05 April 2019

Yeah, but how many miles do you get?

I run.

I run really far.

I run really far barefoot.

Yes, it’s true, I am a barefoot runner. Now, confessions aside, you may wonder what that has to do with anything. Well, not much. I took it on to remedy or cure a multitude of running related niggles, injuries and maladies. Modern running shoe technology failed me with its promises of better, faster, cushier running. Research showed me that my naked foot, a marvel of technology itself, solved my problems. By strengthening my feet and using them as designed, I removed the load on my joints, straightened my back and incorporated the muscles that should propel me across the land. As a result, my running improved, and those niggles, injuries and maladies disappeared.

As much as running barefoot feels good and free, I sometimes need foot covering of some sort. For instance, the ground may have pointy rocks or the temperatures may be too cold. In that case, plenty of options are available. Sandals made for running are nice for treacherous terrain. Another choice is a minimal shoe that has a very thin sole, no support and a light airy upper. These shoes are also handy at my job in health care where they frown on bare feet.

At first glance, these shoes appear normal enough, but on closer inspection one can see that the sole is a not quite an eighth inch thick. They are so thin that I can roll them up into a ball that would fit in my pocket. These shoes are also terrific for walking and running, and that leads me to this post’s topic. One of my coworkers has taken to running and did so in a minimalist fashion. She isn’t interested in running barefoot, but would like to use the least amount of shoe possible. In the past months she has transitioned down to the same style as me.

She told me the other day that her pair had splitting on the side and she asked me if I experienced that with my shoes. I said it can happen, but I get a lot of use from them before they tear. So she asked me, “Yeah, but how many miles?”

Sadly, I couldn’t give her a clear answer because I get a lot of mileage out of my shoes and have pairs that have over a thousand miles logged on them before they show signs of wear. I feel bad I can’t give her a straight answer. I made a video in the past and posted it on YouTube to illustrate this problem and thought I’d send her a link to it hoping it might answer her questions. I thought I’d share it here.



  1. I've never tried those shoes. I had used moccasins from way back in high school. I also did a lot of barefoot hiking and some running. After moving to FL about 15-20 years ago I always ran barefoot. Now I don't have all the neat trails and clear surfaces as FL so I bike more than run. I guess that was one advantage of where I lived in FL. I'll need to look for those shoes and give them a try.


    1. Hi Bill. I did moccasins too until they stopped being simple and became like shoes. The Merrell shoes feel very much like the moccasins did and I use them for everything.

      You’d be surprised how easy it is to run over most surfaces with a little practice. I would be interested in discussing this further. Write me.

  2. Gingerbread Woman11 April, 2019 08:35

    I've never tried actual barefoot running, but I did transition to slightly more minimalist lower-drop shoes (4 mm drop). The running store had previously put me in "too much shoe" because of pronation, but it led to injury anyway. Where I live barefoot is impractical for at least 6 months of the year, but I would like to switch to zero-drop shoes at some point.

    For everyday use I like shoes that look "normal" but are low- or zero-drop, like Lems or some models of SoftStar. It's challenging to find shoes that are suitable to wear with a dress. My favourites were Vivobarefoot Kali but they were discontinued.

    1. You might consider looking into Altra shoes. They have an extra wide toe box and are zero drop. They come in various levels of cushion and might be a good choice for you to get started.

      Regardless of shoe choice you can work on your style. I have good luck with Chi Running.

      As far as getting a pair for dress, you might take a look at Marc Cucuzzella’s site at