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How to Write a Mass Media Article on Barefoot Running

Healthy feet of an 11-year-old girl who regula...Image via Wikipedia

You’ve probably noticed that articles on barefoot and minimalist running are starting to pop up all over the place these days. While I’m happy that the phenomenon is being covered, most of the mass media articles I’ve read follow a sort of boilerplate formula. With that in mind, I’ve decided to make their job a little easier by providing a step-by-step guide on writing an article about barefoot running. Here goes:

Step 1: Find a barefoot runner.

Step 2: Run with them once.

Step 3: Comment on how it feels weird and causes people to look at you funny.

Step 4: Complain that your feet/legs hurt afterward.

Step 5: Find a skeptical podiatrist/doctor.

Step 6: Publish a quote from said doctor about how barefoot running is dangerous.

Step 7: Attempt to contact shoe company representative.

Step 8: Act surprised when they decline to comment. If they do comment, publish link to article they cite that really doesn’t prove any scientific point about the value of running shoes.

Step 9: Publish nostalgic quote from barefoot runner about how it’s the natural way to run.

Step 10: Leave reader confused about where you stand on the issue.

There you have it – follow these simple steps and you too can write an article on barefoot running that might get published in a major magazine or newspaper.

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a biology teacher, track/soccer coach, and dad (x3) with a passion for running, soccer, and science. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about who I am and what I do, click here, or visit


  1. Middalia Wayman says:

    I agree, those articles really leave you wondering whether or not it is a good thing try. Most of them actually seem to mock it and don’t give a real runner’s perspective on it.

  2. Well done! That’s every article I’ve read.

  3. You’ve nailed the formula perfectly. I think there are some alternative approaches writers could take on this topic, but it seems that most are satisfied to use the recipe that’s already out there.

    I think there are some more interesting themes that could be explored — our relationship to technology, our desire and need to re-connect with what makes us human, a desire for simplicity over complexity.

    Another theme I’ve seen over and over again among barefoot runners is how they resorted to running barefoot after long periods of suffering through injuries when running in traditional shoes.

  4. You left out some of of the other recurring themes (I suppose only in the positive leaning barefoot running articles):

    * Interview Christopher McDougall and talk about his book, “Born to Run”
    * mention the Tarahumara tribe from the book
    * Bring up the studies of Dr. Daniel Liberman from Harvard and his anthropological studies of human running

  5. Very true! They just don’t get it. But we shouldn’t be surprised. Most people don’t even understand how pleasurable running really is, let alone understand about “barefoot” running.

    Nice blog. I’ll be reading from now on.

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