Running Flip-Flops

Taking a cue from Born to Run, Barefoot Ted, and the Tarahumara, I’ve converted my flip-flops into “Huaraches”.

Running Flip-Flops

I’ve been going most of the summer completely barefoot but when shoes are needed or my feet are too sore I’ve been wearing some $5 sandals that I bought last summer. The heel and forefoot have been compressed to a couple of millimeters thick and seemed ideal for minimalist footwear.

Today marks my second run in these sandals resulting in a decent pace and 3 miles through SE Portland relatively free of pain. I say relative as my calves started getting sore pretty early into the run but it was all muscle pain and not of blisters, knee, foot, or other weird pains brought on by other running shoes.

Some people think me CRAZY for trying such a thing, but as you can see by Barefoot Ted (BFT) that it is a perfectly viable way to run. In fact, it seems far better to run with only a few millimeters of protection from glass and other sharp objects rather than huge pieces of foam and other “correction” brought by popular running shoes.

In the near future, I hope to order a kit from BFT to make huaraches from Vibram rubber and leather straps. The google group “Minimalist Running” is a GREAT place for more info.

I can hardly wait to run again on Thursday.


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  1. Seems as if you aren't merely a proponent of running about shoeless but actually hold shoes in contempt. You may now know this, but in 2006-2007 I wore the thinnest possible shoes, they were little more than sheer mocassins. 0-support, 0-padding. I remember thinking how cool it was that I could feel the texture of the ground I was walking on.Playing DDR/ITG on them I developed acute tendonitis on account of uncorrected severe genetic pronation and flat-footedness. My left ankle would regularly lock up and I could barely walk. I'd literally hop one-footed down stairs.My osteopath proscribed orthotics, New Balance cross trainers and a regimine of stretching exercizes. Within a month I was feeling some relief and now I'm playing far more intensely than I ever was back then and with minimal soreness.And so now I sleep with my New Balance 621's on, and only take them off for ritual cleansing.

  2. I did not know you were wearing flat shoes for some time. I approve.Since I've started going barefoot as much as possible, many of my foot and leg problems have been going away. Even with widened shoes, my knee and foot aches kept coming back. I have major issues with orthotics for problems that many times can be fixed with conditioning the atrophied muscles.I have a book "Runner's Repair Manual" that seems to fix EVERYTHING with orthotics and taping. How can orthotics compensate for each shoe as the sole starts to thin to one side or wear down? How can your arches ever get stronger if they are always supported?I had to get rid of $500 in running shoes since each pair introduced more problems than they supposedly solved.I have two pair of running shoes for when I have tender or blistered feet that need some TCL, but they squish my toes and eventually bring upon the old pains.I don't know about your genetics, but you shouldn't give up on stretching and conditioning your feet to work without shoes as much as possible.

  3. I don't think you understand. I blame the flat footwear for the tendinitis and will never go back to using it.My feet are genetically flat. I have no arches, and never did. When I walk barefoot in my tile kitchen the soles of my feet actually make audible sucking sounds. When I get out of the pool my footprints look like slices of pizza. Standing barefoot my ankles roll off the vertical unless I stand tippy-toe. No amount of physical conditioning can give me arches or prevent the pronation caused by their absence. When I was a teenager one doctor told me that he could give me arches by breaking my feet and wiring them into a new shape. I had no problems at the time so I told him to take a flying fuck at a rolling donut.And, honestly, even now I've never had sore FEET. That is part of the original problem. I didn't know I had a problem because I didn't have discomfort in my actual feet. I stretched before playing, but that probably just delayed the inevitable tendon damage.The new stretches and exercises my osteopathic doctor gave me were not to fix the arches, but to heal the ankle tendons that were ravaged by my lack of support and the extreme lateral stress from doubles play DDR and ITG.Since I switched to properly sized cross trainers for lateral support and with orthotic inserts to correct the ankle joint's angle, my ankle problems have gone away and I still have no sore feet. As you can see from the video I linked I move VERY fast now, far faster foot movement than I had even before the tendonitis. I think that you have fundamentally sound feet that responded well to physical conditioning and can allow you to run without shoes or to run with neutral footwear.Or perhaps you have feet that really can't and shouldn't receive active support.You seem to think that what works for you will work for anyone, and I used my personal experience as an example.As a fellow fit human, I just figured you should hear it from me.Some people who engage in extreme activities wearing shoes you don't approve of do not have problems that can be traced to shoes and have HAD problems that could be traced to shoes you do approve of.

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