#Barefoot #Running in the Canadian Winter


Many would ask “why in God’s name would anyone BOTHER running barefoot in the Canadian winter. That, my friends, is a great question! I trot out the usual reasons:

  • my feet are so used to being uncovered when I run that putting any kind of footwear on them in winter conditions messes up the feel, balance and reactivity
  • I never get what I call the ‘avoidable running itis’ injuries when barefoot and don’t want to run the risk of getting them by putting on ‘coffins’ (shoes)
  • my feet stay stronger, more flexible and activated – I don’t want to sabotage all of the positives
  • my pacing is fast, efficient, strong and forward with little wasted energy – especially on snowy roads, walkways and trails

Of course, only 1 of my regular Team Over The Top runners goes barefoot with me in the Canadian winter. We are anomalies – I know there are other Canadian winter barefoot runners but they are few and far between. Most of my runners wear the following in Canadian winter conditions:

  1. Vibram Five Fingers KomodoSport (the majority) with Injinji toe socks or, out just this winter, the brand new Vibram Lontra (designed specifically to protect the toes from frostbite at temps as low as -20Celsius) – they are fantastic at doing this, by the way
  2. Nike Free 3.0 with the Barefoot Science foot activation system
  3. New Balance Minimus Zero (but those wearing these find they let in too much moisture – they will most likely be switching to the Altra or Skora this winter)


None wear the heavy duty ‘coffins’ for obvious reasons – the main one being to master my Squat/Scoot style of mid-foot injury-free running, they MUST be either barefoot or in the most minimalist of footwear available.

I, of course, will continue to run barefoot throughout the year in Canada. There will be others who will join me – the frustration with running injuries that can be avoided will lead them away from the dastardly ‘coffins’ (running shoes). It’s only a matter of time…

coach Jeff


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