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Barefoot Running Insights from Barefoot Ted

Today I got a chance to listen to Barefoot Ted (again) and go on a mini barefoot running clinic with other folks from the Born to Run store in Bellevue. About 30 people showed up at the store for Ted’s humorous and insightful monologue about the reasons for minimalist running and a little insights into his background.

There was also Q&A and we got to hear stories from a variety of people who have had pretty profound physical transformations due to rethinking the way they move and what they wear on their feet. After the Q&A, we headed to Bellevue Downtown Park for about 20 minutes of short drills and light jogging.

Here’s what I learned:

  • If you look at old yearbook photos from high school track teams, especially from California, you’ll see most runners were barefoot!
  • West of the Cascade mountains, most native Indian people were 100% barefoot year round, East of the Cascade range moccasins were worn due to the cold
  • Young Indians would train with a leaf tied under their moccasins, they had to move without breaking the leaf!
  • Shoes serve a real purpose in the modern world, the issue is with shoe companies that have gotten a little carried away with fancy technologies and needing to have new models come out all the time
  • Most indigenous people had some form of footwear, but the footwear was not changing year to year – it worked for the long time!
  • Cadence matters, keep a high cadence all the time while running – this is where having lightweight shoes is helpful
  • Focus on landing on the ball of the foot
  • Focus on being quiet when you land
  • Focus on using your whole body to absorb shock like a giant spring – practice jumping up and landing softly by bending the knees!


Training for Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon is cruising along. I’m taking a ton of days off training for with light training. Better under than over-trained I think! Barefoot Ted is running in his Luna Sandals. He bets that whoever wins the race will be wearing sandals (either a Tarahumara or Pat Sweeney).


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