One of my goals for 2017 is running over 1,000 km barefoot. Despite my experience as a minimalist runner, accumulating over 30,000 km already, running barefoot is not exactly the same.
Until now I have ran around 350 km barefoot since the beginning of 2017. My feet are getting very well adapted although, as I said, running barefoot is a more demanding activity even than minimalist running. To achieve this I have had to reduce the number of runs and the distance of each run, compared to the previous year.
In addition, running barefoot on certain ground types (hard, abrassive, stony, sharp terrains, etc.) or under harsh weather conditions (cold, humidity, rain…) can be a more demanding effort for our feet.
Few months ago I noticed there were some socks for barefoot running called Free Your Feet (FYF). As I have began my yearly goal in winter and with tough weather conditions, some weeks ago I decided to test them. On this post I tell you my experience with them and which is the most appropriate use for them.
Why using socks for barefoot running?
Everyone who has ever tried it knows that barefoot running requires being really aware, seeking the terrain for obstacles before each step.
Any distraction can end in a hit against a hard obstacle, feeling the pain of stepping on a small stone or simply a puncture by a sharp object.
That is why it is advised to look for any minimal protection to try to avoid those potential dangers. Also, if this protection doesn’t alter natural running biomechanics, we can consider it very interesting.
What are Free Your Feet socks?
Free Your Feet (FYF) are five fingers socks designed with an innovative technology. They are knitted of 46.5% Dyneema® yarn. According to the maker this is the strongest fabric existing, 15 times stronger than steel. The 54% left is Lycra, which allows some elasticity and adaptation to the foot.
Free Your Feet socks come in two versions: one is low-tide and the other is high-peak, with a Swiss flag design.
The fabric has a dense and compact look. The footbed is covered with grip dots for better grip, while the upper is completely smooth. The inside is soft and comfortable. They come with a little bag to store them after being used.
Protection for your feet
One of the most interesting features of these FYF socks is that they offer extra protection for our feet. As they include Dyneema® yarn, FYF socks offer a high resistance to cuts, tearing and abrassion.
But, although FYF provide some protection, they are not cut-proof or puncture-proof, so they are not in any way a replacement for shoes. You should not wear them on surfaces where you wouldn’t run barefoot.
When running with FYF socks, we have to take the same cautions as when running barefoot.
Wearing FYF socks, small stones, branches or other blunt objects can be almost unnoticed. However a nail, a piece of glass or any other sharp edged object can puncture the fabric.
Regarding this we should not be over-confident. When wearing them we must still run with the same caution as if we were barefoot.
From my experience using them I have confirmed that my feet are much less fatigued after running with them on than when I run totaly barefoot. Also, when stumbling or slipping I have avoided some annoying bruise on my foot.
Feeling the ground
Dyneema fabric has a high thermal conductivity, so they provide thermal sensation from the ground when running barefoot and they dissipate the heat caused when running.
This fabric is also hidrophobic, helping to repel water and dry quickly without gaining much weight when wet.
Fitting FYF socks
Free Your Feet socks come in many sizes. The maker provides a correspondance table with sizes and foot measurse. However, from my experience, I would advise choosing a bigger size than the recommended by this table at the time of writing this post.
I say this because fitting the socks can be really difficult and can take us several minutes. Especially the big toe is very hard to fit in. Also, if you are a minimalist runner or you have already ran barefoot, your feet will be wider and stronger, and they can be harder to fit into the socks.
However, once they are on, these socks fit perfectly and I find them very comfortable. They don’t make any chafing or blistering after running with them on, even on the first use.
My main concern before testing Free Your Feet socks for running was durability. As you know, I run 100 Km weekly average, so durability is one of the main points for me. I understand this product is not comparable to running shoes, but I want to know how long they can last.
The maker clearly states that using the Free Your Feet socks for running on hard or abrasive surfaces such as asphalt, tarmac or pavement will drastically reduce their lifetime. For this reason you must avoid these surfaces and run solely on soft grounds such as soil, sand, grass, etc.
However, when running offroad by paths it is very common to find hard soil surfaces, especially during summer. In the video attached to this post you can see the condition of the FYF socks after having used them for over 100 km.
So, would I recommend FYF socks for barefoot running? It depends on the situation. With their current durability, I would not consider them a good option for an experienced barefoot runner who is quickly running lots of kilometers. Soon a more resistant version of these socks for barefoot running will be released. As soon as I test it I will update you with my impressions on it.
However, I think that FYF socks can be specially useful in the following cases:
- To begin running barefoot without suffering bruise in your soles when they haven’t hardened yet.
- To get the right biomechanics by alternating them with minimalist footwear or huarache sandals transition to minimalist running.
- To run barefoot under harsh weather conditions, such as cold, frost, snow, rain, mud, etc.
- To use them as socks for huarache sandals when running with cold or rainy weather. They fit very well to the foot and the huarache sandal, and they are of course a lot more resistant to abrassion than common socks.
Please check the following link if you are interested in further information or buying the Free Your Feet socks.
I hope you enjoyed this review. Greetings and see you next time.