You need to be a member of Eric Orton Running Academy to add comments!

Join Eric Orton Running Academy


  • Hey Sanjay. I'm in Atlanta and have been following Eric's coaching for about a year now. Let me suggest a couple of options for you. These are just from my experiences, so take it for what it's worth...
    1. The super minimalist shoes like the VFFs are great as a compliment to other more substantial shoes. If you try to switch to running in those exclusively, it's only a matter of time before you get injured (assuming you're looking to log 20+ miles a week). Better to use those for 10-20 minute foot strengthening exercises once or twice a week.
    2. I've been running in the New Balance MT100s since last December and I really love them. There's not much to them, but they provide just enough cushioning and stability to allow you to focus on midfoot striking without getting injured. Another more cushioned option that is good for transitioning to the midfoot strike is the New Balance 800. The sole is pretty flat, but it's still pretty padded. So you can focus on a proper foot strike, which will build up the lower leg muscles, tendons, and ligaments - which will take probably 2-3 months - and then you can move to a more minimalist shoe to start building the foot strength on your longer runs.
    3. Another even more minimalist option is something like the Asics Piranhas. They're racing flats, so they're about as close to barefoot as you can get without going to the VFFs. I use these for my foot strengthening workouts. I usually run about a mile or so to a local track and then kick them off and barefoot in the grass for 15-20 minutes. Then put them on and run home. You can get them at Phidippides.
    4. I have 7 year old and a 4.5 year old boys who runs everywhere they go. The oldest wears converse all stars. Inexpensive and flat as can be. The youngest wears vans. I'm doing my best to keep them out of the thick soled shoes, as well. So far, so good. The oldest sometimes goes to the track with me and runs a mile or so in his all stars. It's amazing to see how they just naturally run properly.
    5. I'd highly recommend Eric's strength building program for you. It's focused on building up all of the base muscles and connective tissues you need to be able to start running long distance without injury. It helped me a lot.

    I'm currently training for a 50K just inland from New Orleans in January. The race is called the Q50.

    Good luck!
  • As a matter of fact, I have been looking around and seems like water shoes might be the closest thing to VFF. They cost about $10 and available at pretty much any store. REI has those for $20 bucks and if you don't like them, you can take them back. Anybody tried water shoes yet?
  • I had forgot about converse! Good idea.
  • Joe, Thanks for the comment. I have been looking for something to wear everyday and closest thing I found was water shoes. I do have an older pair of Nike racing flats which I wore all day yesterday but they are narrow in the front and casuse some pain near the thumb. I also have almost 8 year old twin sons. My goal is to keep them away from thick soles. I am wondering if water shoes would work for them too. Since they are young and have pretty good feet to begin with, other option could be just plane Converse sneakers. Any ideas?
  • I recently switched to Nike Free 5.0s for all my running from Asics Kayanos. I'd been wearing the Frees for several months as everyday shoes to increase foot strength prior to running in them, I started with particularly weak feet. Mileage and speed are both up, knee and hip pain are gone.

    One significant muscle pain I felt after the first Nike Free runs was across the top of my forefoot and in the thin muscle going up the outside front of my shins. If I'm reading my anatomy correctly, those are connected

    I recently bought my 8 year old daughter a pair of running shoes and went for our first run together. I chose Nike Sport Freedom Lights ( because they had the most flexible footbed of all the kids running shoes I could find. (she also wanted the swoosh like mine) There were not many choices. Most kids running shoes seem like scaled down versions of adult shoes, which for little feet, results in nearly rigid soles.
  • Thanks Paul. I am actually seeing a chiropractor tomorrow and hopefully, he will help me get over some of the current issues. I have been my VFF for at least 5-6 hours and I stay fine with those. I am going to wear my VFF tomorrow morning for about 45 minutes hike on the trail and I have been walking bare feet around the house. It really does feel good to walk bare feet. Will keep you all updated. Thanks.
  • Sanjay,
    I would start by walking in them a few hrs every other day for a few weeks and maybe one run of less than 20 minutes once a week. Do that for a two weeks and see were you are. I just started wearing mine around the house. I have the luxury of being a stay at homer, so I only wear shoes to go out or run. Suacony Progrids are the running shoes I wear. I was wearing my Asics for everyday, but now they give my left knee pain after 30 minutes of wearing. I will probably transition the Progrids to walking around and get some new running shoes in the future.

    Look around the other forums and Erics advice on the fivefingers. I like the way the feel as well. For the kidos I would stick with New Balance as fast as kids wear shoes down. Just get then a little big for them. Got a seven year old who has yet to outgrow a pair of play shoes. He is wearing New Balance with an elastic type tie-less string. If he trys to go way to fast they fall off. If they are into organized running than I would get some Nike Pegagus. Let them run around barefoot outside as well.
    Good luck,
  • guys, thanks a lot for the replies. First, let me disappoint some of you. I am not Dr. Gupta. I just bought 5 fingers and I have been wearing them for walking around and ran a bit in those yesterday. I think I overdid because toward the latter part of the day, I really had some pain in muscles in left leg. I do know I need to probably get adjusted.

    What are you guys wearing for regular walking? I actually do like the feel of 5 fingers in walking but I am thiking I should get something cheap. I also have almost 8 year old twins and I would like to get them something flat minimal shoe for running. Does anybody know of any minimlist shoe for kids? Thanks.
  • I wish you'd taken the Surgeon General position!
  • Dr., Gupta,

    If you are looking for minimalist shoes, try Nike Free's. I transitioned to them full time last month from my Asics. I would follow Eric's advice and work your way into them slowly running 10 mins at a time at first and and then increasing your time slowly. I figured it was time to transition when my feet were hurting in my Asics when I ran. Eric's training programs are great with foot strengthening. He helped a 43 y/o overweight former smoker finish his first half marathon yesterday. Good luck!!!
This reply was deleted.