Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cold Weather Running

So, after Tuesday's toe-swelling/frostbite-like mishap (or whatever it was).  I decided that now is the time that I have to switch to the "minimalist" side of the barefoot/minimalist runner.  For some reason, I don't recall last winter being quite so cold.  I started this barefoot journey last January and never once had an issue of being too cold. 

On Thursday I went into my local REI and purchased a pair of injinji socks to wear inside my VFFs.  I was interested in trying a pair of these socks to see how they might help with the cooler weather.  My main intention in buying the injinji socks was for my huaraches that I recently bought from  (Stay tuned for another post about my new huaraches.)  However, I plan on taking the huaraches out bare for a couple runs this week before utilizing the injinji socks for warmth and any possible chafing between the toes. 

I went for an 8-mile long run yesterday evening.  It was an odd feeling of wearing "shoes" with socks and running.  It has been a long time since I've had that feeling on my feet.  However, my feet felt nice and toasty.  Another benefit I found to wearing the injinji socks was that I did not get any blisters on the inside ball of my foot from my VFFs.  I had previously had issues with getting a small 1/4 inch circular blister, often on my right foot, from the Vibrams. 

The one downside that I experienced during yesterday's run was not shoe/foot related, but diet.  Around mile 4 I started feeling a bit off in the stomach area.  By mile 5 I really started to feel bloated.  I started taking short 30-second walking breaks.  I decided that I needed to focus on something other than the nauseating feeling that I was having.  I buckled down for the next mile and a half and concentrated on running form - good arm swinging, lifting my foot, and quick cadence.  I managed to make it to about 6.5-miles before the nausea took over again.  I spent the last mile and a half walking more than running.  I managed to complete the 8-mile run in 1:27.  Disappointing since it was 13 minutes slower than my previous 8-mile a couple weeks ago.

So, back to the cold weather running.  Like many newbie-barefooters, I was a purist.  Now, I'm feeling more comfortable with delving into the minimalist mentality of Last Place Jason from Barefoot University - go barefoot when you can and use the most minimalist shoe for the situation.  The colder weather, upcoming trail runs and other situations are making me consider my minimalist options.  My preference would be huaraches, but that is still to be determined.

Until then, it's all about staying warm!


  1. I love injinji 5-toe socks but for my huaraches I am ordering split toe injinjis. My feet get cold very easily so the toes need to be together to keep warm.

  2. Interesting! I didn't know they had split toe. Will have to check that out if my toes still get cold.

  3. Um yeah, I need a pair. I went for a run around Lake Merritt on saturday and it was COLD. My friend had her vibrams and injinji socks on and I think it helped.

    Looks like I'm gonna need some gear to help me stay warm.

  4. I have been running in huaraches for about 8 months. Mostly in rocky, steep California terrain, but took a trip to Portland, or. Before Thanksgiving. It was about 23 degrees, and I admit it was cold but ran 5 out of the six days I was there and it was awsome! I tried the Injinji with sandals but didn't like the feel, had to take them off mid run.

  5. I've never tried that kind of socks but I find it very interesting after I read your blog. I wear both Vibram and Zem and never had any problems since. I love them -- so far, so good. There's actually one shoes that it's very similar to Vibram,the only difference is its health benefits which is way better than any other barefoot shoes out there. It's called Kigo Shel. It looks somewhat like an aqua shoes but once you wear it, you're definitely going to love it. In fact, I just bought mine last week and customized it by adding some unique designs. The reason I'm doing this is because I want it to be somewhat like a signature shoes. Check out my pictures here.

  6. Here is a thought for many who gravitated to be barefoot because it made more sense that bracing a foot, when encouraging atrophy would only lead to pathologies or injury.
    Keep to minimal footwear with some good tread. Traction will be important as slips can result in injury either when your butt hits the sidewalk, or when you realize that you can't really do the splits. However, these minimal footwear will still act to some extent as a sensory insulator. So get some biofeedback type insoles that will interface with your foot's arch apex region. This will continue to provide some proprioceptive stimuli until spring comes.