As a full-on barefoot runner and barefoot running coach for a number of years, it behooves me NOT to endorse any type of ‘footwear’ for running. To a certain extent, this would border on hypocrisy. Having said that, I also happen to live in an area of Canada where winter conditions can be as follows:
- -20 to -30 celsius
- road salt and sand mixed with ice and snow
- windchill advisories of -30 to -40 celsius
You get the idea. Even for a hardcore, experienced barefoot runner like the old coach, these are prohibitive conditions. I can run on snow and ice up to a certain temperature. However, there is a safe limit to avoid frostbite or worse.
Thus, I look for the BEST combination of footwear to use when running in conditions such as those listed below:
- Sockwas with Barefoot Science inserts to activate the power switch of the body when NOT barefoot
- Vibram FiveFingers (especially the winter version) with Barefoot Science insertsXero sandals (mainly for temps down to -15 celsius only due to the open top). These do make it more difficult to hold my Squat-Scoot technique mainly due to the open ended toe area. Catching this on uneven surfaces poses a problem to my safe, efficient running3. Xero sandals (good down to about -15 celsius only for me due to open top). They also pose a problem when running in my Squat-Scoot manner over uneven surfaces – catching the lip of the sandal can cause unnecessary stumbling
4. Skoras – They are the ones on the table in the top left corner. With a wide toe box, they can easily hold the Barefoot-science inserts. They are also ultra-flexible with a good sole grip on ice. These are my go-to footwear when winter conditions are ultra severe
I get approached to test a variety of so-called ‘minimalist, barefoot-alternative’ footwear by the founders and manufacturers. Even though I seldom run with anything on my feet, I will at least test any alternatives that are sent my way. Generally, I can find some advantages to wearing them in CERTAIN conditions. However, at the end of the day, running barefoot always wins out to keep me injury-free, healthy, efficient and powerful using my Squat-Scoot technique.
You be the judge…