This afternoon I spontaneously suggested to three of my daughters that we go running in bare feet at a nearby soccer field.

Of course they were shocked at this suggestion, yet quickly agreed to it.

I came up with this idea because I’m almost finished with the book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

The author discusses the Tarahumara tribe (check out this 10 minute video about them here) in a remote area in northern Mexico, where they routinely run 100 or more miles at a time in bare feet or makeshift sandals.

He also presents evidence that our bodies were designed for long distance running and that before the creation of the running shoe in 1971, running injuries weren’t common like they are now.

When you wear running shoes, your heel hits the ground first, whereas when you run in bare feet, the padded middle portion of your foot hits the ground first, which is easier on your feet.

I decided to see for myself what it’s like to run in bare feet. I have no memories of running like this as a child because I always dutifully wore my PF Flyers when going outside to play.

So off I went to the soccer field with my daughters.

We ran 125 yards or so and my 15 year old said it was “exhilarating.” She never uses that word when she talks about running laps in her Nikes at tennis practice – that is always drudgery for her. She has fond memories of running barefoot as a child and was happy to experience it again.

We turned around and ran the 125 yards back to our shoes, which we reluctantly put back on. It was definitely more effortless than running in shoes and I hope it created a fun memory for the girls.

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