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Barefoot Running Step by Step (2011)

Always Remember…

  1. Running Barefoot should be comfortable (on almost any terrain)
  2. Running Barefoot should be easy
  3. Running Barefoot should be FUN!
If any of these are not true for you right now, then play with how you are running until it is more comfortable, easy, and joyful.

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Barefoot Running Step by Step (2011)

Triathlon Rules about Barefoot Running

Cathy Lee-Saxton running barefoot at She-Rox Triathlon 2011 October 15 San Diego CA

Cathy Lee-Saxton running barefoot at She-Rox Triathlon 2011 October 15 San Diego CA

There used to be that rule about “having shoes on the bike and run courses” for any World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) event, which included the Ironman brand triathlons.

I opted to do the Ironman Florida WITH shoes, but was kinda OK with that decision as I was plodding over VERY rough tarmac (which I could even feel through shoes) in the dark at 2300h. Truly though, it would have been much cooler (in all ways) to have done it barefoot. Besides, at that time, there was some concern over that practice being legal and I did not spend over $2K to be DQ’ed (or even get a point).

Before that I did the Vineman in Northern California barefoot. I asked the USAT official beforehand if it was legal to do without shoes and he said “You CAN, but I do not understand why you WOULD”!! I thought that was funny.

Later I, too, tried to find the “shoes rule” in the books. I did not find anything under Ironman or WTC rules and they referred me back to USAT rules. Try as I might, I could not find a rule referencing that matter in the USAT rules. Though I did see the part where it says something like “upper body garments must be worn”. I think that was because at the time (obviously before I was doing triathlons!) so many women were doing triathlons topless with absolutely nothing covering them that some other (probably jealous) women got mad and instilled the rule.

I have worked with many USAT officials and I am a USATF (Track and Field) official. Specifically in the USATF rules (a subsection of rule number 143), it specifically states that barefoot IS acceptable for any sanctioned USATF event.

In fact, I am currently working in Florida and in just a couple days I hope to be on Haulover Beach (you can look it up) where I will also be barefoot.

Barefoot Todd (Byers)

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16 comments to Triathlon Rules about Barefoot Running

  • You may be referring to a different set of rules from a different governing body, but the rules for the USA Triathlon organization are here.

    Under Cycling Conduct, it says “Cyclists shall wear shoes at all times while on the bike.” Violating it appears to be a disqualifying event.

    And under Running Conduct, is says “Participants shall wear shoes at all times while on the run course.” For this violation it only seems to be a penalty.

  • But rules from ITU are quite clear:

    M.5 Run Course
    M.5.1 Shoes
    a) Running barefoot will result in a disqualification

    What about that??

  • Editors

    There will be different rules depending on the governing body of each individual event (and the whims of individual race directors and organizers). However, if the race is sanctioned by an organization that explicitly permits running barefoot, such as the USATF, that would be something to show the organizers/officials if they try to tell you that you aren’t allowed to run barefoot in that particular USATF sanctioned event.

  • Editors

    From ITU rules page 26:

    The competitor:
    a) May run or walk;
    b) May not crawl;
    c) May not run with a bare torso;
    d) May not run without shoes on any part of the course.

    Good thing I didn’t bother to finish the triathlon I attempted back in 1983 (1M swim, 50M bike, 12M run), because I was too tired after the swim and bike to run or walk 12 miles (in those days it hadn’t occurred to me to run barefoot in races), and I didn’t feel like crawling, so I dropped out.

  • Editors

    This is why I won’t compete in triathlons, at least until they remove their discriminatory practices against those of us who were born without footwear (and have no need for prosthetic footwear – other than to satisfy discriminatory rules).

    Besides triathlon rules are far too complicated for my mind to keep track of. Running, it’s simply a matter of crossing the start line, staying on course, and crossing the finish line… only 3 things to keep track of, and 3 is about as high as I can count.

  • If barefoot means a foot without covering, then all you need to do is cover the TOP of the foot.

    • Editors

      Yes, if the rules forbade bare feet, instead of requiring that “shoes” be worn.. of course, you might be able to debate the meaning of the word “shoes” with them, but that too makes triathlons unnecessarily complicated.

      Have fun

  • Barefoot Damon

    “d) May not run without shoes on any part of the course.”

    The rule doesn’t state that they have to be on your feet. You could just carry a light pair or stick them in your belt and you would still be “running, with shoes”.

  • Editors

    Correct. My friend, Barefoot Jon completed the run portion of an Ironman in Idaho, with flip-flops in his fanny-pack. One official asked “where are your shoes?” and he told him, and was not penalized.

  • Becky

    So….I am trying to understand all this. I will be racing this year under USAT-sponsored events in Ohio. Will I be able to run sprint triathlon’s barefoot? I am confused. Thank you

  • Interesting as I have looked into this myself for triathlons in Australia. The ITU ruling listed above seems to apply at most races. However I did complete the 10k run leg barefoot at the Byron Bay oly tri last year, and wasn’t pulled up by the officials.

    The funny thing is no matter what rulings, the sport of triathlon is one of the only sports in the world where every competitor runs barefoot, if only briefly… in the transition from the swim to the bike!

  • Paul Wallis

    ITU rules are very clear in that barefoot running is not allowed. However what is unclear is what the penalty should be. As long as an athlete “is not without shoes” (carrying them should qualify) they should not get DQ’d. Check out the apendix of the 2012 rules to see that barefoot running is not mentioned.

  • [...] easy – barefoot and in fair trade kit. Here are some thoughts about barefoot running in triathlons and there is even a barefoot triathlon.Energy drinks – make your own etc.SummaryIt will [...]

  • Lucy

    I was going to do a duathlon once, and it said in the entry form details, ‘shoes must be worn’. I emailed the organizers and said I prefer running barefoot, and they said that’s fine. The obvious response to that would have been ‘ so why does it say it’s not fine on the form?’ but I couldnt do the event in the end anyway. Sometimes these things are just ‘ cut and paste’.

    Now that I run a small community event myself, I know from experience, we just want people to turn up and pay! Couldn’t care less what they wear.

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