Barefoot in the Canadian Winter?

…I don’t think so!! Even though I have run barefoot over 6 to 9 kms. in -10C temps., I don’t recommend it.  As much as I’d rather say otherwise, it’s simply too tough & dangerous re: frostbite etc. for the vast majority of humans.

Having said that, I am proof positive that if you start ‘warm’ (i.e. after warming up indoors),  keep the feet moving for the whole run & avoid the cold/slushy pools created by ice melter mixed with snow & ice, you CAN run barefoot in sub-zero C conditions.

For those experienced in running barefoot, you know that shifting to  ‘footwear’ as minimal as the Vibram FF Classic is a major impediment to safe, efficient squat/scoot mid-foot running. My recommendation is to go as minimal as you can tolerate (assuming you know how to brace your body & caress the running surface) in the harshest of conditions & pray for the onset of spring weather! If you follow the ‘tight/light/compact/forward’ technique of the squat/scoot, your body will survive until you can directly re-activate the proprioceptive, neuromuscular firing of your feet.

Look for details on the BAREFOOT-SCIENCE  stimulus inserts in my next blog. Here’s to safe & efficient, baby!!

coach jeff


4 thoughts on “Barefoot in the Canadian Winter?

  1. Hi Jeff, your friend Lance told me to take a look at your blog. Since one year I am a devoted barefoot runner. After finishing the Marathon of Rotterdam with an injury I put of my shoes and I will never ever run again on shoes! Also now, when it’s winter in the Netehrlands, and we have snow and temperatures from -7 degree Celsius and a chilly wind I go out early in the morning to run. I am still building up gradually so I just run for 20 minutes (4Km) and even with this conditions it feels good. Perhaps caused by the short duration, but I don’t have any problems with these conditions. After finishing a cold run I feel stronger, physical and mental! I have put your blog in my favorites and I think I can learn a lot from someone experienced as you.

    1. Hi, Kees. Lance & I do lots of work together re: his barefoot-science inserts. Many of my runners wear them with great results in their work shoes etc.
      I also run barefoot in most conditions of the Canadian winter. we just got hit with -21C temps – that’s TOO cold for me going barefoot. Most of my runners can go in the FFs even in these conditions. Once you go barefoot, you’ll never be able to run effectively in ‘coffins’. Keep me posted.

      PS – I have been to the Netherlands on business a few times & have run all around Amsterdam etc.

      1. Hi Jeff, I keep posted! If you visit the Netherlands in the future contact me and I can show you the most beautiful barefoot running tracks in the green hart of the Netherlands! Running trough green grasslands and windmills!

      2. I was in the Netherlands last October, Kees, on my way to South Africa. I will most assuredly contact you prior to my next trip to your country (hopefully, this happens sooner than later!). I love running in the Netherlands…

        coach Jeff

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