Not sure about barefoot running? If only there was a way of going half-barefoot to see if you like it…

Drum roll please. Enter: The Freeheel Running Pad.

Winner of the ISPO Award 2012, the Running Pad is designed and manufactured by Starringer in beautiful Bavaria, Germany. Starringer claim the Running Pad is of minimal weight, protecting the foot only where it is needed, and is a great alternative for long-distance and high temperature runs.

FreeHeel Running Pad Barefoot Minimalist Natural Heel Toe
The Freeheel Running Pad

The barefoot revolution has certainly brought us some of the most peculiar-looking shoes over the last four years (think Vibram FiveFingers, One Moment, ZEMgear), but the Freewheel Running Pad is certainly the most bizarre. It is genuinely innovative. It’s neither a shoe, nor a sandal. It’s not a glove, nor a hoof.

From the top, you could easily mistake the Running Pad for a sandal. Very similar to a Birkenstock. I particularly like the use of the straps – very trendy. But then we look at the side profile. The sandal has no sole under the heel, nor does it have anything to wrap around the back of your foot.

FreeHeel Running Pad Barefoot Minimalist Natural Heel Toe
Would you dip your toe?

The Archer

Now I haven’t tested this ‘shoe’, and the jury is out on how they would perform, but I really fancy having a go at these. To me, they look like something you’d see on a half-horse/half man. As a Sagittarius, my Zodiac symbol is the archer – maybe that’s why I am attracted to them…

FreeHeel Running Pad Barefoot Minimalist Natural Heel Toe
“I’ll have two pairs, please”

A little more:

  • Improves muscle strength/coordination lower extremities
  • Higher running efficiency as compared to heel striking
  • Optimal foot climate compared to other “barefoot shoes”.
  • Back to the roots – like in telemarking “free heel” & snow shoe “free-heel”
  • No need to squeeze your toes in little pockets
  • Water & gravel in & out!
  • no length adjustment needed – select from small/medium/large depending on the width of your fore/midfoot.
  • Backup-Protection for barefoot runners

Check out their website for more information: 

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7 thoughts on “The Freeheel Running Pad – Doing Things by Half

    Been looking for something like this for a while.

      How do you think they’d perform?

    Depends on the strap. If you can get a secure bind out of it, I’d say fairly good. I’m awaiting diagnosis on a probable metatarsal stress fracture, but as soon as I’m back on the up, I’ll look into getting a pair. I’ve tried to make similar things myself, but they never worked… If no one else has tried them by the time I get hold of them, I’ll post an update, but that might be a while.

      Good luck with that metatarsal injury. I may try and pick up a handful of these shoes for testing. I’m a little skeptical: I don’t see them being a high-mileage ‘shoe’. I also think (with them being made in Germany) that they could carry a big price tag, similar to the Swiss Barefoot Socks I posted about a few days ago…

        Cheers. I see your skepticism. I’m not sure about their claim about it being a long distance shoe. And it wouldn’t work for some of my runs, but I do like the idea. If they’ve converted the idea to product well, then they could be a handy addition to my footwear pile. Particularly to get me out of town on proper barefoot runs, until I’m over all the glass and stuff and can slip them off.

        And yeah, what are you paying for what you get? If the price is disproportionally high, given that it is essentially a sandal cut in half, then I don’t see it being that popular…

    Cheers for sharing those links Martin. Interesting stuff…

    They seem quite impressive, and the studies they have done back that up. Interesting to note that the ‘inventor’ himself ran a half marathon, then a 52km trail race (the Karwendelmarsch) in them. Of course, he must have his forefoot technique down to a T… I run ultras, but even after a while I start losing the technique and my heel starts dropping. You wouldn’t want to be doing that with these (unless due to the shape/angle of the pad, it makes it difficult to even lower the heel to ground level).

    According to the prices on the ‘Christmas Package’ inside the PDF, they seem very expensive (159E for 2 pairs – as opposed to 198E normally!).

    Nevertheless, I would love to test them out, and potentially sell them here in the UK.

    …And finally – for anyone reading this. Our online store goes live on the 13th February!

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