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Confession of a Barefoot Trail Runner in the Pacific Northwest

For several million years, man walked and ran barefoot. Shoes are a relatively recent invention, dating back to 5,000 years or so. Running shoes are even a newer development, only about 170 years old. The real explosion in running shoes started in the late 1960s with the birth of jogging, and has continued ever since– but the shoes have become bigger, more cushiony, and bulkier (ostensibly to lessen the increase of foot and leg injuries experienced by runners, yet running injuries have pretty much remained constant for the past four decades). Yet in the past few years, spurred on by the success of the national bestseller Born to Run which exposed the fallacy that running shoes are even necessary, or that runners don’t require anything more than the lightest and thinnest protection for their feet — as made evident by the Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico who can run all day in huaraches over steep, rocky terrain — natural or barefoot running has experienced a paleo-like renaissance, especially among formerly injured runners. Its disciples are small in number, but they are indeed a vocal group who passionately use their blogs to celebrate their “feet nakedness.”  Many of these runners post videos on YouTube showcasing their own reborn-to-run experience. These shodless runners are usually seen running on the grass, streets, beach.  A handful, however, go the extra distance–these conditioned athletes are trail runners. The following video by an unknown trail runner from the Pacific Northwest is a successful example of this barefoot-is-bliss feeling. Filmed along the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park in Portland, Oregon, the video begins a tad slow, perhaps to help establish the natural mood; yet, the shoeless running action wonderfully and wildly kicks into high gear around the 1:30 mark. Music by a sound artist named Karunesh is emotionally stirring as well.


  1. he’s not unknown. that’s my friend and running partner Daniel. I’ll let him know you posted his video. he’ll bd quite thrilled. he’s quite an impressive runner and has gotten better since he made that video close to two years ago i believe. can you believe it took about six months of asking him to join me on the trail and now he won’t leave it?

  2. Barefoot trail running is the BOMB. Once you try it you’ll never stop.

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