Running Marathon Barefoot | Some Things You Should Know

Many runners have been caught up in the argument around whether it is better for them to run wearing shoes or not. Running barefoot has been lighter and more natural for athletes allowing them to cover greater distances without being weighed down. 

The scientific methods that have been used to investigate these two conditions, i.e., barefoot and running with shoes, have not been able to prove that one or the other is more effective. In this article today, we will be considering the different viewpoints given by various journals to provide you with a more holistic view on whether this is the best method for you to run a marathon. 

Running marathon barefoot

Running barefoot is quite like running with a minimalist pair of shoes, and it is argued that for people who are not accustomed to this, it can cause severe calluses around the foot. There will also be an insufficient supply of blood going to the leg muscles since you consistently constrict the bottom of your foot by placing a lot of stress on it without relief. 

People who decide to run marathons wearing shoes will have the sole support that will allow their feet to breathe and circulating blood. A lack of circulation in the legs is referred to as claudication, and this is quite dangerous for runners because it leads to the tearing of muscles. Several studies prove that you will be less likely to go for a longer distance when running without soles in your shoe without feeling claudication pain. This means that although you will be feeling lighter when you run the marathon, it will not last for very long without you feeling pain.  

History of barefoot running

Given humanity’s evolution, running barefoot has become a thing of the past in many sports events where running is the main focal point. Running barefoot is a more natural way of partaking in the activity that puts aside the new technology utilized by different companies to improve the comfort experienced while running. 

It is more common in developed countries to find people running with innovative sports gear than you will find in less developed places of the world. In different countries on the African continent and Latin America, you will find that many people who partake in marathons run barefoot. 

It is argued that as a civilization, humans only began to wear shoes as they progressed. When they were still in their prime state years ago, many humans ran barefoot to hunt and gather livestock. The argument was that it feels much lighter, and they can connect with the earth even on a spiritual level. As civilizations grew older and more complex, humans required more comfort. As the terrains became industrialized, i.e., through roads and pavement, the need for shoes became less pertinent. This is quite interesting given the fact that it led to people wearing shoes more. 

Barefoot running race

If you intend to run a marathon barefoot, you will have to understand these scientific arguments that both sides of the coin are presenting to you, the runner. The first argument is that running barefoot is dangerous for people who have grown accustomed to wearing shoes and socks their entire lives. 

If you are someone who does not spend a significant amount of time walking around the house or yard barefoot, it is unlikely that you will be easily able to jump to running barefoot. This is because your feet’ soles will not be hardened, which may lead to many different cuts and bruises affecting the outside of your foot. You will be easily able to succumb to things like thorns and nails misplaced along the trail. 

That is why the terrain that you run in is critical because it has a significant impact on how well you can do in the race. If you intend to run on a grass field, you are less likely to experience anything that can damage your soles. If you are running on the beach, it is advisable to run barefoot because shoes would normally absorb sand and water, therefore weighing you down. 

If you intend to run a marathon that involves you running on the road, you must be prepared for a more painful and dangerous terrain. When running on the road, you will be meeting gravel and a boiling surface at times. 

Many argue that running barefoot will prevent you from dealing with chronic injuries that can affect your tendons and calves. The argument surrounding this is not conclusive. Therefore it isn’t easy to give a genuine answer. What has been proven now is that repetitive stress injuries can be felt when wearing shoes because of the poor strike point that your boots are achieving. When manufacturers design shoes, they make them one size fits all creation, and this does not consider different strike points that people have when running. 


To conclude this article, I believe that it is most natural for you as the runner. You will find that people from less developed countries have struggled to purchase running shoes because they are expensive. They will therefore be more comfortable running barefoot. Less modernized tribes from different African and Latin American countries may have spent their entire lives walking on hard ground and can easily sustain running a marathon barefoot. 

This will differ from someone who has spent their whole life wearing shoes even as a child because the soles of your feet would be much softer and less equipped to rugged terrain. The terrain is vital in this argument because if you plan on running on a hardened and painful surface, it is not advisable to go barefoot if you are not used to this.  

Hi there. This is Clare. Dave and I manage this site. We are outdoor enthusiasts. Most of the content is about products that we love using or have researched.
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