May 06, 2018


International Barefoot Running Day in Bangalore, Ready to ditch the shoes?

International Barefoot Running Day

As the name suggests, ‘barefoot running; means running without or with minimalistic footwear. The tradition of walking barefoot has been a part of the Indian tradition for a very long time.

At 6 am, this morning I headed over to sprawling Cubbon Park, Bengaluru.

I was there for the International Barefoot Running Day. This idea was to promote the natural and healthy method of running & walking.



The experienced runners and those who wanted to attempt a barefoot run or walk for the first were welcome to join the event.

  • 15mins Warm Up session - 6.45am
  • 3km or 5km Walk / Run - 7.00 to 7.40am
  • 15mins Cool down - 7.45am
  • 30mins Q & A - 8.00am


Running barefoot is a gradual transition to make. Is it more comfortable and healthier?


Tips before you start

Start by walking barefoot once a week, and slowly increase your speed and regularity

- Practice on tracks initially, then switch to roads

- Mild pain in forefoot and calf muscle is likely at first. Massage regularly after the run

- In case you step on a thorn, or a sharper object, or for any kind of discomfort, stop and fix it first

- In case you are a diabetic, do consult your doctor or medical professional before making the switch


The run was hosted by Thomas ‘Bobby’ Philip,the first Indian to complete the Boston marathon barefoot. With a pep talk by Bobby, the 45 minute walk/run started at 7 in the morning.

thomas bobby philip


Harshil, a twenty eight year old business analyst was one among the new bees. “ It is a different experience. I feel more connected and relaxed”, he says after the run. The experience of wearing shoes is like wearing gloves and eating for Bobby. “It is human to be barefoot”, he says. There are many like him, who have started living a barefooted life.




Anita, a forty five year old woman has been living completely barefoot for the last two years. She has travelled the world from London to Mongolia barefoot.


She very passionately articulates, “shoes are like caging the feet and we are not allowing them to do their natural work”.


The participants varied in age group. From teenagers to adults, everyone was ecstatic to be a part of International Barefoot Running Day.

Aasima Sultana

Fifty six years old Aasima Sultana is a grandmother who loves to run. “ Once I remove my shoes I feel so liberated and happy”, she expresses. “Just do it for the joy and feel of it” is her message to people.


Other cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Varanasi are also pumped up and ready to run.


But it did not hit India as a sport until people like Milind Soman and Thomas Bobby Philip came to marathons barefooted.


But before them were people like Shigaki Tanaka who won the Boston marathon barefooted in 1951 and Abebe Bikila who won gold in the 1960 Olympics. The trend of running barefoot was not welcomed initially. With concerns about injuries many were skeptical. It was in 2009 that Christopher McDougall published his book, “born to run”. This book enlightened people about the benefits of running barefoot. He wrote about the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico, and how they have been running barefoot for as long as 100 miles without any injuries or health hazard.

Health clubs all over the world, including india were influenced by these method and soon people like Soman were leading marches barefoot.


Home sapian were built to walk and run barefoot. Not only does it strengthen the foot, it also naturally keeps the body posture right while running. Our landing should be on our fore foot to avoid injuries. Shoes on the other hand make our strides heavier and land on the heale, which is the actual cause for injuries while running.


India revived its tradition with health and running clubs adapting McDougall’s methods. Soon there were marches all over the country, people running barefoot for causes. The trend of barefoot running has picked up pace and now the whole world is observing ‘international barefoot running day’ on May 6th every year.


This International Barefoot Running Day people are leaving their shoes, pumps and whatnot and going the naked route with bare feet. Let’s all give it a try!

Reported by Minnal Paranan.