In the old days, when people wanted to get from this point to that place, they would either ride horses or yak-pulled wagons. Today, we can ride a car, scooter and a bike. If we want to go from one country to another, we can hop on a plane and fly there. But, despite the interesting and awesome evolution of travelling, there is one thing that has not changed and that is our love and need of running.
For those who are into jogging and are now into barefoot running, you might be surprised about the unending debate on the subject. However, barefoot running is not a new trend or something that just happened recently on a whim. Running, throughout human history, has been always done on barefoot or either thin-soled shoes like moccasins. These are still continually used to this day when you go to Kenya and some other parts of the world like northern Mexico.
Barefoot running became popular around 50 years ago. It became quite known when Abebe Bikila from Ethiopia, who could not wear the team-issued shoes because it hurt his feet, won the Olympic marathon held in Rome by running only on bare feet. He has also done quite a lot of training barefoot and since then, British runners like Bruce Tulloh have competed in races during the 1960’s barefooted and won gold medal as well! So it is not surprising why the trend of running sans the bulky trainers is catching up as well.
In the early 21st century until today, barefoot running has gained a significant following outside the larger community of running. Barefoot runner such as Rick Roeber has been running barefoot since 2003 and has done it with 50 marathons and over 17, 000 miles! In 2006, Nico Surings of the Netherlands became the fastest person to run 100 meters on ice while barefoot.
Although these people have greatly experienced the joy of running without shoes, the popularity of this running practice only heightened more during 2009 when Christopher McDougall wrote the book Born to Run which revolves around the promotion of minimalist running. During the same year, the Barefoot Runners Society was founded and became a national club for those who prefer to run unshod. It’s amazing how the organization has 1,345 members which is nearly double the original memberships when it was founded.
Whether some of these popular athletes influenced running barefoot or if McDougall’s book has elevated its popularity, it cannot be denied that running without shoes have taken men to different places and different heights since time immemorial.