• Born to Run Barefoot?

  • Sorting Through the Myths and Facts of Barefoot Running
  • By: Chas Gillespie
  • Narrated by: Kaleo Griffith
  • Length: 1 hr and 36 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (165 ratings)

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Born to Run Barefoot?  By  cover art

Born to Run Barefoot?

By: Chas Gillespie
Narrated by: Kaleo Griffith
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Publisher's Summary

Two million years ago, Africa: A skinny, long-limbed creature who walks on two legs, can’t sprint, and has no weapons turns away from his under-nourished friends, and runs down a much stronger antelope. Dinner. Over succeeding generations, this creature evolves into one of the best distance runners on the planet: the human being. Yet in the age of modernity, we find ourselves unable to run without more than half of us suffering injury. This book looks at the injury epidemic in running and what the barefoot running movement believes are the causes of injury. It analyzes the best-seller Born to Run, how human evolution has shaped our bodies, how modernity has warped those same bodies, and what barefoot running both got right and wrong. It concludes by giving practical advice to runners from the writer, a 2012 Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon.

©2013 Chas Gillespie (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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Save time, read Born to Run again and skip this

What would have made Born to Run Barefoot? better?

The main problem with this book is that he misrepresents McDougall's advice in Born to Run. He Keep saying that McDougall is suggesting that we go out take off our shoes and start running barefoot. That simply is not true. In fact, McDougall was very clear that while he believes that the running method of the Tarahumara Indians is a more natural way to run, and much more likely to be injury free, to switch over to this style of running without a very deliberate, careful, and probably time-consuming effort would be foolish.

What could Chas Gillespie have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Gillespie did not present a good case against barefoot running. His science was almost nonexistent (except for anecdotal cases) and in those cases the problem was not the style of running but it was how the athletes who decided to adopt the style moved in to it too quickly. I felt the book was disconnected in that for a while it was about Born to Run, then it switched over to the sociology of running (to find fault again with McDougall's over romanticizing of the Tarahumara culture) and then spent a little bit of time explaining Gillespie's proposed methods of injury free running. Which, by the way, I would bet McDougall would agree with almost 100% since they were basically just everyday common sense ideas.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The writing style is good it - keeps your interest. The narration is excellent. Too bad the content could not keep up.

Any additional comments?

If you are considering reading this book here's my advice, if you've not yet read Born to Run, read it and skip this book. If you've already read Born to Run, read it again and skip this book - you will get nothing new.

12 people found this helpful

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More of a critical opinion on "Born to Run"

The author seems to be out to get Chris McDougall for "Born to Run". Essentially this is a critical review of minimalist/barefoot running idea presented in "Born to Run", not a comprehensive review of barefoot running in general. It was interesting perspective at times, however the author took it upon himself to say that McDougall encouraged barefoot running, when in fact only one person in "Born to Run" was running barefoot and was often told to put shoes on. Barefoot running was only presented as a thing that "Barefoot Ted" did and some runners do and why they do it. McDougall himself ran in normal running shoes, and so did majority of the runners so this entire thing focusing on McDougall endorsing barefoot running was just unnecessary.

Last critique is that at the end the author gives very conventional advise to running "Take it easy, stretch, buy good shoes, have a coach". So, it seems the conclusion is - don't run barefoot, do what everyone else does.

I still recommend reading it, as I definitely took away several good points the author mentions in the middle of the book, like barefoot running may be natural but if you haven't done it your entire life, your body will suffer if you jump into it head first. The key is taking it easy and training and stretching your feet, legs, muscles to run barefoot very gradually, which should have been the conclusion here.

2 people found this helpful

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waste of time and money ....!!

Dont you think that we should live more like these tribes . We survive hundred of thousands of years without shoes and people ran . We couldn't survived as a specie without running barefoot so to say that barefoot running is a mistake is ignorant. Of course we should all start walking barefoot first . Our comfort = unhealthy life style is killing us !!

1 person found this helpful

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Short, but to the point.

I liked the author's approach of the subject. Very useful tips at the end of the book.

1 person found this helpful

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Very informational

I really enjoyed this book it's very informational. I liked how it stresses the fact that more research needs to be done before making conclusions. it also shows that running is complicated between proper form nutrition and training etc.

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riding on the coat tails of a master story teller

Unfortunately I was not impressed with this "book," which the author did refer to as an essay. The author essentially tried to find loopholes and errors in McDougall's writing of Born To Run. A few things the author mentioned seemed more like common sense and due process for any person investigating attempting a new sport. I feel this person was trying to nit pick certain aspects of Born To Run just to make an opposing argument and then state obvious things like one should read more than one source before embarking on a new path.
Not worth the time.

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  • JA
  • 03-21-22

Interesting critical essay on barefoot running

Some important reminders on what the barefoot running movement has maybe taken too far. Even as someone who enjoys minimalist running I could agree with his sentiments that while barefoot running has a few things right it's important to critically look at what's out there.

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An interesting book

A nice book that was pretty motivational and I found it to be well written. I recommend this book.

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I'm a big fan of science...and this book

I really love the book born too run but things just seemed a bit too magic bullet but I could never quite put my finger on it till this book. They go into decent depth of things but also have more science to back it up than, "well, it worked for me" kind of things.

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Born to run analysis

Basically an analysis of the book born to run. Different point of view and a good viewpoint but don't expect a similar story.

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  • Ramo82
  • 11-24-22

very interesting

this book is very interesting as it looks at running barefoot but also shore runners and what the evidence is on both sides

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Alexander
  • 07-09-22

we know

born to run was a compelling story but over egged the science. it's complicated and there are multiple schools of thought with different approaches. there that's the summary, don't need to listen to it now.

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  • benjymouse
  • 03-03-22

Interesting and informative.

Intelligent analysis of some of the arguments about running technique, without waffling on too much. Also includes a useful round up of advice on injury prevention. Well worth a listen

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  • H. Bernhard
  • 02-22-22

Nice perspective

Gillespie really points out a situation which nowadays is rare:
You create a almost romantic narrative and bake in statements which likely do not get questioned anymore. As done in the bestseller Born to run.
I was amazed myself by that book, even a while before it went viral and hipped. Bought five fingers, ran barefoot, was called an idiot. Before the hype. When the hype started I was on Gillespie path, but not that structured and specific as his notations are.
Hey, there are logic errors in the statements, if a and b is right not automatically c is correct etc.
Brilliant work, good listening, nice perspective.
Made me smile on my last run.
Listen, and never stop thinking yourself.
Highly recommended!

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  • A. Botham
  • 02-09-22

A little embittered

It is a shame that much of the interesting information is ruined by the author’s inability to present the information in the unbiased way he claims to uphold. He is repeatedly guilty of the same arrogance and over simplification he accuses McDougall of. Sadly, McDougall at least has the defence of being a Journalist storyteller rather than someone claiming to actually have the answers.

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  • Ms Paula Cowie
  • 02-06-22

very grounded and honest

loved his ability to see both sides of the story and was so thorough in his explanations

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Maria Zhukova
  • 01-21-22

Looks like an attempt to promote shoes

The author has several logical mistakes, it looked like an attempt to restore reputation of fancy running shoes. He ignores the fact that McDougall actually healed his foot by running and the story of bare feet Fred at all.

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  • Mario
  • 01-01-22

Interesting and approached from different sides

I like how the author analysed different hypotheses. A good and interesting read. I'm not a runner, but I was happy to listen to the whole book in one sitting.

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  • Jammin042
  • 10-29-21

Balanced review

A good corrective to the misinformation found in books like McDougal's "Born To Run".

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-21-21

Straight Shooting

This is a short review on running from a rational perspective. I enjoyed it a lot!