Gentle Running and Living

by Dr Patrick Salmon, PharmD, PhD

Member of the Barefoot Runners Society

Founding Member of the Tarahumara Spirit   

Be gentle

to yourself

and others!

“Life is hard enough to add extra suffering to it”. We propose here a way to build a stronger, healthier and happier self through gentle running. Then, this “ascetic hedonism” can be translated into several aspects of life, to humbly contribute to a better world.

The Gentle Guide to buy the best Running shoes

High heel super fat cushion shoes are NOT for running. They are for walking, standing or partying.

On the other hand, shoes with no or little elevated heel and little cushioning are the best to allow the foot to work as it has evolved to work for a million years or so.

If a shoe “specialist” in a sports store propose you “running” shoes with either:

Walk away !!!

This person has utter ignorance about human biomechanics.

Why? Because:

This person could as well sell “Brick-and-Mortar” or work for the costumes of “The adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert”.

By the way, you must watch this movie at least once. This is a Masterpiece and one of my favorite movies too.

Why? Because of the same reasons as above.

However, minimalism should be taken seriously and not as a fashion trend. Trying to use your foot-leg-body as it is supposed to work does not mean to hurt yourself and dive into some type of “shoeless” religion.

Even though our ancestors ran for a million years without shoes, it does not mean they were not hurt by sharp pebbles or thorns.

We have the opportunity to wear high-tech shoes that combine natural movement of the foot with protection from hostile environment such as pointy rocks, snow, wooden sticks, thorns, dog turds, sticky mud, etc. Also, you need some serious layers of sole skin to run more than 10 km on hot or wet or super cold pavement.

What are those shoes? There are plenty of shoes now, that allow natural movement of the foot. You can find them at this website.

Amongst them, I tested several myself, Merrell, Inov-8 and Skechers. Unfortunately, many of them have been discontinued.

So now, I can recommend the ones below.

VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure to order one EU size above your regular shoe size, so that your toes are free to spread in the shoe.

But my favorite running “shoes” now are the Huaraches sandals from Xeroshoes. I wear them almost always, except when the temperature drops below 0°C, and sometimes below -5°C, or in super technical mountain trails with slippery mud.

I even developed a special way to tie them so that they have a close fit, they do not flap, or rub my skin, especially the skin between and below the 1st and 2nd toes, with the string. Check the Youtube video below.

I know these shoes look like a joke but they really exist. You can even see people “running” in them…

This site is managed by a MD who had knee injuries due to bad running form. Now, he is running Marathons again and has dedicated this site to teach proper running form and spread all info relevant to Natural Running. This site is a Gold Mine!!!

For Men and the road

Merrell Vapor Glove 2

For Women and the road

Merrell Vapor Glove 2

For Men and the trail

Merrell Trail Glove 3

For Women and the trail

Merrell Pace Glove 3

My current « Shoe » closet

My current Trail Shoes for super hostile terrains

Paris 2014, my 1st Marathon in Huaraches

ACSM running-shoes.pdf

Also, you can check for yourself the 2011 recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine for the choice of a proper running shoe, by clicking on the logo just below.

Dr Barefoot Pat tying style

Ultra Mel and John tying style

(As they were taught by the Tarahumara)

Definition of a minimalist shoe


I do not recommend Trail Gloves or Pace Gloves for wet rocks and muddy terrain. Wear them only on groomed and dry trails.

Merrell Bare Access Trail


(If you find some leftovers on Amazon, buy them!)

Altra Superior 2.0

(My current hostile terrain trail shoes)

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail