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Barefootedness: The Debate

Posted by on Jun 18, 2012 | 12 Comments

My friends Caity and Vanessa recently opened channels of dialogue regarding barefootedness and the use of shoes, which is a major issue for some in our community.

Caity did so in an interview with Barefoot Jamie of Pennsylvania which can be found on her Run Barefoot Girl site here:

Caity’s podcast

Vanessa posted a video rebuttal to many of Jamie’s comments from the podcast. Her video can be found here:

Vanessa’s vid

While I have a ton of opinions on the subject, I’d like to know your thoughts and opinions. Leave them in the comments!



And yes, this is me stalling to get my Bighorn race report finished. 😉



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  1. Ludo
    June 20, 2012

    Seriously, who the fuck cares what someone else wears on his/her feet??

    IMO, the whole debate BF vs shoes is about freedom.
    Feel free to wear whatever you want without being judged.

    Go out, run, stay uninjured, free your mind and enjoy the journey… and let the trolls do the talking 😉

  2. Ludo
    June 20, 2012

    Seriously, who the fuck cares what someone else wears on his/her feet??

    IMO, the whole debate BF vs shoes is about freedom.
    Feel free to wear whatever you want without being judged.

    Go out, run, stay uninjured, free your mind and enjoy the journey!

  3. BarefootGate – ha that’s a funny play on words » Run Barefoot Girl
    June 19, 2012

    […] Jason Robillard was smart enough to let his readers do the writing in his “Barefootedness: The Debate” […]

  4. BF in AZ
    June 19, 2012

    I don’t think the decision whether to put on shoes should be stressful. For me, it’s mostly a question of what sounds the most fun today (keeping in mind that blisters and frostbite are not fun). However, I do think that people will benefit from doing some barefoot running, even if they don’t plan to run barefoot in the future. The rest of my comment got too long, so I turned it into a blog post:

  5. Flint
    June 19, 2012

    I have had conversations about this in the past, even some over here with you, Jason.

    I just want to say that I highly doubt this dude goes through the winter barefoot, unless he doesn’t stay for more than, say 15-20 minutes outside at a time?

    If he does more than that, I postulate there might be 2 reasons for it :

    1- He’s into that meditation thing (I can’t remember the name) That makes you mind-control your body temperature, or

    2- He is physically insensitive to cold, which doesn’t remove the very concrete and medical reality of frost bite.

    So either he spends only very small – and miserable – amounts of time outside when it gets seriously cold (say less than 25 degress F), or he’s into fakir-esque feats of mind-over-body only to prove a point.

    So I call bullshit on the 100% barefoot lifestyle in Pennsylvania, or a devotion to the “barefoot lifestyle” so manic that it doesn’t even make sense and should not be suggested to others.

    As for the judging of others’ choices, “live and let live” is all I have to say.

  6. NickW
    June 19, 2012

    I tried to listen to the podcast but after about ten minutes of listening to it, it seemed to keep going in circles and I lost interest. I say if you want to wear shoes, go ahead. If you want to be barefoot, go ahead. I prefer the mostly barefoot method for myself, but why should I or anyone else care if someone else wears footwear? Jaime sounded like he was just surprised that a prominent figure in the bf world wore shoes occasionally (in the ten minutes or so I listened). Unfortunately, being in the lime light, as Caity is, puts her under more scrutiny than someone like me (a nobody). This is a fact of life for any “celebrity” or public figure, right or wrong.

  7. Bare Lee
    June 19, 2012

    Who has time to listen to podcasts? Anyway: ‘Live and let live.’ Is that so hard?

  8. Gavin Heywood
    June 18, 2012

    Hi Jason,

    Can’t find any other way to contact you. I ordered your book in early April and it still hasn’t come. Kinda busting to have it so I can read it!!!

    Please look into it for me.

    Gavin Heywood, Manilla, Australia

  9. Sam H.
    June 18, 2012

    Share this idea with your mechanic, city water guy, electrician, police officer, your plumber, etc… and they’ll tell you how silly and painful the barefoot life style would be for them.

    I think it’s fine it you can go all barefoot, all the time. I prefer to keep my feet and toes in tact.

  10. Ahcuah
    June 18, 2012

    As far as I can tell, Vanessa completely misinterpreted what Jaime said, and failed to put anything he said in context.

    He never said that others had to do what he was doing. However, he did wonder about those who really seemed to be into a barefoot lifestyle, but seemed to keep coming up with excuses not do follow through.

    Regarding tools as shoes, Jaime only discussed that when it pertained to himself–he does not include that tool in his toolset. But he never said that others couldn’t.

    • Kenneth
      June 18, 2012

      I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Vanessa “completely misinterpreted” what Jaime said, but she did seem to take some of the things he said farther than i think he meant them (if that makes any sense).

      Jaime is obviously someone on one end of the spectrum when it comes to the barefoot lifestyle (he doesn’t even own a pair of shoes). I believe that not everyone who enjoys barefooting is that “gung-ho” about it. But to each their own.

      I think the disconnect is between a “barefoot lifestyle” versus “barefoot runners”. Sometimes they are one in the same, but many times, they are not. I’ll be the last one to claim that running in minimalist shoes is barefoot running. In my book (just like Jaime’s), if it is not “skin-to-ground” then it is not barefoot. However, I don’t run races barefooted, because the shoe is a tool that helps me run faster or longer on technical terrain. As long as my shoe is zero drop (or at least no more than 4mm), and I am running with good barefoot form, what is the harm?

      I’m not the type of guy to stroll into stores or restaurants barefoot to make a statement, I would rather just throw on some flip-flops out of courtesy to the owners and other patrons. It doesn’t hurt my feet to wear those every once in a while.

      Finally, I have to wholeheartedly agree with Vanessa that going barefoot is about freedom to do so if/when you want to. Without discrimination from either side.

      • Ahcuah
        June 18, 2012

        OK. I’ll (in spirit) remove my “completely” from my comment. There is some degree of misunderstanding in that Vanessa thought Jaime was referring to everybody with the least bit of barefootedness about them, when in fact Jaime was mainly referring to himself, and also to those who like barefooting, have the opportunity to stretch their barefooting, and then for some unknown reason back away from it.