5 Winter Barefoot Running Hacks

January 23, 2022
Inside this article:

When the temperature drops and winter arrives, use the following 5 tips to get out and continue your barefoot running training:

1. Dry or wet conditions

Wet conditions are the biggest barrier to barefoot running in the winter. Wet feet lose heat rapidly, and if the temperatures are approaching freezing, frostbite may be a danger.

Be extra careful with slush as its salt content means it can be well below freezing.

Snow counter-intuitively has good insulating properties and many can run barefoot through it, however, exercise caution especially if your feet go numb.

Any kind of barefoot shoe will make running through wet and snowy much easier and more comfortable.

The dry pavement on the other hand can be okay at low temperatures, sadly it's quite rare in winter.

Almost any minimalist shoe is enough to make snow passable. I've run miles of trail in Vibrams without issue. My feet hurt from the cold, but never went numb.

2. When is it too cold

This varies from person to person as over time the body goes through cold adaptation and will build tolerance.

If you become numb, it's generally too chilly. Ignoring that is the quickest way to put yourself in a lot of trouble.

3. Look after the rest of your body

When your core temperature is too cold, your body will redirect blood flow and therefore heat from your hands and feet to the torso.

Since that is the opposite of what we want, aim to make your core slightly too hot. That way, your body will direct blood flow to your hands and feet to try to cool down.

4. Shoes were made for a reason

In cold, wet, snowy conditions, wearing barefoot shoes will help a lot.

They're going to keep your feet warmer and they'll provide more grip on the ground. Combining them with a thick pair of wool barefoot socks will make sure they say warm even when wet.

5. Prepare for the worst

You never know what might happen outside of your control that might force you to stop running. Normally it's not too big a deal, but in cold winter temperatures, it could quickly turn into a bad situation.

Make sure that you're prepared for these situations with extra layers, socks, warmers or technology that could save your life.

The bottom line...

Hopefully, these tips give you the confidence to get out and run this winter, it's one of the most magical times of the year to be out there on the trails!