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

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dirty Feet, the continuing saga

After crossing the finish line at the Triple Lakes Half Marathon, I couldn't help but notice how filthy everyone was. Everyone was covered in dirt and grime, knees, elbows, hands, bloodied. Everyone stank. Many neglected to wipe the snot stains from their crusty, salty faces. Along the course we all grabbed pretzels, cookies, and jelly beans (thanks, Off n Running!) from bowls that had already been in contact with hundreds of snotty, sweaty, germ infested hands. Running is a dirty sport.

What other hobby includes preparations to avoid crapping oneself?

And yet one of the biggest responses I get to my barefootery is "Ew, that's disgusting." Invariably from someone standing in a petri dish of bacteria that snugly fits their fungusy feet.

Maybe wearing shoes while running is more hygienic than going barefoot, but how much? I'd gladly submit my grubby post-race feet to a hygiene test and compare results with the post-race foot of a shoe wearer. But given the general grossness of physical exertion, does it even matter?

All that aside, if we want to just focus on foot hygiene, running barefoot forces me to scrub (and I mean SCRUB) my feet every day. My feet have never been cleaner, as before barefooting they were too sensitive for anything but a little soap and water.

Question for shoe wearers: how often do you wash your feet? How do they smell? How much do you spend on anti-fungal medications?

ADDENDUM: This tirade is directed to the shod who say "ew." The vast majority of runners I've encountered have been more than pleasant, and honor their mothers with a display of proper upbringing and manners.


  1. Congratulations on the Half!!! Shoes and stinky feet go hand in hand.

  2. Shoes or no shoes, we're a pretty gross tribe.

    BTW: First barefoot run in the books. Now let's see how long it takes for the weather to shut me down.

  3. Zataod: ba-da-bum.

    Viper: I saw - congrats!

    I find the best way to deal with rocks and pebbles is swearing.

    Any questions, let me know. I don't want to clutter your blog comments with unsolicited advice.