Video Tutorial #156 – “Some People Say Don’t Run Barefoot! It’s Not Safe Or Healthy For You!”

Your friend and maybe even your doctor might have said to you… “Don’t Run Barefoot! It’s Not Safe Or Healthy For You!”

Is this good advice for everyone?

Read this and decide for yourself what is right for you…


Don’t Run Barefoot! It’s Not Safe Or Healthy for People!

It bothers me when I hear people are afraid to strive for a more barefoot lifestyle.

Have they read the latest research conducted by Harvard University published in Nature in 2010?

Why does this bother me when a doctor just puts out a blanket statement for everyone that barefoot running is wrong period?  

What would a better response?

When people inquire with their health care professional about barefoot running they should get this response:

Honest Answer:

I really don’t know, this is not my area of expertise but I will find someone who can give you the best answer.

My Answer:  

You can’t run barefoot at this time, but i will try to put a plan together to help you to do this safely.  After my analysis of how your bodes supportive mechanism handles standing, walking speeds, fast walking speeds, jogging speeds and running speeds, I determined that your supportive mechanism cannot handle the forces of these impacts barefoot at this time.

But, what I will do is work to attempt to release this mechanism from muscle spasms and joint tension, strengthen it and train it with progressive impacts to allow your body to adapt so it can handle the forces of the impacts of running without a support mechanism.  Then I will teach you the proper form and technique of barefoot running so you can reach your goal.


1.  Release The Tension on the Loading Mechanism So It Can Load Force into it – However I am going to treat you by releasing your spring mechanism with deep tissue treatments of the muscles and adjustments of your feet, and lower body.

2.  Strengthen The Spring Loading Mechanism So It Can Load MORE Force into it.  Then we are going to strengthen the landing gear muscles or the bodies spring suspension system with resistance training.  Then we will retest how your spring suspension system handles these forces of impact to see if you are ready for light impacts into a bare foot.

3.  Spring Train with Plyometrics and Barefoot Drills – After that, we will start you off teaching you barefoot walking, fast walking, jogging, then running.

The recommendation that you DO NOT RUN BAREFOOT! ITS NOT SAFE OR HEALTHY!  You might want to get a second opinion from a doctor that will check your barefoot gait to determine the integrity of your bodies landing mechanism. This helpful to see if your body can handle the forces of the landings at increasing speeds of movement.

Quoted in The New York Times on  Aug 14, 1991; Children with the healthiest and most supple feet are those who habitually go barefoot, according to Dr. Lynn T. Staheli and a growing number of other pediatric orthopedists. His studies of developing nations show that non-shoe-wearers have better flexibility and mobility, stronger feet, fewer deformities, and less complaints than those who wear shoes regularly. He says that, when a child must wear a shoe, it should be lightweight, flexible, shaped more or less quadrangularly, and above all, should not have the arch supports and stiff sides once deemed necessary to give the foot support. Many pediatric orthopedists strongly oppose “corrective” or “orthopedic” shoes for straightening foot and leg deformities like flat feet, pigeon toes, knock-knees, or bowlegs. Dr. Staheli and others contend that there is no evidence that corrective shoes correct anything, and that most of the supposed deformities correct themselves in almost all cases. read on…

I bring up the questions:

When you were a child were you able to run around barefoot?

Some people may not understand what you are trying to accomplish because the goal of barefoot running is not for them.

It is helpful if you seek treatment where there is an active rehabilitation center and those trained to guide you through towards this goal.  You should ask them if they know how to rehabilitate the lower extremity muscles, specifically, the muscles that help maintain the foot in the safe range between supination to pronation. (I CALL THIS THE ROLL) These are also the muscles that provide a safe loading of the forces of the landings into the foot when the mass impacts into the mechanism.  (I CALL IT THE SPRING)


Ill be honest with you, if you asked me how to prepare myself for barefoot running 15 years ago, I would not have been able to properly guide you.  So if you took advice from me 15 years ago about barefoot running went to someone who did not understand it or decided to try barefoot running cold with no advice and failed, you may have decided to give up and be left with the USED TO DO or USED TO BE ABLE TO DO.


Barefoot To Bedridden path 

You Are Born Barefoot

I used to be able to run barefoot, when I was a kid.

I used to be able to run fast when I was younger.

I used to be able to run.

I used to be able to run without motion control shoes.

I used to be able to run without orthotics and motion control shoes.

I used to be able to walk without orthotics and orthopedic shoes.

I used to be able to walk without orthotics and orthopedic shoes and this cane 

I used to be able to walk without orthotics and orthopedic shoes and this four prong walker

I used to be able to walk but now I have this wheel chair

I’m bedridden.

Some of us die bedridden.

I call this the ‘BAREFOOT TO BEDRIDDEN’ path.

I recommend a ‘BEDRIDDEN TO BAREFOOT’ approach.

You don’t have to be bedridden to start to move towards a barefoot lifestyle. You just have to look at where you are in that path and begin the process of recapturing what you used to be able to do by restoring your ability to do it again.  

All of the used to dos are a sign of aging, some normal aging and some accelerated aging. All patients have circumstances that lead them down this path however what I have found is the majority of them came to a crossroad in their life where they were losing the ability to do something.

If there are millions of people out there who run barefoot in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s like me, and even older, why can’t you do it?

I did a lecture in 2007 in front of 2000 medical doctors and scientists August 4th, 2007, Elastic Recoil Mechanisms Footwear And Their Effect On Performance And Premature Aging At The 15th Annual World Congress Of Anti-Aging Medicine And Regenerative Biomedical Technologies, Chicago, USA.

We have studies that show barefoot is healthier than shod.  There is a study published in Nature, in 2010, entitled, Foot Strike Patterns And Collision Forces In Habitually Barefoot Versus Shod Runners by Daniel E. Lieberman1, Madhusudhan Venkadesan1,2*, William A. Werbel3*, Adam I. Daoud1*, Susan D’Andrea4, Irene S. Davis5, Robert Ojiambo Mang’Eni6,7 & Yannis Pitsiladis6,7

The study found that habitually barefoot runners who forefoot landed had 7 times less transient forces than shod runners who heel landed.  

It did not say that runners who take off their shoes for the first time in their life and ran barefoot had less transient forces on their joints than they did when they ran shod. Habitually barefoot runners are those who have been running barefoot since childhood.

When we train we shouldn’t ever put a device on our joints that changes the tracking of the movement. If we do it WILL cause abnormal motion. Abnormal motion leads to stress and strain, which then leads to wear and tear and that stimulates the natural response of inflammation.

Here is what we know about inflammation and aging:

  1. Inflammation can be silent as in knots we feel only when we press on them.  I call this silent arthritic inflammation.
  2. Inflammation can raise to a point where it hurts.  I call this frank or painful arthritic inflammation.
  3. Inflammation can lay silently in the lungs, gut and even in the brain. I call this silent systemic inflammation.
  4. Constantly higher than normal levels of inflammation can cause aging.
  5. Inflammation can cause a lack of concentration.
  6. Inflammation can cause fatigue.
  7. Inflammation can lead to heart disease and other diseases of aging

Inflammation and Heart Disease (Understand the risks of inflammation) by the American Heart Association  read on… click here to read the full article 

AHA/CDC Scientific Statement – Markers of Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease – Application to Clinical and Public Health Practice: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Heart Association. click here to read the full article 

This is how we understand the effects of footwear on the body and it’s systems through simple principles which we know to be true. These principles have been proven by science and considered standards of care or standard principles of training.

The first law of nature I’d like to bring up is the law of adaptation.

Taken from How I Got My Wiggle Back by Anthony Field and Greg Truman

As Professor Thomas D. Fahey of California State University wrote in 1998, “the body will adapt to the stress of exercise with increased fitness if the stress is above a minimum, threshold intensity.

“The purpose of physical training is to stress systematically the body so it improves its capacity to exercise. Physical training is beneficial only as long as it forces the body to adapt to the stress of physical effort. If the stress is not sufficient to overload the body then no adaptation occurs.”

Basically muscles will get bigger and stronger if they’re forced to contract at near-maximum tension (under healthy stress).

One significant difference between the human spring and a mechanical spring is ours can adapt – can change when stress is applied.

Positive adaptation means it gets stronger under this stress. Negative adaptation means it gets weaker without stress being applied or when the stress is derived from abnormal motion.

The goal when strengthening the spring (once it’s unlocked) is to use resistance exercises to develop positive adaptation. When it comes to the next step — super-charging the spring – impact routines (running, jumping: plyometrics training) are the tools to generate positive adaptation.

One more important consideration in this process: footwear – binding devices – prevents positive adaptation in the master spring.

Think back to Hooke’s Law as it applies to your foot. Shoes prevent the arch spring from being depressed to its capacity and so restrict the level of energy being recycled with every step.

The spring is not being ‘pushed’ to the maximum. The stress being applied is not above the minimum threshold intensity subsequently shoes induce negative adaptation on the arch spring.

Having a brace on the body only inhibits natural motion that reduces positive adaptation.  That is why doctors are quick to take the cast off your arm after its healed from a fracture.

You might be asking yourself this question:

How can I work out in a weight room with no shoes? I might drop a weight on my foot!  I believe some companies actually sell steel toed shoes for work but not for working out. Yet one can never be too safe in the gym.  One could find some rationale for bracing the elbows, shoulder and wrist when bench pressing as we could get injured during these activities.

What about impacts? They are bad, aren’t they?

For those who tell us that impacts are bad for us, how do you rationalize the fact that every top trainer has their athletes do plyometrics, which involves high impact drills if they want to develop a body that is more injury resistant, has a higher level of performance in quickness, speed, agility, balance, etc.

Who is right?

This is how to explain it.  Impacts are bad for people who’s bodies cannot take impacts.  For those who’s bodies are conditioned to take impacts safely it is fine and can even strengthen the ability to take impacts better in the future.

Here are the important questions that needed an answer:

  • If high impact training like running, plyometrics or spring training develops a stronger spring, giving athletes more speed, quickness, balance, coordination agility, and efficiency then — are reduced performance levels, loss of balance, poor coordination, less agility and an overall weakened performance the result of weakened impact resistance strength?
  • If the impact resistance or (spring) mechanism serves as a buffer between joints, protecting the body from injuries and allowing for stress- and strain-free motion, then could it be that the reason some patients have injuries that won’t heal is because they have a locked impact resistance (spring) mechanism?
  • If impact resistance (spring) strength is one secret to optimum performance then is the loss of human spring an important component to the decline of health?
  • If impact resistance (spring) defines our youth then does a loss of the impact resistance (spring) in the step define aging?

This is what is missing that we need to understand about the body that is currently misinterpreted.

The scientific and medical community says the body moves with lever systems. 

Lever Mechanism or Spring Mechanism

Who is right?

Do you think a lever mechanism can protect you from direct impact?

Does the spinal column look like a lever or a spring?

My theory says the body moves with impact resistance (spring) mechanisms and and lever systems when the impact resistance (spring) mechanisms break down the body resorts to the less protective and less efficient lever systems.  If I am right, does this mean the protocols for treatment and prevention should be changed to align with this model.

The sports science community already uses plyometric impact training to improve the function of the human body.  They refer to Hookes Law constantly when referring to how the body responds to impacts imparted with plyometric training.  Hookes Law is a law of physics which allows us to describe the function of the mechanical impact resistance (specifically springs).

In mechanics and physics, Hooke’s law of elasticity is an approximation that states that the extension of a spring is in direct proportion with the load applied to it. Many materials obey this law as long as the load does not exceed the material’s elastic limit. Materials for which Hooke’s law is a useful approximation are known as linear- elastic limit or “Hookean” materials. Hooke’s law in simple terms says that strain is directly proportional to stress. 

So assuming the body is a impact resistance (human spring)…

The body is engineering human spring-like structure supported by muscles, ligaments, tendons that absorb shock and recycle energy mechanism to allow more efficiency in movement. We spring off the ground with a strong released human impact resistance (spring), rather than banging into the ground with a weak or stiff impact resistance (spring). 

This is an approach which focuses on the bodies impact resistance.  It provides an approach to examination and treatment that applies to the bodies ability to resist impacts.  If your doctor doesn’t want to learn or encourage you to strive to be in the best health and reclaim the physical capacity of your body to resist these impacts you may want do it yourself.

We call that self-help!   Is it too late to start?

I worked on my own body to release the tension from my muscles and trained and eventually started barefoot running at age 48.  Watch the video below:

On April 2nd 2006 Michael Sandler was in a near death accident. As he was skating down a bike path a father teaching his baby how to walk, stepped out in front of him and Michael jumped up and back and avoided hitting the baby. He shattered his femur, hip, and arm, and later found out shards of femur were less than a centimeter from his femoral artery, or a centimeter from death. Luckily his leg was saved, but with a titanium femur and hip (and near 1 inch leg-length discrepancy) Michael has had 10 operations and had struggled to recover until he discovered barefoot running.

Today he runs 10-20 miles a day barefoot. He is author of “Barefoot Running: How to Run Light and Free by Getting in Touch with the Earth and now travels the world teaching people how to run barefoot.

He now refers to the accident as a gift.

Read his book for more information.

I don’t know what you are capable of but what I do advise you to do is to work towards being the best you can be. Don’t let anyone destroy your dreams and goals, not even your doctor!  Strive to recapture what you could do as a child!

Read all my posts and direct your doctor to read this post and email me at and Ill try to help you.

My recommended reading below:

How I Got My Wiggle Back
By Anthony Field and Greg Truman

The Complete Idiots Guide To Barefoot Running

The Barefoot Running Book
By Jason Robillard

Barefoot Running Step By Step
by Ken Bob Saxon

Born to Run
By Christohopher McDougal

This video tutorial was taken from the lecture:

Run For Life! Barefoot
Presented by Dr James Stoxen DC
The 8th Annual Malaysian Conference And Exhibition On Anti-Aging, Aesthetic And Regenerative Medicine
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
April 30 — May 2, 2011



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