Barefoot Running and Calluses

Barefoot Running and My Calluses

Barefoot Running and My Calluses

If you’re an experienced barefooter and read my earlier posts, then you may have picked up on a few of my knowledge-gaps. Ken Bob Saxton, author of the Barefoot Running Step By Step book, advises NOT to start on easy surfaces, like sand. Which is what I did. If you start your barefoot running experience on hard surfaces, like gravel, or rough roads, your feet will let you know if your footfall is right or not. Via pain. Beach running for the novice barefoot runner like myself = not enough sensory input to tell me if I’m doing it right.

In December I ran 2 miles on the beach, barefoot, every few days. In January, after reading Barefoot Ken Bob’s book, I started running barefoot on asphalt for five minutes every other day for a week. Then 10 minutes. On Wednesday of this week I ratcheted it up to 15 minutes. And by this point I had developed calluses on the outer edges of both feet, which prevented me from running barefoot today. I was bummed because I wanted the 15 minutes of outdoor exercise but had to wear sneakers. Which is another thing Ken Bob advises against, and which felt YUCKY as it turned out – heavy and confining. I really do like the feeling on my feet and my body when I run barefoot on the road. It’s all in the springiness of the bent legs.

Callouses mean my footfall is off. Ideally I would start on gravel so that the rough surface could teach me to land in a way that is gentle, and correct. I am hoping I can run again in two days, barefoot, 15 minutes. I’ll just land softer, trying to lift the foot before it lands, as Ken Bob explains.

Who would have thought that it’s so tricky to learn what should be so natural and normal?? But wear shoes for your entire life and that’s what happens. I have at least two shod running friends who have told me that they can’t even run barefoot on the beach because it hurts their feet too much.

In his book, there’s a picture of Ken Bob’s soles. They are beautiful. I can’t get over it. Toes are so straight and soles look smooth. Not a callus to be found. My toes are not straight. Maybe they will be if I keep up the barefoot thing.

Callus from barefoot running

Callus on my left foot 6 days later

The callus on my left foot is much larger than on the right so I know there’s an imbalance going on (this only makes sense because of scoliosis/one hip is higher than the other).


7 Responses to Barefoot Running and Calluses

  1. Jose says:

    Thank you Amanda for your great advice to follow all Kem Bobs tips.
    I am reading his book and doing little walks barefoot before starting running, but some times you miss running and you think of wearing minimalist shoes or running on the beach just to speed up the transition. Fortunately, after reading your blog you convinced me to follow my slow transition to barefoot running along gravel roads and tracks.
    Thank you from Spain and I hope you will be able to understand my bad English.


  2. mary says:

    Did you get these healed. This happened to me and it has been 7 weeks. Same spot as yours!

  3. sara says:

    Do you still have callused area in those spots or did they completely go away? I also have the same problem. They continue to burn around the edges and I’ve been off my feet for almost 2 months. Thanks.

  4. Ben says:

    Hello Sara,

    I have had painful callouses, before. What I do is take some sort of abrading board, and abrade them down a bit, after taking a shower. The shower softens them up, and makes them easy to abrade. My theory is that sometimes the hard skin of the callous presses into the flesh, and causes pain.

    Hope this tip helps,


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