A new, natural way to run



Barefoot running or minimalist running is a style of running where padding below the foot is minimal. This allows you to run in a new way, which can strengthen, stimulate and realign your body. Some people consider this more natural than running in conventional trainers or running shoes.

Brands like Merrell and Fivefingers offer a range of footwear that is specifically designed for barefoot running. Barefoot shoes have minimal underfoot padding and tend to have a 0mm heel to toe drop.

Find out more about barefoot shoes >

The barefoot running community is growing rapidly as many avid runners are converting to barefoot to change their running gait. If you are thinking about trying barefoot running, it is important that you choose the right footwear and start the transition slowly - you will need to allow time for your body to build up new muscles.

The technical bit


Traditional running - heel strike

When you run in trainers, you are prone to landing on your heel first and rolling onto the forefoot, which means that your heel takes the full impact as illustrated on the left.

Traditional running shoes are designed to absorb this impact, with heavy cushioning under the heel. You can see the difference in posture between traditional running and barefoot by comparing these two illustrations.








Barefoot - forefoot strike

When you run barefoot, you naturally tend to land on the forefoot and roll in, allowing the heel to drop and then pushing off with the forefoot. This encourages a realignment of your back and posture, where your chest is further forward and arms are closer to the body.

Research shows that barefoot runners who land on their forefoot, may generate less impact shock than runners in padded running shoes who land heel first. It has been suggested that this could reduce running-related injuries.




Thinking about trying barefoot running? Read Merrell's top tips for barefoot running >