule out anything. Also keep an open mind about others. Don’t be too dogmatic if you have immediate success. Not everybody is going to share in your enthusiasm, especially if they’re perfectly happy in
foot coffins raised heel motion control shoes. You can play a role of teacher, but it’s usually best to let people approach you first.
What do you think? As we close in on the tipping point of this idea, what can we do to maintain momentum? What have you done that has led to success? What would you add to this list?