The Northern Bootcamp guide to barefoot running – part 2

The Northern Bootcamp guide to barefoot running – part 2

OK, so you’ve checked out our guide to barefoot running here, and been a bit jealous of our campers who got to try out minimalist/barefoot running here.

So now you want to try it for yourself, right? As we discussed in our last blog, barefoot running doesn’t mean you actually have to go barefooted – there are loads of trainers on the market, from quite normal to really extreme, that will replicate the feeling of barefoot running, while protecting your feet from all the nasty stuff you’re likely to find on the floor at your local park.

We’re not recommending any of these – this is just an illustrative guide, and not a set of reviews, aimed at showing you the kinds of trainers that are available. If you’re interested, the best thing is to find a good running shop (not a standard high street trainer store) and seek the help of the staff there.

We have graded the trainers from top to bottom, starting with the easiest/most accessible for beginners, moving down to the harder, more expert styles.

  • The traditional minimal trainer – ie Asics Gel Hyper 2

barefoot-running- asics-gel-hyper2

First one on the list, and we’ve cheated already… these aren’t really barefoot trainers, but they are really lightweight and minimal – what would typically be known as ‘racing’ trainers. These are the kind of trainers the top marathon runners will wear for their big race, and they would be a good intro to minimal running if you’re used to wearing heaver trainers, or trainer that offer a lot of support.

  • The soft and flexible option – ie Nike Free


These are incredibly popular trainers because they are incredibly comfortable. They feature a sole that Nike claims flexes along with your foot, replicating the movements that your feet would make if they were bare.

Note that these are so flexible, and offer sol little support, that they generally aren’t great for very long distances – but they are a good way to make a start in barefoot running.

  • The thin, lightweight ‘barely there’ trainer – ie Merrell Vapour Glove


When you first try running in these, the first thing that you’ll notice is how thin the soles are. They have stiff foam/rubber that offers some shock absorption, but otherwise have next to no cushioning. They force you right onto the balls of your feet – otherwise you’ll come crashing down on your heel.

They are definitely ‘next level’ in terms of the difficulty to use these, so start with short distances, stretch carefully after you run, and build up gradually.

  • The oddball – ie Vibram Five Fingers


These arguably started the craze – and they are certainly striking. They look like gloves for your feet, and the design take a bit of getting used to. However, they offer the closest thing to running barefoot without exposing your feet to the ground. After selling millions of pairs, the Vibram Five Finger market has subsided slightly, perhaps because of the unusual design. Many fans of barefoot running prefer something more conventional-looking. How many runners do you actually see out in these now?


If you fancy some real barefoot (with bare feet!) running on our beautiful beach, you can do so as part of our fantastic weight loss boot camps. To book a boot camp with NBC, contact us on or call 0845 467 3750.

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