Two years ago, Ruth Langemeijer‘s birthday present to me was four lessons of ‘natural&barefoot running’. Running naturally, with minimalistic shoes on, FiveFingers or even on bare feet – even I had to face that now.

At first I was afraid that I would have to give up too much to get comfortable with this new way of moving. I just wanted to run, as much and as fast as I possibly could, and I really didn’t feel like sticking to a schedule of exercises that I’d never do anyway.

However, I did believe landing on the front or middle part of my feet would prevent injuries. I never expected to be able to run longer, faster and more often by changing my running technique. It’s true that you have to start slowly, because if you don’t, you’ll get all sorts of tiny aches. It is also true that there are exercises to strengthen your feet, but once I went outside barefooted, I was done for anyway.

I felt free and at the same time I felt more conscious of the world than I did with my shoes on. In order to keep my soles healthy, I started moving more fluidly and more easily. Et voilá! A happy, sportive barefoot runner had been born!

Translated by Daphne Liedekerken

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