Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Barefoot Running Book

For my birthday last week, one of my gifts was another barefoot running book.  I already had several barefoot books, but I was looking forward to this new one. It's pretty darn good (as are the others). Here is my quick summary of each of the books:

"Run Barefoot Run Healthy: Less Pain More Gain for Runners Over 30" (190 pages)
This is the new book.  It's fairly small and it's a very easy read.  Being organized around a question and answer format (within topical sections) makes it a quick read. There are short Q & A sections from barefoot runners too. Perfect book for the new barefoot runner and an excellent primer for the experienced minimalist or barefoot runner. I really enjoyed it. Focuses almost 100% on barefoot, rather than "minimalist," running. Has me wanting to go bare again...even if it is winter time! It's "targeted" to runners over 30, but that's mainly because those are the runners that have been frustrated by years of injuries. The book is applicable to people of all ages.

"The Barefoot Running Book: A Practical Guide to the Art and Science of Barefoot and Minimalist Running (2nd ed)" (188 pages)
Great book by Jason Robillard. Lots of excellent tips and exercises, plus warnings and things to consider. Might be the best of the bunch for the beginning barefoot runner. Covers good form and minimalist options. Well written and educational. Not extremely long, but packed full of exercises, drills, tips, etc. Jason comes from a teaching background and it shows (in a good way). He combines his extensive barefoot running experiences with related research to both convince and teach us about good running form, barefooting, and minimalist shoes. 

"Barefoot Running" (320 pages)
The title is right to the point!  Michel Sandler does a fantastic job of covering barefoot, and minimalist, running. His personal story is very inspirational. This is a longer book than the previous two. It would be a perfect overall book if someone is serious about barefoot running...but maybe too much for the first-timer?  Maybe not. It does provide more rationale and anecdotes which might convince people to "go bare." The only aspect I didn't like was the spiritual tone that occasionally crept into the book. A little too "new-agey" for me. Still, a very good book.

"Barefoot Running Step by Step" (240 pages)
A fantastic book by the original (modern-day) barefooter, Ken Bob!  His disdain for "minimalist shoes" does come out, but it's well-grounded criticism. The style is very readable and the book itself is amazingly pretty and of extremely high quality--color photos, glossy paper--just "elegant." Definitely a winner.

"Complete Idiot's Guide to Barefoot Running" (352 pages)
Part of the infamous "complete idiot" series of books. Well done and probably the most comprehensive of all the barefoot books. Tons of research and rationale.  Almost like a textbook...but still readable. It appeals to my logical academic side and it still has a motivational slant. I wouldn't give it to a brand new runner or someone "just thinking about" barefoot running.  It would be too much, too soon (one of the common beginning barefoot running mistakes). If you've dabbled in  barefoot running and considered going even further...this may be your book.

"The Barefoot Book: 50 Great Reasons to Kick Off Your Shoes" (168 pages)
Less a running book, more a case for tossing shoes in general. It's about the barefoot lifestyle. Convincing and still applicable to running barefoot. Very easy read.

"Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger, Healthier Running" (224 pages)
Less barefoot, more technique for good form and efficient running...with minimalist style shoes.  A more difficult read that didn't flow that well.  Also didn't like the tone against "pure barefoot" running (except for drills). It was an OK book, but I can't highly recommend it. At times, it seemed like a promotion for Newton shoes (which the author co-founded). Had some nice technique and form drills. Worthwhile if you are trying to become a more efficient runner...but don't want to be bare.

"Born to Run"
This best-seller started it all!  Not a book about barefoot running...just a well-written story that will resonate with almost any runner...and many non-runners. Awesome! It changed my running life. Supposedly, a movie is in the works. Sweet! If you haven't read

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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