The bare foot is the best running coach money can't buy.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Dirty, Gnarly Feet

I saw this clip on MSNBC about barefoot running this morning. Watch it if you feel your IQ needs to be knocked down a couple of notches. It's the usual BS about glass and grody (remember grody? Ah, the 80's). Re glass, I'd like to ask: how do you know there's glass on the ground? Because you can see it. If you can see it, why on earth would you step on it?

But that's not what I'm focusing on today. "Dr." Nancy asked the pseudo barefoot runner (he said at the end his fiance makes him wear Vibram's most of the time) to show his feet. his soles, which looked a little dirty from walking barefoot on the studio floors but otherwise fine, weren't even in the frame before the "Dr." said, "eewww, those are some gnarly feet you have."

Here is my right gnarly foot as of this morning before I ran:

A closeup of the main area of contact with the ground:

No calluses, nothing grody as far as I can tell.

I went for an easy two miler with the wife through town. Here's what they look like after:

The longer the run, the darker the gunk on my feet. Today is supposed to be a rest day, so two miles is all you're getting. But you get the gist. The light patches are the dry, tougher spots where my feet bear the brunt of my weight. People tend to think they are calluses when I show them my soles during/after a run. They're not; I think that's just what happens, unless calluses disappear after a couple of minutes of scrubbing with soap and water:

and a closeup:

If you would like to use my feet for foot modeling, I'll put you in contact with my agent.

Bear in mind, this is after 225 barefoot miles in two and a half months, almost entirely on asphalt and concrete. Add to that the few long runs on gravel paths wearing minimalist shoes.

Questions for shod runners: how often do you clean your feet? Is the road really more grody than the inside of your petri-dish of bacteria shoes? How do they smell? Are you starting to feel swindled yet?


  1. I had the horror of stewing in your aqua shoe aromas in the car the other day. Please, continue going shoeless. Also, it's good to see that your foot modeling career is still going strong.

  2. Ugh. yeah, those were gross. Putting them in the washer right now.

  3. One under-mentioned aspect of running barefoot is that you don't have to worry about "stinky" feet.

  4. Once I my legs stop hurting from the marathon, I see who's swindling whom. Nice 10-K PR by the by. Cheers1

  5. Viper,

    Congrats on a new shiny 18min shorter marathon PR!

    Have fun with the experiment.

  6. your feet look excellent compared to mine. Mine usually look much dirtier after bf. The skin of your feet looks very healthy.

  7. Anon: Oh, they get plenty dirtier. I'll post them sometime.

  8. Congrats on the 10k time. You're right: foot modeling may be in your future. Your inspiring bare feet may -- may -- get me to take another shoeless slog.