Massage and Barefoot Running

The other day I went for a walk.

I could walk or run in the country behind my home. But, the corn is so high (and everywhere), the pollen is annoying, the dust from the gravel roads is…dusty. I am sneezing and clausterphobic a the thought of it. So, I opted for a very short walk from my house to the new high school track.

As I was stretching, I started thinking about massage and then ashiatsu. My mind wandered.

What about barefoot running? I hear about it all the time! Could I do it? Would I like it? What would the high school kids think as they saw this crazy lady running around the track with no shoes and her 5th generation iPod?

I like to grip and feel the ground. It brings me back to the days of gymnastics and running on the springy floor, or down the vault runway. I loved the feel of my feet hitting the floor or ground. Shoes just feel so awkward to me sometimes. I and I am sure many of you barefoot massage practitioners feel the same way.

I decided I wanted to try it.

Just not that day.

I needed to do a little research first.

I am not an expert on barefoot running. But here are some articles (read the comments too) about barefoot running:
Chris McDougall
Runners World

I know I do not want any wounds on my soft, working feet. I want to protect them. Shoe companies have developed “minimalist running shoes” to help those who would like to try barefoot running, but protect their feet a little more. I am looking into those now.

Do you run barefoot too? I would appreciate some feedback!

About Ivy

Thank you for reading this post! In addition to writing here at, I write about more general massage topics at Massage & Bloggywork, as well as teach massage continuing education at Advanced Massage Techniques.


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  1. I love using minimalist shoes, it feels much more natural to me, and I feel like it’s much better for my joints. You have to be careful making the transition if your feet aren’t used to it, as it could easily lead to plantar fasciitis or other maladies if you overdo it, but I think in the long term there are a lot of benefits. I have New Balance Minimus running shoes, and they’re great. It feels like you’re barefoot in the way you can move, but they have just enough sole to protect you from anything sharp on the ground. However, the’re still thin enough that you can definitely feel every rock and pebble, so you still need to watch where you’re going!

    • Ivy Hultquist says

      Thank you so much for the advice, Abram! I am taking a trip through Des Moines to Omaha this weekend and I hope to do some shoe shopping. My dad is a chiropractor, and a big fan of NB shoes in general. I will definitely look at those.

      I will report back after I get started. I am most likely going to try a night run first. I sometimes feel like I run like Phoebe from “Friends”, and I am afraid barefoot running might exaggerated my amazing running form.

      From what I understand, I should notice some strengthening in the muscles my feet. I figure this cannot be bad for a barefoot practitioner. But, I am a little concerned about callouses. Have you heard of anyone having a problem with those?

      • Haha! Well, I’m not the best example for callouses–barefoot running was an easy transition for me because I’m an avid rock climber, and while the tight, supple climbing shoes are great for the strength of your feet, I’m not exactly callous-free 🙂 So I haven’t noticed any MORE callouses from the minimalist shoes than I already had… But personally, I like developing the callouses; if I get a blister it usually doesn’t hurt, because there’s still a thick layer of skin underneath! You just have to keep the callouses down with a pumice stone, so the skin is strong but they aren’t so big that they’ll tear off and leave you worse than if you had just gotten a blister.

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