Running Barefoot

Last summer and fall, as I took my daily 20-30-minute walk during my lunch break, I noticed someone running barefoot several times a week. The first thought to cross my mind was: What about rocks, broken glass, tin cans, gum, even bird droppings? Why was she doing it and was it safe? Oh, well, I thought, it’s none of my business what other people do with their feet.

One night this spring, while driving home from work, I saw what looked like a UI student running barefoot, and, the next evening, I saw a group of students running barefoot. Since then, I have noticed barefoot runners several times around the UI campus. What is going on—a barefoot phenomenon?

I tried to do a little research on the subject and some of the sites I visited were so technical that it was a little above my head. Some explained “the collisional mechanics of different kinds of foot strikes” in great detail. The gist was that barefoot runners land on their feet in a way that avoids a jarring impact. One site said to remember the three-times rule (one barefoot mile = three miles in a shoe). There’s even a site called

One interesting fact that I found while researching was that in the 1960 Summer Olympics, Abebe Bikila won an Olympic gold medal for Ethiopia running barefoot.

As a child, I would “go barefoot” all summer, only donning shoes for church on Sundays, but I guess I have gotten soft in my old age and prefer to keep my feet nice and clean and cut- and bruise-free. As far as others running barefoot, I revert to my original opinion—it’s none of my business what other people do with their feet!

Jane Kirsch
Programs Assistant

This entry was posted in Behind the Scenes. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>