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on December 14, 2011
For the past two years, I've been trying gradually to get back into running after a "break" of nearly 40 years. But my progress had been constantly hindered by calf, knee and hip problems. I read "Born to Run" which opened my eyes to the concept of barefoot running so when I saw this book, I decided to see what it is all about.

This book has gotten me to rethink the way I've been running, or trying to run, all my life. Although I'm still wearing shoes, I have been gradually incorporating Ken Bob's principles of light, gentle running into my routine and, for the first time, I can run regularly without pain! For me, that is huge! In this book, Ken Bob does a good job describing the philosophy of barefooting and breaks down the technique so that you can understand and actually do it. As he says, barefooting is more than just taking off your shoes. It's a relearning of how to run. I highly recommend this book to anyone, even if you don't plan to shed your shoes.
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on January 29, 2013
I've been running for many, many years, and, like most runners, plagued by injuries of one form or another almost continuously. I was about a third of the way through "Born to Run" when I ran the AFC Half-Marathon in San Diego last August. As usual, I finished the race with a nagging injury, this time to my hip. Then I finished BTR, and began to seriously wonder whether or not the shoes might be my problem.

I took them off one Saturday morning and went for a short run on a local trail, and was instantly hooked (and, to be honest, somewhat hurt, since I went WAY further than I should have and developed some blisters on my soles). I began looking for as much information as I could find on the subject, and found Barefoot Ken Bob's book on Amazon. Ken Bob holds regular Saturday clinics, and because I live relatively close, I went to one in early September. His clinic brought the information in his book to life, and I subsequently found myself referring back to this book again and again, as I trained for the Carlsbad Half-Marathon in January. I wasn't sure that I was giving myself enough time, but with the help of this book, and good online forum support at the Barefoot Runner's Society, I gradually rebuilt my running form and mileage. I went into the January race feeling fitter and better prepared than I have for any other race, despite the fact that I ran probably 40% less than I would have had I trained in shoes. I beat my August race's time by almost 5 minutes running barefoot. That's not hyperbole; that's just the fact.

This book has so much to offer the aspiring barefoot runner. If your goal is to learn this skill (and it IS a skill that must be learned, given how corrupted our running form has become by all the super-cushioning protection that modern running shoes provide), then this is the book for you. You'll refer to it often, and learn something new each time you do. Highly recommended.
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on January 15, 2013
Spring is here, and the days are brightening. After a wet winter without warm minimal shoes, I have gotten out of the habit of movement and activity. Now that the days are lengthening, I have felt the urge to run again, to use my body and connect with the earth.

I did, in fact, go for a run. I ran in my VFF Treks that have been my winter wear this past year, at least when it is dry. But I was at the park, and I got the urge, and it felt so good I did a bit more of it. The next day, my lateral metatarsals were rather upset with me. The big luggy treads on the Treks were fine for hiking, or walking on sidewalk. But the pounding of my stride mashed my feet around the treads and bruised them into hamburger.

I knew I needed to educate myself, because I shouldn't have let that happen. So while I recovered, I picked up Barefoot Running: Step by Step by Barefoot Ken and Roy Wallack. I am very grateful that I did, because I had apparently forgotten everything I had ever learned about barefooting.

Barefoot Ken insists that one should learn to run barefoot. Really barefoot, none of this minimal nonsense. And with good reason; true barefooting gives you rapid feedback that helps you correct your technique. If you are running right barefoot, it is comfortable. In fact, Barefoot Ken suggests starting out on gravel, because when you learn to make that comfortable, everything else is easy. Discomfort is something you figure out how to adapt to. If you are in even the most minimal of shoe, the feedback is lessened and your form will suffer. Shoes are to our proprioceptive sense what gloves are to our fine motor coordination. They make it possible to ignore information that could make a big difference in our long term structural health.

So I did. I ran barefoot. I didn't run far, but I did run. And he was right; running without shoes is a sensory extravaganza that requires full attention and focus. In this, it becomes a fabulous moving meditation of responding with intention to the world. By paying attention in this way, I became very aware of how I had been pounding the pavement in my Treks, and that if my form had been better, my feet wouldn't have suffered as they had. One thing is certain though: if I hadn't worn my Treks, I wouldn't have taken 2 paces with the kind of stride I got away with in them.

So will I be joining the legions of true barefooters, eschewing the sole and having to defend my lifestyle choice in every interaction on the street? Not likely. Barefoot Ken admits that even some barefoot training can make a huge difference in the quality of sensitivity we bring to our running. Which is good, being in the PNW, where the cold muddy wet just doesn't appeal to my naked feet in the dark months. But I will take Barefoot Ken's advice and run in bare feet often enough to remember what it is supposed to feel like. And when it is too muddy out for my feet, I will remember to work them out inside with dance and yoga and qigong so they stay in touch with the earth.
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on June 1, 2013
I needed a book that would tell me exactly how to run correctly using the barefoot running style/gait. This book did that perfectly, which is why I'm giving it 5 stars. However, I do have some criticisms. First, it's a bit repetitive. In this case, it's good to be repetitive, because you need to do this correctly or you will hurt yourself. Regardless, it's still too repetitive. Second, the author is a die hard "barefoot" runner and disparages the use of any shoes like Vibrams. While this is a great ideal to strive for, it's still very practical for most people to wear something like Vibrams. This is especially true if you run mainly on concrete and asphalt like I do.

I've been running in Vibrams and using the techniques described in this book for about 2 months, and it's changed my life in regards to running and no longer having any injuries. I'm very pleased!
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on April 25, 2011
I cannot compare this book to other books on barefoot running, as it is the only one I have read (though I was familiar with Ken Bob's website before I ordered the book - and also those of the other barefoot running authors having read through the "free" resources on the Internet). But I can compare the book to ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running and to the running techniques argued for in Pose Method of Triathlon Techniques, and the Barefoot Running Step by Step comes across as a far more practical, credible and honest endeavour.

The structure of the book is a strong point. The first section is the usual motivational stuff. If you are already convinced that barefoot running is a good idea, you can skim through. The second section is about technique and drills. This is the core of the book. It is very easy to grasp and well written. The third section, on how barefooting can make you faster is a bit weak, but still worthwhile to read. The last section has barefoot stories. These stories are often spread across all chapters in other running books, which can be quite annoying. Here, they are clustered in one place, and they are of real people (some "famous") and they are honest, in the sense that some of his "subjects" disagrees with elements of the theories of Ken Bob, and there is no attempt to hide this fact.

The graphical design of the book is pleasant to the eye and aids understanding. As opposed to many other running books, Ken and Roy were clever enough to work with a serious publisher and editor.

It also helps that Ken Bob comes across as a very sympathetic guy, the kind of person who makes one still believe a bit in humanity. Though - I hope - he will make some money on the book, it does not come across as a commercial project, which can not be said of many of the other running methods and coaches, which seem to look for ways to monetize everything. The journalist co-writer, Roy Wallack, must have done a good job, because the book is very easy to grasp and flows well.

After reading the book (I got it 24 hours ago), I have decided to try a mix of Ken Bob and Preston Curtis (in Section 4 of of the book) break in plans - wearing no running shoes whatsoever for running for the next 3 months. I switched to minimalist shoes (Nike Free Run, Newton) and some pure barefoot running too fast nine months ago after reading - the excellent - Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (Vintage). While it felt good, and I was very happy running, I got an injury that got worse and worse, to the point where I have not done any significant running for the last three months. I will now try the super slow switch to barefoot running and then probably switch to a mix of Vibram FF, racing flats and barefoot after three months if I can get healed from my injury.

I highly recommend this book for anyone considering trying barefoot - it is well worth the $15 to get started in a serious way and avoid injury.
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on April 17, 2015
Michael's wife, here. This book has changed my life at age 52. It has made me a barefoot running convert. It has gotten me out of myself and the house. It has taught me to listen to my body. It has made me love running. It has brought me tons of happiness. It has made me BRAVE. This book is all about joy. It truly is. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
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on November 19, 2011
This is a great book. It contains a lot of information. It is well written by authors with firsthand experience. It is entertaining.

Running barefoot is not at all like running with shoes and this book skillfully explains the difference from the perspective of several dozen people who have run barefoot for years - some running at world record paces. If you intend to try barefoot running don't try until you read this book. You will only frustrate or injury yourself. It takes a different technique.

Whether I can use what I learned in this book or not I don't know. I ran for fifty years until at age 65 one Achilles tendon put a stop to my running. For the past seven years I have assumed that I am too old for running. If nothing else this book has made me aspire to run again in a softer and gentler manner.

I have now tried to start carefully and it seems like it might work. The hardest part is being unconventional and going out in public barefooted. I have also found that barefoot walking is not as impractical as it at first seemed and it certainly builds muscles that are not challenged by walking in shoes.
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on July 22, 2017
This is an amazing book! I read Born to Run and was immediately fascinated by barefoot running and ultrarunning. I quickly got some Vibrams and started running, but something didn't feel right. I decided I'd try barefooting and found this book. I have to say, for anyone who wants to try running barefoot, this book is the only way to go!
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on November 23, 2013
This book gives you the tools to start barefoot running correctly and safely, but in my opinion could have been cut in half. Every page repeats the same basic concepts. I realize people tend to lose sight of value if a book is too short, which is a shame because I think EVERY runner should read this book. If not for anything else than to understand how to correct injury causing running form. Unfortunately I would have a hard time recommending it to most people, as even myself a fanatic for barefooting found it sometimes difficult and tedious to read through. I found myself constantly thinking "I get it, running lighter, pain free, more enjoyable, shoes will make you heal strike blah blah blah".

That being said, if you can power through everyone should read this book. It gives you the tools, motivation, history, and science to get you excited to jump in and change running forever. Personally I am stuck inside on a treadmill as it's currently -25 C and an inch of ice on all the running surfaces.

Final thoughts, Ken Bob you rock, love what you have to say, and perhaps consider writing a short howto 100 page book. Cheers!
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on September 4, 2013
I jumped on the minimalist bandwagon almost 3 years ago in my search for relief from ongoing injuries. I made the same mistakes many others have made and suffered through both plantar fasciitis, and achilles tendonosis. Thankfully I stopped short of stress fractures. But, I had gone as far as buying built-up shoes again - not happily. Then I figured, I must be doing something wrong and sought out a real barefoot running guide. This book was the answer. Inside are all the reasons why I was still hurting, and also how to do it right! If you're like me and want to make the change to a minimalist approach, do yourself a favour, and read this book. From my very first run using Ken Bob's Number 1 tip, I noticed a huge difference and that was with shoes on. Less than three weeks later, and my AT issues had disappeared. I'm still working on the PF, but I'm now committed to a full barefoot approach until I can run properly. We'll see whether I still want anything on my feet at all after that!
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