When I started running barefoot I read some books about it and joined a Facebook group and all of that. After all, I was making the change because I heard that it might help the injuries I had and I wanted to be sure I was giving it a fair chance by at least trying to do it right.
All the questions that could be asked and one of the first I asked the Facebook group was um, are my feet going to get all gross and dirty and calloused? I’m not exactly fashion conscious or anything (kind of an area I slack in) but I’ve seen people with skin that looked as if it had been grown with dirt as a natural part of it, and sorry but it’s kind of gross.
Now that I have a whole 9 months experience I can answer my own question, at least for me. I run 3 nights a week and I don’t run further than a 5k ever, and rarely that far. So I don’t know if there is a difference if you run barefoot marathons or ultras (ya, there are some really, really bad-ass people who do that).
The answer is no. My feet didn’t get permanently dirty and they didn’t get calloused. As a matter of fact the skin is softer and smoother now than it used to be. I think it’s for two reasons.
One, I mostly run in the neighborhood and I think the asphalt acts kind of like a pumice stone, smoothing out the skin. I had almost expected my skin to get thinner as a result, but again I was wrong. My skin actually seems to be a little thicker. The bottoms of my feet also seem to have a bit of padding or muscle on them that wasn’t there before. Kind of a plus actually.
I think the other reason is because running on asphalt actually is a bit gross. When I get home my feet are black as tar and I washing them with soap doesn’t do much. I have to actually use a pumice stone after every street run. I don’t scrub them hard or anything, but I do use it. Maybe that’s why the little cracks that I used to have on my heals are gone now.
So question and answer. Won’t running barefoot make your feet gross? Nope, it’ll leave them better than they were before!
Very interesting! Being flat footed, I’m not sure if barefoot would ever work for me but I’d do small increments like you – running in sneakers makes MY feet gross 😉
I’ve actually been told by a couple of people that it helped by strengthening thier arches – but you’re right, you do have to work in the barefoot running slowly, as just the beginning or end of your regular run.
That was really interesting. But I would have worried more about stepping on little rocks or bits of glass. Admirable that you’ve kept it up for nine months.
The only time I’ve stepped on glass was a little tiny splinter of it that stuck in my foot. It was just too small to see and avoid! But I just pulled it out and got back to running, no worries.
Kinda, your title really grabbed me – and made me chuckle. I was interested in all your discoveries and wanted to keep reading. Rather than ending with question-answer-done, why not ask your readers a question to weigh in on?