if you are squeamish about feet, don’t read this post and certainly don’t look at the photo!
i was running barefoot on the beach near my mother’s house for 6 weeks. the sand is not so fine, not like the white sand beaches that squeak underfoot. this sand is coarser, sometimes with patches of shellgrit. Running barefoot on this sand abrades the skin on the soles of the feet and blisters the pads of the toes and the balls of the feet, since i run primarily on the midfoot and push off with the toes, also running along the outer edge of my feet. this is the theory at least. running this way softens the heel strike and is less shocking to the body, and strengthens your calves. it’s murder on the soles of your feet. This is a photo of the healing large blood blister on the pad of my toe. i have blisters on the other toes too, and some stinging raw patches here and there. i don’t hate it. the pain is good, somehow. there are calluses forming to protect my soles now.
barefoot running is so much more rewarding than shoed running, but i’m not yet callous enough to run in all environs barefoot. i’m back in shoes now, because i am not near the beach, but i will try to travel to the beach periodically to run barefoot in the sand.
the philosophy of running barefoot is written about extensively, has been practiced throughout history and the risks and benefits are still debated. certain notable athletes have competed barefoot, and i certainly witnessed amazing barefoot runners as a kid at school, living out bush.
this is a book about barefoot running: Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by christopher mc dougall
this is a site about barefoot running: http://barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu/
and some other reports: http://www.runnersworld.com/running-shoes-gear/barefoot-running-minimalism
here’s the thing: injuries will happen. you are only ever a certain amount of time away from a muscle tear, a sprain or bone injury. barefoot or not.