Barefoot versus spikes again

I remember reading an article that pointed to a study done on barefoot sprinting in the early seventies. The person behind the study concluded something to the extent that going barefoot while sprinting didn’t increase times and in some cases decreased it. It was an american study I believe.
Has anyone been exposed to this or similar studies regarding barefoot sprinting?
As for myself I always run faster barefoot than in spikes. Spikes messes up with my rythm. I always feel like I am fighting something when running in spikes. Maybe a biomechanical problem? Barefoot on the other hand feels effortless ,fast and most importantly I feel a rush of adrenalin. The times in training are faster too.

These are the spikes I will wear for my next meet!

I dont. With all that excelleration at the start. I think I would break my foot.

I love running barefoot, but if you are getting out of the blocks at full blast, then you will need the spikes to keep from slipping.

I’m looking into techniques for surgically implanting the spikes directly into my feet :slight_smile:

If wolverine was sprinter!

I will try with blocks tomorrow.

That just reminds me - How does Gail Devers take off with those nails/talons?
She has to use her nuckles rather than her fingers starting - damn that has to be some disadvantage!!

… Hey how does she even lift?

I’m going to stop there - too impractical.

Running barefoot is pretty much the same (biomechanically) as running in spikes, so I don’t see the point in sprinting barefoot if you train in spikes regularly. I think barefoot running has bigger implications for distance runners who do most of their training in shoes with elevated heels

I agree with you on that. The problem for me seems to lie with the surface.
In short:

In flats - Asphalt feels great ,grass feels heavy ,track feels okay.

In spikes - Asphalt feels good when snow-covered, never tried grass ,track feels absolutely unnatural!

Barefoot - Asphalt feels great ,grass feels good ,track feels terrific!

Who can solve this riddle?

I’ve tried sprinting barefoot on asphalt before, and I had to stop after about 20 yards because the impact was killing my feet. Maybe I have bad form, I dunno.


It actually sounds like you are used to your foot slipping a bit when you run and that is why sprinting on snow-covered asphat with spikes feel good but when you use spike on a track (no slipping) it feels unnatural.

Make sure you have some good spikes and then get used to it! You can’t run fast and especially can’t accelerate fast if you can’t grip the track.

I guess it seems like I run barefoot alot ,but on track I have only tried it three times. After being timed at 7.3 on asphalt I moved on to track where I got timed between 7.3 and 7.5 and had a hard time keeping rythm. Then at the end of a workout I tried running barefoot just for the hell of it and got timed at 7.0.
Two days later I started with a barefoot run and got timed at 6.9. On with the spikes and sure enough 7.3 to 7.5.
This was about three months ago and I have been training in spikes ever since ,but yesterday i ran a barefoot 40meters and was delighted by the sensation of smoothness.
To make matters even more strange - when I bought my first spikes it was in the middle of winter and I tried them first on a snow- and ice-covered mudpitch. To my surprise it felt completely natural. In -20c even! Then in May I went to the local track - the rest ,as they say ,is history…

xlr8 ,believe me I accelerate like I haven’t done anything but when running barefoot ,but what you say about being used to slipping could be true - something to ponder on.
Tomorrow (friday) i will get myself timed for a couple of 40meters from blocks. Once in spikes and once without.

When thinking back to when I first used spikes ,the feeling was as if the right foot ,where i supinate quite a bit ,got stuck in the ground. However it feels better now ,but still awkward. Infact it felt better the moment I switched from a rigid to a soft shoe.
Maybe it is a strenght issue?

What kind of track are you running on and how long are the spikes you are using?

With that much of a time difference if you find you can’t accelerate out of the blocks without hurting yourself barefoot you should probably also try the same distance from standing barefoot. I imagine it might be faster than your blocks time.

Hey Thor,
I can also relate to the idea that running barefoot feels great, but I must say I only do it for tempo runs, I have never even attempted with speed work (on the track that is). SOmetimes running barefoot on grass almost gives my feet a massage.
I am just wondering, if you run on asphalt barefoot and do speed, all that constant pressure and forces on your feet, you must have some major calisis (spelling ?).

xlr8 , in the beginning I used the 9mm christmas trees that came with the shoes ,but lately I have been using 6mm pyramids because a competition demanded it. There hasn’t been a noticeable difference when running. Also it is not that the shoes feel awkward in themselves ,because I actually wear them for about an hour each training - walking around between the runs.

Vito ,I dont really run barefoot on asphalt. I just tried it a couple of times for the fun of it. Besides if I have to run on asphalt flats feel fine.

Have you tried running in your track spikes with no spikes in the receptacles? Does it still feel weird? I’m trying to determine if it is the setup of the shoe that makes it feel unnatural or the extra dig from the spikes.

I will try running without spikes in the shoes tomorrow. (I have stopped competing this season anyway)

Today I ran 3 40meters from blocks. Once with spikes and two times without.
Not exactly a scientific study ,but once again I was 2tenths faster without shoes.
My brother who was there commented that I look better when running in flats on asphalt - that on track I have a more upright motion as opposed to forward and that I lack frequency compared to runs on asphalt.
One thing I noticed was that when using spikes I have less control. Like I am running in a preset way. Basically when the run is started I can’t change anything - I am not in control.

I have also experienced this. It is to the point where I wondered if I would be permitted to compete without shoes. My time in the 60m went from 7.32 to 7.15 on two occasions just by taking off my shoes. (Not great times but I am 35and trying out new concepts on myself for my kids that I am learning on this site and through the e-books.) I initially got this notion because I was trying to condition my feet in warmups and just felt so must more natural and light on the track. It was also easier to "feel the sweet spot on my feet as i ran.

I actually wondered if it was just me. But after repeated experiences and now after hearing this I realize(d) that it isn’t my imagination.