Take your time ... it's worth it!
Are you having problems with your feet, calves, knees? Are you repeatedly forced to take breaks due to all sorts of trouble and running injuries? Back pain, tension in your shoulders and neck? Time for barefoot and/or running with PaleoBarefoots®! There are several series of Paleos®: from ULTRA or CLASSIC (for nature) up to URBAN (for the urban jungle)!
After long breaks from barefoot running, in particular after the winter, even experienced barefoot runners often have to start again from scratch. Shoes and socks have led to fluffy, pale feet; the soles have become soft and tender. Shoes and socks are for the feet like earplugs are for rock concert; sensory input is muffled. Once removed, there is sensory overload! This is especially the case if you've previously never run barefoot. Your feet are suddenly exposed to completely ‘un-dampened’ stimuli and must become "recalibrated" to quite different sensorial and biomechanically conditions.
Go and enjoy!
When using the Paleos®, wear them alone and lace them loosely. Then decide for yourself if you want to take advantage of socks or Savers and see if it feels more pleasant. Initially, it will be best to take the Paleos® for gentle walks, even if you are an experienced barefoot runner, do follow our advice. Using our unique footwear is a completely new experience.
Begin on soft soil that you would consider barefoot friendly and an enjoyable surface on which to walk. This might include a nearby park, grass and the earth in your own garden, as well as sand, meadows, heath, moss and forest soil. Initially, only go for a few minutes and then change back to regular footwear to ease and relax your soles, allowing them to slowly adapt to the barefoot experience. After a while you can become brave, try water - streams, waterways, creeks and every puddle! There are so many tactile delights for the sensual receptors in your soles and as you increase gradually, water can be especially good fun!
Regularity and variety is important! Increase your distance a little each time. You'll soon notice that it becomes easier, more delightful and more enjoyable each time. Making this consistent progression, you’ll find that your feet quickly grow stronger, the receptors in your feet have been newly "adjusted", adapted and PaleoBarefoots® running will become pure pleasure.
Hiking and easy running
Once the first phase (adaptation of the sensory system to barefoot conditions) is completed, you automatically will want more: different terrains, longer hiking…maybe even running. Again, this will require time and patience! Walk, run, then race - take your time for the transition! Be aware that your tendons, ligaments and muscles may not yet be strong enough and your biomechanics not yet suitable for the higher demands of running under natural conditions.
Most shoes have heels (even if they are only a few cm high) and therefore your feet and legs will have adapted to this positioning. This often results in a shortness or tightness in the calf complex which may then affect your Achilles tendons when you make the switch to running barefoot. Be aware that when you run, there are great demands on the calves and Achilles and an extended period of adaptation is therefore recommended. You may even find that there is an excessive stretch on this area just standing with your feet flat on the ground! But that's not all! Here's one of the best videos on this subject: shoes with heels and their harmful effects on the entire body.
In addition, you may well have been using your feet only on flat surfaces. The footbed and rigid shell of your shoes mean that your feet have been inhibited from actively helping to stabilize your steps. For those who are used to minimalist footwear already, it will definitely be easier and faster to progress. However, expect that the transition from any athletic shoes to running with PaleoBarefoots® can take many weeks and is also dependent on other factors such as your general health and well-being.
For sustained hiking and running, the same rules apply: Start gently and use the natural cushioning of preferably soft, natural surfaces. Go out there regularly - but initially, not daily. Listen to your body! Observe exactly how your muscles and tendons respond and adapt your behavior accordingly. Be aware and trust your body!
Endurance running and racing!
For this, note the usefulness of our “Savers” which come along with the Paleos®. In particular, if the terrain is overgrown (tall grass, undergrowth, etc.) this accessory will protect your feet effectively from scratches by twigs and branches.
You have now reached the stage where you can walk and run comfortably. This last step is easier than you might think. Your tendons, ligaments and muscles are much stronger now and your movement is supple and coordinated. You feel stable and safe on all surfaces with every step. Your running style also has completely changed. Your stride is shorter and your cadence is faster, your knees are angled forwards and your running posture upright. High mileage, endurance running and racing with Paleos®, in all natural terrains, are now, therefore, only a matter of consistent, sensible training. Your physical strength will continue to improve, helping you to avoid injury. Along with this improved physical strength, your movements will also become even more agile and responsive.
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