Thursday, 23 September 2010

It's all about splitting hairs... we have been warned!

It’s interesting... our blog-site seems to have created a hang-nail effect by some true ‘barefoot runners’. Quite funny actually, we started this blog-site a whole 3 days ago and already much has happened in the background. Do read on!

It all started with an innocent mail to the world of barefoot-runners, especially those epitomized in Chris McDougall’s wonderful book “Born to Run” asking them to link to our blog-site and of course to share of our newly found passion, barefoot-running… or almost! And that’s just it. You can imagine that some (extreme) loyalists got their toes stepped on when we made such an innocent mistake. See here below for the full on e-mail communiqué between ourselves (the newbie’s) and the ‘bearded loyalist’ whose name has been changed for dramatic effect! (of course!) Please note! It has become quite apparent that there needs to be a distinction made between actual barefoot running and barefoot style running (on minimalist footware). So without further ado, enjoy the educative and hilarious chain of e-mails over the past 24 hours:

We deleted all the names of people involved because we think that it would be inappropriate to mention them here.
This is how it all began;

"Hello ***

We are two Dutch girls and we recently started a blog about barefoot running. It's called barefootfarmgirls, simply due the fact that we are two nice girls who run barefoot and live on a farm ;-). If you got time you might wanna take a look and tell us what you think? If have something interesting we can put on our blog, please let us know. We really do wanna spread the word in Western Europe about barefoot running so any information be more then welcome!

We did also put a link on our site to your website. Maybe you can be so kind to link us back"

With kind regards,
Esther & Michelle

Our receiver responded kinda sweet;


My mom was a barefoot farm girl.

what is the URL for your website?"

Have fun,

I thought that was nice of *** to forward our blog to all of his friends and thanked him for that;

"Hi ***

Thanks for forwarding my message to all of your friends. And if your mom was a barefoot farm girl then we must be family!

The url to our website is:

Have fun and thanks again ***


Seemed that *** didn't have that many friends at all;

"Those aren't my friends... well O.K. they are, but they're also my fellow Running Barefoot representatives from around the world.

Ummm... I 'm a little bit confused by your website, is it about "Barefoot" running, or is it about "barefoot" shoes - which make absolutely no sense whatsoever, kind of like naked shoes, or food that starves people - I'm not saying that such things don't exist, just that if it starves you, it isn't food. And if it covers your foot, it isn't barefoot...

Sorry, to be a stickler here, but I'm really tired of telling people that I run barefoot, and them asking me "what kind of shoes do you wear when I run barefoot?"

Life is really confusing enough, without being clear. Me, and the Barefoot Runner's society, and folks on the Running Barefoot discussion groups, have pretty much agreed to the term "minimalist footwear" just so we can speak without seeming deceptive.

So, if you promise to agree that there is no such thing as "barefoot shoes" or "barefoot footwear" no matter what some marketing people may tell us (do we always have to adapt language from people trying to sell us something?), and if there is actually something on your website about running LITERALLY bare foot (right now, I see some post about you running barefoot, but the other posts talk about running barefoot in shoes, so I can't tell if there is a difference in your language, or if you're actually running barefoot???).

Anyway, let me know if your site is actually going to be about running barefoot - and I will consider putting you in the links at website...

No need to let me know if it's only about running in minimalist footwear, as in that case, I'm not very interested - the people selling minimalist footwear are doing fine, and can buy their own advertising."

Have fun,

WOW... He's taking it really seriously! So this was our respons;

"Hello ***

Hmmmz, You've made a very valid and clear point... the terminology is confusing, I can see that now. So I must thank you for enlightening me ;-). Since we have only just kicked off in this new adventure, I will alter the context and content of the blogsite for it to be more specific toward 'minimalistic footwear'. This only because it is a matter of principal (which is important) and since I am not marketing anything except the enjoyment of running in minimalistic footwear, I will be more specific.

In this regard, I can understand if your not interested, and I respect that whole heartedly. In today's marketing environment, it is difficult to keep certain things pure as they should be and having said that, I'm gonna wish you good luck in  fighting that battle. Although I must say, how often do you get to e-mailing 'almost' barefootfarmgirls all the way in the Netherlands, based on a misconception ??? hihi
*** thanks alot for getting me up to speed and if ever your in the land of cheese, look us up! We'd be happy to give you a grand tour, BAREFOOT n'all!

"Houdoe" (which means 'see ya' in the southern part of the Netherlands)


p.s. The moment we're as naked as you are when running, we'll let you know!"

Other people who were copied in by *** are getting involved too and it's getting really exciting now!;

"Well, i just looked at their website and they have taken your words and corrected themselves and now its titled Almost Barefoot... they seem humble in their correction from ***, and with integrity to change when challanged...

"Without opening it, I initially deleted the first email that was sent with the subject "barefoot farm girls" because I thought it was porn spam....

And I am pretty sure the background image at that blog is a violation of copyright.


As a respons from *** we have now been cc'd in a message to 'his friends' instead of him directing it to us. Hello... ***..? We're over here!;

"As it turns out, "Barefoot" in their minds, means running with footwear..."

Have fun,

We're becoming quite famous now because 'the whole world' had to read this according to *** because he keeps copying in all "his friends". So lets respond to 'the world' then;

"Allright.... is seems thats everybody gets involved know. So for your (complete) information I'll send you the email I send to ***
yesterday. We also posted a message onto our blog in which we correct ourselves.

* To ****: We made a picture reference note and a link on our site to Luis Escobar, in refund of using his picture.

* To *******: Thank you!

Below the email I send to *** yesterday;

"Hey ***

Hmmmz, You've ...... we'll let you know!" (see above)

The man keeps coming back;


Sadly, as **** pointed out, your choice in website name is also victim to the same misleading type of marketing... That is, just as you confused our Running Barefoot website with one that endorses minimalist footwear, the idea of farm girls running barefoot - or otherwise, innocently is easily mistaken for a porn website...

But, I'm not all about keeping Running Barefoot "pure". What I'm talking about is not misleading people with false terminology - sure the footwear advertisers misuse the word "barefoot" when selling footwear, and sure, porn sites want to lure folks in to see some "innocent" barefoot farm girls - but as individuals and organizations not interested in "selling" something for what it isn't, we should be more responsible than sales and marketing people.

More importantly, the supposed benefit of minimalist footwear, "to protect the bare soles" from feeling the ground, is the biggest danger!

Before you go out for another run in your minimalist footwear, please read my article:

Have fun,

Allright enough of this... its wasting our time! We emailed a 'grand finale' to *** and "the world";

"Hey ***, 

have you not got anything else to do with your time and talent ? Instead you waste your energy preaching. Pffffffffffffff!

It does strike me though as how conditioned you have become to porn. It´s quite apparent that you have had enough exposure to such like sites to be able to visually conjure up images of bare/breasted farm girls running up a sweat, with or without footwear. No, no, I´d rather imagine you spending your energy ´preaching´ to the foot/fetish blog-sites. I´m sure you’ll have a far bigger fan club over on that route.

Thanks for being so kind as to sending us your article. I’m sure you’ve spent half your lifetime writing it, however, we choose not to read it. It is ultimately the freedom of choice one inevitable has in this day and age, which we choose to exercise when we share about what it is that excites us!  So, take a bite out of this, shave your beard and grow up. Perhaps a pair of shoes will help you in not getting your toes stood on so quickly."

Thanks and regards,
Esther and Michelle

Now all of a sudden ***'s tone has changed;

"Yes I do have better things to do with my time... And I wasn't criticizing your choice of website name, I was criticizing the porn industry for making people associate an innocent sounding title like yours with their sites... (That's the kind of sites I have filtered through in 13 years of random searches for barefoot running, and related topics - even at work, when I once made the mistake of searching for information about a "hard drive" - I work on computers for a living - well, you might imagine not all the results were computer related...)

Anyway, yes, I have spent 13 years on-line "preaching" about running barefoot, and it's benefits - but more important than "preaching" I have been listening to my soles, and other people who have been running barefoot and in minimalist footwear, and I'm tired of getting messages from people who claim that they broke their foot while running "barefoot" in minimalist footwear. If they were actually barefoot, they wouldn't have been pushing their feet into the ground hard enough to break their foot, because that would have hurt enough to make them stop doing it, long before they broke their foot! And that instant, emphatic feedback from the bare soles, that teaches how to run even more gently than you can imagine (until you try it) is the true benefit of running barefoot.

And that is what I have that is better to do, to help write stuff like this, for those who are interested in listening, hoping it might help some peaople have even more fun running (barefoot or otherwise), for the rest of their lives.

And seriously, do HAVE FUN!"

Have fun,

Thank you ***, it was very instructive and entertaining! 

-Esther & Michelle-

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