Why Do People Run Barefoot?

7. To Strengthen Your Feet

Running with less padding and a mid-foot strike engages the muscles of your foot in a way that cushioned shoes do not allow. You'll develop much stronger arches and ankles, and your calves will get a fantastic workout too.

8. To Move Naturally

Running with a mid-foot landing and an upright form is a more natural way for humans to run. It's how we were built to run. Proof is in the way it feels: when you have it right, you'll feel like you're gliding. All of your limbs move harmoniously, and it takes little energy to go from one stride to the next.

More: 6 Yoga Poses for Runners

9. To Stop Replacing Shoes

Barefoot runners run barefoot, or in light footwear built on thin rubber soles. No cushioning means no cushion breakdown after 200 miles. You can literally wear your minimalist shoes until they disintegrate. Or better yet, you can wear your feet for a lifetime.

10. To Be a Smarter Runner

One can argue that a barefoot runner is a smarter runner. Or at least more tuned-in, because they pay close attention to their bodies. When you run in sneakers, you can easily overdo it. But when you run barefoot, your body tells you when it's had enough, and there is no cushioned shoe to help you ignore the warning signs.  

More: 27 Ways to Run Better Everyday

11. To Run Faster

Running barefoot or in super-light minimalist footwear, you have less weight to inhibit your speed. Good news if you're a sprinter trying to shave a few seconds off your time. However, the initial transition to barefoot running can be a slow process.

12. To Lighten Up

Barefoot runners tend to be pretty free when it comes to running. Many shun the gadgets that can tie them down, or otherwise weigh them down during a run. Barefoot runners can be seen flying happily down the trail sans shoes, shirt, iPod, watch, energy gels or water belt.

13. To Subscribe to a Brand New, Old Way of Thinking

A lot of people think that mid-foot striking and wearing minimalist shoes is a new thing. It's not. Until the early 80s, everybody wore light, slipper-like shoes to run, and almost nobody was a heel-striker.

14. To Be Part of the Barefoot Running Culture

Barefoot runners are a fundamentally different group of people. They are laid back and open minded. Many aren't tied to strict running plans or programs, and prefer light-hearted races for the benefit of socializing as much as achieving their individual running goals.

15. To Inspire Others

If you give barefoot/minimalist running a try, it's almost a guarantee that you're not only going to look like a rock star, but you're going to fall in love with running all over again. A happy runner is an inspirational one. Once your friends see how much fun you're having, they're going to want to get in on it. What better way is there to motivate?

Now get out there and have fun!

More: Exercises to Increase Your Running Speed

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