Merrell Naked Foot 5K – First-Ever National Barefoot Running Series

Denver, CO, July 11, 2011 – The Merrell Naked Foot 5K challenges runners to run barefoot or test their shod technique against barefoot runners in the first-ever national barefoot race series.

The series kicked off along the Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara, CA, then moved east along the Rocky Mountains in Boulder, CO. This year, the series will continue in Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado, Tennessee and Texas.

Barefoot running has been gaining attention recently as studies have shown that it can help to prevent injuries, improve running form and correct common biomechanical issues that lead to lower body pain and ailments.

“You don’t have the cushioning of the shoe so you are much more aware of your form and tend to land a little softer,” said Lauren Jones, co-founder of the Merrell Naked Foot 5K. “You can’t have bad form when running barefoot or you will really feel it and may injure yourself. Running barefoot forces you to correct those common mistakes runners make like over striding and heel strike, which running shoes actually reinforce.”

The Naked Foot 5K encourages shod runners to compete against barefoot runners, adding a level of competition and making an effort to earn their respect.

“Besides injury prevention, aren’t we preaching how we are running smoother and faster bare?” said co-founder Scott Jones. “ If runners start going bare more often and we start seeing respectable times, this ‘trend’ will take off even more than the prevention pitch we have been giving in every lecture, clinic, and blog around. So let’s embrace shod runners at these events, and challenge them down the home stretch. That in the end is the difference in asking for respect and earning it.”

Register online or learn more about the benefits of barefoot running at

In addition to the 5K, the event includes fun activities for the entire family: a FREE kids fun run, one-mile race, foot massages, foot painting, Tarahumara barefoot games, green/healthy living vendors, prizes and more. On the day of each event,

The Merrell Naked Foot 5K will be collecting gently worn footwear and donations for Soles4Souls. These donations will be shipped to victims of natural disasters or people living in extreme poverty. It is estimated that Americans have 1.5 billion pairs of unused shoes lying in their closets.

“We can use the shoes taking up space in your closet to change the world one pair at a time,” said Wayne Elsy, Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls. “We need our partners across the U.S. to ‘STEP UP’ and get behind our call for action. It’s one of the simplest yet most profound gifts you can make, because it will greatly improve someone’s life in the most difficult of times.”

About Soles4Souls® Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based 501(c)(3) charity that collects and distributes shoes to people in need. Since 2005, Soles4Souls has distributed more than 5.5 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes and is currently donating one pair every nine seconds. These shoes have been distributed to people in over 125 countries including Kenya, Thailand and the United States. Visit for more information.

About The Merrell Naked Foot 5K Founders Scott and Lauren Jones refer to themselves as “barefoot moderates.” They run about ten percent of their weekly training miles barefoot because they love the feel and the impact on their form and strength, but recognize that there is a time and a place for a good pair of shoes too. Scott is an exercise physiologist and former collegiate athlete and Lauren earned her degree in exercise science. They understand the biomechanics of running and how barefoot running can help improve running form and prevent common running ailments. They started The Merrell Naked Foot 5K, the first national barefoot running series, as a unique event to make people curious.

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