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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 June 2011
My favourite time of day is my early morning runs along the coast but like the majority of runners, I'm regularly plagued by injuries which have prevented me from going out for weeks at a time. This has ultimately made it difficult to get into a regular routine & has made we wonder how in the long-term I could continue doing the sport I love the most without causing myself some serious problems. So when somebody mentioned the seminal Born to Run & how it touches upon barefoot running & its unparalleled effectiveness for keeping people injury-free, I was instantly intrigued. It totally turned my preconceptions on their head - for instance, did you know that the more expensive the running shoe, the more likely it is to injure you? And that running-related injuries have not decreased in the last 30 years, despite all the advances in technology by Nike & their rivals? But when you think about it, it makes sense - after all, our ancestors would run barefoot for hours, literally chasing animals on the savannahs until their prey collapsed from exhaustion.

However, this is an area where just a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I read Born to Run before this book came out & was impatient to get started, so armed myself with a bit of advice from a few random websites. While I utterly enjoyed the tactile sensations of my first barefoot run, afterwards my tendons were so sore due to bad technique that I had to rest them for about 10 days. Thus I discovered the hard way that you really do need to build up slowly & learn the correct skills. And as this book has been written by one of the barefoot movements' pioneers, it's the perfect introduction.

This is a very informative guide, crammed with advice that has been tried & tested since the late 1980's. There's also lots of testimonies from different runners, not just the authors themselves. Ken Bob can ramble somewhat when he starts on his anecdotes, bless him, but these tend to be kept separate from the actual pages on technique, so can be skimmed over if desired (although they are rather charming). This makes it easy to pick up & get what you want from it.

While the advice is practical, the authors are also keen to emphasise the importance of fun. Not only does enjoying your runs keep you coming back for more, they say, but it also helps to keep you relaxed (particularly your calves) & thus capable of absorbing more impact. As most of their tips focus on good posture & relaxation, they remind me in essence of the Alexander Technique.

This book has enabled me to figure out what was causing the tendon issue & adjust my technique accordingly (I was arching my feet to avoid heel-striking & landing too heavily on the ball of the foot, so now I'm letting them fall straighter & more naturally, although still front-first). It has also added an incredibly enjoyable dimension to my running. Even running on pavements has become an incredibly tactile experience & no, so far I've never stood on any broken glass or dog muck - or even seen any on the roads I run on. If you want to run barefoot, then I believe this book is a necessity, being much more practical than its competitors.
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VINE VOICEon 3 June 2011
Firstly, I am new to barefoot running, and the barefoot running world, having only discovered its existence a few months ago. I was impressed by the many claims that with proper technique, and careful transitioning from shoes to no shoes over a period of time, many running injuries tend to lesson dramatically, and the niggles and pains experienced by many runners in thick-soled running shoes, disappear entirely. In order to find out a bit more about the background, methodology, techniques, facts and myths about this topic, I decided to get this book.

This book has been written by experts in this field, two men who have been running barefoot since 1987, and regularly complete full marathons and other athletic events wearing nothing on their feet, as well as leading classes and giving seminars around the world on barefoot running technique. Ken Bob Saxton is known as the 'Guru' of shoeless running, and this book certainly isn't out of line with that premise.

It is very nicely produced and published, a good size, with thick pages, all full-colour and packed with photographs, and is broken down clearly into the following chapters:

An introduction to the authors, and the basic premise of barefoot running.
The Technique, head to toe.
Cautions about barefoot running, and the transition to barefoot running.
Barefoot Shoe solutions (Vibram Five Fingers etc) and why to avoid them at first.
Why barefooting will make you faster.
Lastly a chapter on real-world feedback from runners, and a last section on looking to the future.

There is a lot of writing in the book, it is not merely a 1, 2, 3 guide of how to run, instead there are many stories of past experiences, lessons that were learned, and at what cost. In many ways this book is a semi-biography of Ken Bob Saxton, which sometimes feels as if it is getting in the way of the real reason you bought the book - to learn how to run! In any case, it is well written, in a humorous style, and is very candid, Ken reveals all the ups and downs along the way.

The photographs are excellent, and as well as all the expected photos of healthy smiling people jogging through beautiful scenery barefooted, there are plenty of detailed close-ups of foot landing positions, and what good barefoot form looks etc.

I found the sections on technique, and how to slowly change to barefooted running including plenty of preparatory exercises and drills very useful. Overall this is a good read, and will inform you about the development of the modern-day barefoot running movement, as well as showing you how to make the transition as painlessly as possible. Recommended!
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on 2 June 2014
I've done a load of running over the years (fell marathons, several halves (PB 1.24), one actual marathon (3.14) and not least 9 years in the Army).

Always quite enjoyed it, but always felt my knees were getting battered and that I had to be very protective. I always thought I over-pronated, so I used to worry about having the right orthotics, having trainers with just the right support. So when I heard about barefooting I had to give it a go...

My first run was 3x150m and it took me four days to recover. Now I'm three months in and just did my longest run to date - a 2.5-miler non-stop, no shoes! I'm really feeling it in the calves the day after. It really is a massively slow process, but it's all that "good pain" when you are stiff after good exercise, not the "bad pain" of pulled muscles or straining joints.

So is the book any good? I think so. It sets out the main things to think about, reminds you to take it easy. To the criticism that it takes a lot of space extolling the virtues, I'd answer that actually (1) you get some pretty odd looks (2) your friends will be sceptical (3) you might reasonably be scared. All that content did a lot to give me the confidence just to go for it. And anyway it's a pretty decent-sized book for the price.

Strong recommend
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on 12 October 2012
After reading Born to Run, I tried do the barefoot gait with my Asics 2110. Big mistake. Achilles tendonitis followed.

I then read a lot of reviews and stories on benefits of transition (I was too chicken to go anything less) shoes. So I bought a pair of Brooks Pure Cadence. Big mistake number 2. After a month of running in them. Things got progressively worse. Next was the doctor who prescribed some serious anti-inframmatories coupled with 10 days to rest. After the medicines wearing off and two weeks of rest, things were as painful as before.

Frustrated I decided to go "more barefoot" with Vivobarefoot Ultras. No help. Then I read this book and kicked my shoes off. Four weeks later, Achilles tendonitis gone!

If you want to have healthy feet, read this book, and follow Ken Bob's advice of listening to your body and taking it easy. There is only one way to do bare footing. By going barefoot. Having lived in conditions where bare footing is not always a practical option, it is a good idea to do it when you can to kill bad habits that come from being shod.

Now I mix between full bare footing (when my wife is not looking) and Vivobarefoots. Happy running.
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on 18 September 2014
I'm really keen on sports and fitness, I also have really bad joints...my knees in particular. So always on the look out for information and other peoples views. This book isn't going to change the world but it might help you think differently about how you run. And anything that makes you think can only be a good thing. I found it easy and enjoyable to read, very anecdotal which is fine. It also got me curious about barefoot running and I must confess I did go out and try it. It was very liberating, even-though it got me some funny looks....it was winter, wet, cold, and I was down the sea front running though puddles (quite fun actually). What it did do for me in the longer term was to allow me to address my running style and look for things that could be causing me issues. I run a lot more now, with much less pain in my knees (but I would be lying if I said no pain at all).
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on 14 June 2012
For anyone who enjoys running but has regular injuries this book is well worth the money. I used to run alot until about 5 years ago when I temporarily gave up due to regular shin splints and cronic knee pain. After getting into biking instead, I returned to running in sept 2011 to train for a half ironman in july2012. Quickly the old pains returned in the knees and a new persistent calf injury.
However I had got back the old love of running and didn't want to have to quit again. I then came across chi running and barefoot running. I bought this book and chi running by Danny Dreyer.

I can honestly say that these two books (which incidentally cross over very well) have been fantastic. They both advocate a running style which involves forefoot and midfoot landing rather than the more traditional heel striking I've always done. I couldn't have asked for a better result as my calf has healed and my knee pains pretty much immediately disappeared. The change in technique is huge and takes some time to adjust and I believe using this makes for trouble free running. Definitely worth the money... Hope you find it as useful as I have
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on 17 May 2013
I heard about barefoot running and wanted to start, but rather than just dive in, I wanted to understand the principles and find someone that could give some tips and pointers.

So glad I did a quick google search that brought me to this book.

Fantastic book with funny and clearly written instructions and anecdotes that give very clear ideas and drills to practise finding and FEELING the proper posture, technique and process.

I've actually always HATED running and preferred cycling. In one aspect I was delighted to read how much emphasis he places on cycling being a great way to TEACH your legs and posture, and the other aspect is that running in this RIGHT way for our feet and bodies has made the process of running an absolute joy, and nothing like the 'task' or challenge I'd felt it was in the past.
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on 8 September 2017
What an uplifting read. Barefoot Ken Bob's personality leaps out from the pages. I am a little way into my barefoot journey and this book is a great help. Barefooting is a humbling challenge, this book definitely helps to understand and be at one with the numerous underfoot terrain there is. My epiphany came after reading 'Born To Run', Ken Bob's fantastic book has shown me how to achieve it.
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As a first time runner since January I read this book as a result of having read "born to run" (also a great book). Unfortunately I bought my VFF's before I reached the chapter were it was advised not to transition from trainers to Vibrams but it's only taken one metatarsal strain to engrave that on my memory. I won't be wearing my VFF's until I've followed the recommended training plan that's for sure! I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn something knew and enhancing and possibly life changing.
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on 28 June 2012
I bought this a few weeks after discovering that barefoot running suddenly eliminated all teh recurring injuries that I had been suffering since I switched to good quality trainers about ten years ago.
I wish I had bought the book before I experimented with barefoot running. It carefully explains how to introduce oneself to barefoot (or maybe with socks or minimalist shoes) without injury. It warns that the greatest danger of starting barefoot/sock/minimalist running is overexuberance leading to stress fractures, and shows how with only a little restraint this can be avoided.
I found that the additional 15% speed and 15% less effort involved in barefoot running led me into this trap, and I am now waiting for a small injury to heal. This book would have saved me this hiccup
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