My Barefoot Bio

Discussion in 'Front Page News' started by Phil Maffetone, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. Phil Maffetone

    Phil Maffetone Barefooters
    1. Arizona -...
    2. United Kingdom
    3. International

    Nov 15, 2010
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    My Barefoot Bio
    Here is a brief background about my barefoot life.
    By Phil Maffetone
    I spent a good amount of my childhood playing outside barefoot. My first official barefoot race was in 1968—a 220 yard sprint during a high school track and field meet. In the 1970s, en route to studying to become a doctor, I learned all about the structure and function of the human foot as a key to optimal posture and movement. This included understanding its bones, muscles and movements, and how to fix a dysfunctional foot.​
    In 1977, I entered private practice with a focus on treating athletic and stress-related injuries. All the patients I saw were asked to first take off their shoes. I not only examined their feet, but studied the wear patterns on their casual and sports shoes—even in those without foot complaints, many had foot dysfunction that caused knee, hip, back and other pains.​
    I began writing articles and lecturing about the feet, and how they could be adversely affected by shoes. I ran the 1980 New York City Marathon in flat-sole running shoes. But the footwear industry started making thicker and more over-supported running shoes that immediately created an explosion of foot- and leg-related injuries. Even non-athletes started wearing these overdesigned shoes, with the same sad consequences. Not only did the injury rate continue to increase, so did the price tag for these products.​
    By the mid 1980s, I began recommending that runners and other athletes, walkers and those wearing casual shoes consider following what I then termed my first line of defense: “minimalist” footwear—these included a nine-dollar pair of shoes sold at Walmart, ten-dollar Keds (two of my favorites for running), and other less popular shoes that were flat, relatively thin and not oversupported.​
    I continued spending a lot of time barefoot, including walking and running, and recommended the same to my patients. In fact, barefoot therapy was one of my regular rehab recommendations.​
    In the 90s, as I continued coaching athletes in virtually all sports, I began writing books on health and fitness. I also tried to find a publisher who would be interested in a book about the widespread problems associated with popular running shoes, why less support is best—better than the new thicker trainers—and how being barefoot during part of the day could be an answer to correcting and avoiding injuries of the foot, ankle, knee, hip, low back and spine. A number of publishers told me that a book like this would not be liked by the “powers-that-be.” What they meant was the footwear industry and the running magazines they supported through advertising would blacklist it. Finally, in 2002 The Lyons Press accepted my manuscript, leading to the publication of the first barefoot book, “Fix Your Feet.” Mark Allen, who I began training in 1983, blurbed, “This book could put to rest many of the aches and pains that you thought were just normal.”​
    Shortly after the book came out, I quietly retired from private practice and coaching endurance athletes. Instead, I shifted my time and attention to a new interest: I became a songwriter and soon came out with two music CDs. You might call my musical style acoustic-folk-rock. I got to work with many great musicians through my friendship with music producer Rick Rubin. In fact, I became quite close to Johnny Cash. As it were, one of the first songs that I ever recorded in Nashville was called “Barefoot in America.”​
    “Fix Your Feet” sold a few thousand copies with very little marketing, but the publisher refused to come out with a new edition or second printing. Interest in going barefoot was still scant. (I later incorporated much of the content from “Fix Your Feet” into the pages of my most recent book, “The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing,” which was published by Skyhorse.)​
    Now, all of a sudden, the public is keenly interested in all things barefoot, a passion and excitement whose catalyst was the national bestseller, “Born to Run” by Chris McDougall. Going unshod is becoming more and more popular. There’s barefoot runs, barefoot hiking, barefoot-style running and walking shoes, barefoot blogs, and several barefoot running books. The modern human foot has never had it so good after being trapped for way too long in shoe prisons.​
    And so I have decided to step into the barefoot ring once again, with the first-ever release of “Barefoot in America.” It's my hope that singers and musicians in other countries create their own version of my song. Going barefoot knows no borders or restrictions no matter where you live. And it's still something I do every day in Southern Arizona where I now live.
  2. DNEchris

    DNEchris Barefooters
    1. Washington

    Jun 25, 2010
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  3. I-Did-It (Steve)

    I-Did-It (Steve) Barefooters

    Jun 3, 2014
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    Hey Phil....thanks for lending your voice to the cause ;-)

    Now if you could just help get the word out to a few hundred thousand junior high and highschool coaches that would be a big deal...too many kids getting damaged by indoctrination into running with toe cramping padded boards on their feet, i.e. The modern running shoes....the coaches just don't know any better.
    Sid likes this.
  4. canary island feet

    canary island feet Barefooters
    1. Spain - España

    Aug 29, 2014
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    great story!!
  5. Neil_D

    Neil_D Chapter Presidents
    1. Australia
    2. Presidents

    Aug 30, 2010
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    Hi Phil
    I just love telling people I can run fast and barefoot along concrete pavements and seeing the look of horror as they envision the heels hitting the ground at high speed.
    Most people find it incomprehensible that you can land on your forefoot and store all the energy in the muscles and tendons ready for the next landing.
    I still have a pair of "running" shoes from 8 years ago that I use for gardening and when I put them on they feel very strange and I just can't imagine how I ever ran in them.
    I felt so far off the ground that I got nervous that I would fall over in them.
    The running magazines are a disgrace, all the poor information in them. I recently saw the cover of one of the local ones with a big photo on the front of someone doing a massive straight legged heel strike with a big grin on their face. I wonder if they will be smiling in 20 years time.

    Tristan-OH and Sid like this.

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