How To

If you think you can’t get more out of your walks, runs or hikes, think again. Merrell Barefoot can help tune up your stride and turn on your adventure. Discover how to stimulate your senses and awareness, develop stronger muscles and find a more balanced posture in the shoe designed to move you.

Before you get started, here’s a list of things you should know:

Start at the beginning. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a weekend warrior, barefoot training should start with the fundamentals. Build on them step by step to get the most out of your barefoot experience.

Practice good form. Proper foot strike, and other factors can optimize barefoot performance. You can learn correct training techniques from our experts.

Build endurance gradually. Barefoot works muscles in your feet and legs that you may not be accustomed to using. If you usually wear socks, your feet may also be tender in the first days of training. Take it slow and easy for better results.

Pay attention to your body’s signals. With any new training regimen, some soreness is to be expected. However, if soreness persists or worsens, take a break.

Choose familiar terrain at first. Different types of terrain can affect your training. Steep ups and downs and areas filled with obstacles, like roots or rocks, should be avoided until you’ve built up greater endurance and strength.

Set achievable goals.  If you’re struggling with soreness, blisters or other limitations, don’t hesitate to shorten your training times or modify your activities.

Raise your game. The more you put into barefoot training, the more you can get out of it. Barefoot helps develop greater strength in your feet and legs and may increase your agility and balance—benefits you can put into play for your favorite sport or adventure.

Be smart. Barefoot frees your feet to develop natural strengths and a closer connection to your environment. It can be an awesome feeling. In the beginning of your training, you can avoid the temptation to push too hard, for too long by sticking to a set training regimen.

Find the right shoe. Sure, we might be a little biased, but we think the lineup of Merrell Barefoot shoes are the best on the market. Try on one of our low-profile designs. We think you’ll agree that our 0 mm heel drops, flexible designs and mapped cushioning make for a great ride. We invite you to take a pair for a spin at a store near you. Just use our store locator.

Have fun!



Develop greater strength. Get connected to the terrain. Experience new adventure. It all starts with Barefoot. Free your feet!

There has been a great amount of interest in the benefits of good running form in recent years, but not nearly as much with respect to walking. At Merrell, we believe that many of the same elements of running form can and should be applied to walking. With a slight modification to the ABCʼs of Merrellʼs Bareform Running, we have developed a series of similar principles for what we call Bareform Walking.

The ABCʼs of Bareform Walking

Align your posture

Balance your foot-landing

Condense your stride

Aligning posture is a basis for all human movement, so it should come as no surprise that proper alignment is the foundation for walking with good form. The ability to “stack” your joints from the ground up, center your hips and align your upper torso, neck & head serves as the foundation for healthful movement whether you are walking, hiking, jogging, running or biking.

Bareform Running and Walking both utilize a “balanced” foot-landing, but in slightly different ways. The Bareform runnerʼs foot will land nearly flat on what we refer to as the mid-foot – or with a slight forefoot-to-mid-foot “roll” – with the support knee being quite flexed. The Bareform walkerʼs foot, by contrast, will land slightly heel first and then roll forward with a slightly flexed or “soft” knee. The heel lands with a more subtle impact and softer knee during Bareform Walking than during conventional walking form.

Condensing – or shortening slightly – the walking stride is the third piece of the Bareform puzzle that allows the foot to land less out in front of the hips. This softens the landing, and makes for a smoother transition from one step to the next with less stress and strain on the various foot, leg and hip muscles. These muscles take the brunt of the pounding from “hard-heel” foot-landings that can occur with conventional walking form.

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