100 Barefoot Miles 30 Day Diabetes Challenge

The picture below is a ‘before’ picture.  This is how my feet looked after day 1 of the challenge.  I should have written this post months ago, last fall I ran, “100 Barefoot Miles in 30 Days’ completely and totally barefoot. No vibrams, no ‘minimalist shoes’, … completely barefoot, and I am diabetic.

  • Why do I run barefoot?
  • Challenges and dangers.


Note: I am able to run barefoot because I maintain non-diabetic normal blood sugar levels.  If you DO NOT maintain normal blood sugars for non-diabetics… do NOT do what I do … until you do.



Most of my miles were on grass which has it’s own set of sometime hidden dangers… but a significant amount of running was on concrete sidewalks or paved roads.



100 Barefoot Mile Challenge

I said to myself, ” Steve, you could start a month long barefoot challenge.  I ran 123 miles in 30 days a couple of years ago (wearing shoes) … so why couldn’t ‘I’ (a 51 year old diabetic)  run 100 miles barefoot????    Without really thinking it through, I decided to GO FOR IT!!! :)


Question: Why would I, a diabetic, risk running 100 miles barefoot in 30 days?

Question:  Why would I do that, knowing that I am in a ‘high risk’ group for amputations? Amputations due to diabetes complications range in the 10’s of thousands every year… in just the US alone.

 Answer:  For the same reasons I do most of what I do.  To cause you to STOP!!!  and hopefully do as I have done… learn to question conventional wisdom, to question everything!


Key Point –  I do not suggest that you do this until …  you have gradually increased your exposure to barefoot walking and then barefoot running. Also, before attempting barefoot activities … you should maintain normal blood sugars, for non-diabetics.  My daily goal is to always stay below 120 mg/dl, with a fasting blood sugar of below 100 mg/dl.


The Challenge

In my attempt to prove conventional wisdom wrong … some times I go too far. It is a risk I take and accept.

This challenge took place last fall, so it was dark by the time I got off work… meaning I typically ran in the dark.  I also wanted to really push myself early to get ahead of schedule.  I needed to average 3.34 miles a day to reach 100 miles in 30 days.

I have run 100’s of miles barefoot on all types of terrain without any problems … but I usually do not attempt to sprint on pavement for long periods. I did the second night into the challenge.  Here was the result, this picture was taken on 10/22/12.  As you can see… I ‘over did it’.

feet 10-18


 Instead of attempting to ‘jog’ … I went all out and alternated running near sprint speed and then jog, all on the sidewalk and streets.

When I saw the picture, to be honest I was shocked and surprised… and just a bit scared. I’d never had blisters like this on my feet… and this was day two. Not only did I have punctures from glass I stepped on, but I also had pretty serious blisters. :(

For the next several days I still ran on sidewalks and pavement… and while my feet did not get worse, they did not improve much either.   Then it ‘hit me’ on the way home from work one day… I passed a lighted baseball park.  EUREKA! :)   I would stop by here every night and do my running around the ball park… ON concrete sidewalks but they also had plenty of GRASS!   Unfortunately the park was only lit up a couple of nights a week, so much of my running here was in the dark.

I also ran in a field near my office during many lunches  … although as you can see from broken bottle below, I had to remain vigilant. :)



I really kicked my running levels up on the weekends, I would typically run 4-6 miles a day at this wide open park.  My feet loved running at this park … it literally felt like running on a heavily padded carpet.  My feet LOVED IT!!! :)




Think about this for a minute ….

I am a diabetic and I had puncture wounds as well as serious blisters on the bottom of my feet on 10/22/12.

Not once did I take an antibiotic.

Not once did I use an antimicrobial / diabetic foot cream.

AND I continued to run most days of the week, never resting my feet two days in a row.

… so if my feet looked so bad on 10/22/12 … how can they look like this on the last day of the challenge?

How can they look this good after running 100 miles BAREFOOT!!!?!?!

1) I maintain normal blood sugars…. for non-diabetics.

2) I do not eat the way the American Diabetes Ass. suggests… I only eat fatty meats and veggies (a eat nuts and berries… but it’s rare).  Ok, if you count avocado as a fruit … I do eat fruit once or twice a month. :)

It’s as simple as that … it truly is.

I typically eat @ 10g of carbs per day … sometimes more … some days -0-, and I THRIVE!!!!

3)  How can my feet look this good? … because Conventional Wisdom … is WRONG!

Question everything!  I do.

2 thoughts on “100 Barefoot Miles 30 Day Diabetes Challenge”

  1. I just read the article in everyday health on the paleo diet.It led me to your website, and I love it. My story was very much like yours. The one thing I would like to ask is are you worried about damaging your kidneys from eating all the protein? I try to limit my meat intake and I do plant protein(mainly hemp) because of my fear of hurting my kidneys. As of right now my kidneys are fine, but I would like to keep it that way. Again it is awesome to see someone keeping their diabetes at bay with diet and exercise. Keep up the good work spreading the word!!

    1. Hey BG, I receive tons of spam comments… so I am just now getting around to your comment. Apologies for the delay.

      Read my posts on red meat… in short, no I am not concerned about my kidneys. In fact, just the opposite. I know people who were near renal failure who revived their kidneys to almost full function eating as I do.

      Protein is not bad for the kidneys… high blood sugar is.

      My diet is not high protein (unless I experiment) … it’s high fat.

      Ciao my friend and thanks for the comment.

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