Look, no shoes: Experienced runner talks about the transition to barefoot running

Published: 2011-07-18 09:38:27
Author: Teresa L. Iattoni

Barefoot running has become more noticeable in the last few years. There are several brands of barefoot or minimalist shoes, and many articles about the pros and cons of barefoot running. One of the physical therapists at ThedaCare Orthopedics Plus, Tim Hatlestad, a barefoot runner, shares his first-hand knowledge on the subject.
1. How long have you been a physical therapist? 32 years, since October 1979.

2. How long have you been a runner? 38 years. I started my sophomore year of high school.

3. How long have you been barefoot running? I began barefoot running seriously three years ago. Prior to that I dabbled in it just kind of intuitively because I knew it felt good and seemed to have a positive influence on my legs. I would do it back then (15 or more years ago) after doing speed work on a track. I would finish the workout running a mile or so barefoot on the grass just on the inside of the track.

4. Why did you start? I began barefoot running seriously three years ago because of a long-standing hamstring and heel pain as a result of being in a cast for six weeks for a major knee surgery in 1982. I also had surgery on my right knee in 2006 for a cartilage problem after which I was told to seriously consider not running at all due to risk of progressive arthritis. It was around that time I read an excerpt of Chris McDougall’s book “Born to Run,” and as soon as I read it, I knew it was for me.