Barefoot Running Secrets and Stories with the “Barefoot O.G.” Barefoot Ken Bob

 

– The MOVEMENT Movement with Steven Sashen Episode 082 Ken Bob Saxton

 

Ken Bob Saxton is the leading instructor of barefoot running in the United States of America, featured on ABC World News (2005), NPR, Runner’s World magazine, The New York Times, and many other newspapers, magazines, radio, and television appearances/mentions locally and around the world, as well as being acknowledged as the “great bearded sage” of barefoot running in the bestseller Born to Run, by Chris McDougall, who calls Ken Bob “The Master of Barefoot Running.”

 

Listen to this episode The MOVEMENT Movement where Ken Bob Saxton discusses barefoot running secrets and stories.

 

Here are some of the beneficial topics covered on this week’s show:

  • How the barefoot running movement began in 2009.
  • Why you should start slow and listen to your soles when barefoot running.
  • How ten steps barefoot on rough terrain teaches people more about their running than 10 miles on smooth surfaces.
  • Why grass and soft sand are the worst places to begin barefoot running.
  • How barefoot running creates runners who always look like they are having a good time.

 

Connect with Ken Bob:

Links Mentioned:
barefootrunning.com

Guest Contact Info:
Facebook
facebook.com/BarefootKenBob

 

Connect with Steven:

Website

Xeroshoes.com

Jointhemovementmovement.com

Twitter
@XeroShoes

Instagram
@xeroshoes

Facebook
facebook.com/xeroshoes

Steven Sashen:

On today’s episode of the MOVEMENT Movement podcast, we’re going to be talking with someone who not only was a big part of the beginning of the barefoot movement, was a big part of a subset of the barefoot movement, something that I’m not even sure if he’s proud of. But we’re going to find out more on today’s episode of the MOVEMENT Movement podcast, a podcast for people who want to know the truth about what it takes to have a happy, healthy, strong body starting feet first, because those things are your foundation.

We’re going to break through the mythology, the propaganda, sometimes the lies that people have been telling you about what it takes to run or walk or hike or play or do yoga or CrossFit, whatever you like to do, and to do that enjoyably and effectively and efficiently. Did I mention enjoyably? I know I did. Point is if you’re not having fun, do something different till you are.

This is the MOVEMENT Movement because we’re creating a movement about natural movement, helping people rediscover that natural movement is the obvious better, healthy choice, the way we often think of natural food. The movement part of that is you spreading the word. Go to www.jointhemovementmovement.com. You’ll find all the previous episodes, all the different ways you can interact with this podcast. Then like and share and thumbs up and hit the Bell on YouTube. You know how to do those things.

In short, if you want to be part of the tribe, please subscribe. Let’s jump in. Ken Bob Saxton, it is a pleasure to see you. It has been way too long, sir.

Ken Bob Saxton:

It’s been a while, maybe a decade.

Steven Sashen:

Not quite. You are not here … No. I’ve seen you a couple times out here since then. But let me back up. You are one of the OGs, one of the original barefoot running human beings, not human beings in general, but part of the barefoot running movement that kicked off starting in 2009 really. But you were part of another trend within the barefoot running trend. That is that most people refer to you as Barefoot Ken Bob.

As a result, in that first couple of years, the number of people who refer to themselves as barefoot somebody inspired by you. It’s all your fault that there was barefoot everybody.

Ken Bob Saxton:

That is true. You could call me Blue-Eyed Ken. Although that one I can’t do much about. I guess I could nowadays, contact lenses and such.

Steven Sashen:

You could, but what is the point?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Barehanded Ken, things like … There are all kinds of monikers we can associate with ourselves. But I guess it’s like Chris McDougall’s talks about in his book, Tribalism. We want to belong to something, I guess.

Steven Sashen:

Yes. I mean, I don’t know if you saw it. I did a video way back then. That was affectionately and is affectionately Shit Barefoot Runners Say. A whole bunch of jokes that things are barefoot under saying. There’s this conception words, just “Hi. I’m barefoot,” one name after another after another.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Can you find three or four different characters?

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. At least.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Never saw that. No.

Steven Sashen:

For people who don’t know … Oh, crap. I was going to grab a copy of your book and show your book Barefoot Running Step by Step, which is one of the original books about barefoot running.

Ken Bob Saxton:

I can do that.

Steven Sashen:

Next to one of the best by a long shot, both in terms of the information that you presented, as well as just the production quality.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Thank you.

Steven Sashen:

It’s a beautiful, beautiful book.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Thank you.

Steven Sashen:

But before we get to that, I want to back up. Tell humans and anyone else and whether they’re vertebrates or invertebrates, who might be listening or watching this. How did you become Barefoot Ken Bob, both?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Well, the Ken Bob part is because I’m Kenneth Robert.

Steven Sashen:

That was the easy part. It was the Barefoot part that I was going for.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Actually, as I’ve told many people, I was born barefoot, believe it or not.

Steven Sashen:

Wait. I believe it.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Well, the way people ask, “Where are your shoes? It’s something they were obviously born with, in their case, just the way they asked that question. Like that’s so natural to just be wearing shoes all the time. I guess because I was doing something that was a little different in modern society. Of course, I published a webpage, one of probably the first webpage dedicated to barefoot running.

There were actually barefoot sites but not barefoot running sites and things like that. I guess because of the website and email discussions and then discussion groups that grew out of that movement, it’s where it came from.

Steven Sashen:

Someone basically it organically got assigned to you rather than you identifying yourself that way at first?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Originally, I was trying to do more of a Native American First Nations thing and go by Running Barefoot. But actually, that was the original name of my website was the Running Barefoot website instead of Barefoot Running website. But Barefoot Running caught on. Running Barefoot didn’t. I mean, that is running first. I happened to be barefoot while I was doing it.

Steven Sashen:

There were a handful of people who were running barefoot prior to the barefoot running boom started or the barefoot running something starting to boom in 2009, 2010. There couple of people out here. Gosh, Evan, I just blanked on Evan’s last name, Ravitz. There’s another guy who’s a physical therapist whose name … I’m really horrible with names.

How did that happen for you? When did you get out of shoes and start traipsing around with your soles, touching the earth?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Well, like I said, I was born barefoot.

Steven Sashen:

After that.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Well, after that I was in Northern Michigan. We did put shoes on usually in the wintertime, and in school and church, things like that. But whenever I could, I would take my shoes off and play outside and inside, I almost always had them off. I got used to stubbing my toes occasionally. There is risk associated with it. But there are also risks associated with wearing shoes. I would have constant blisters if I wear shoes all the time.

Steven Sashen:

Well, it’s funny, you mentioned stubbing your toe when people ask me about injuries. In the last 12, 13 years that I’ve been doing is, I’ve only gotten two injuries. It was both times with stubbing my toe. Once walking up my sister’s driveway, I didn’t realize the garage pad was three inches higher, and then while I’m just walking with a friend and I didn’t see that there was a rock that was surrounding some trees.

One of the rocks had moved into the sidewalk, and I didn’t know, and I kicked it. I was like, “That’s it.” But no big deal.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. I live in a condo. As I recall, though, garage pads don’t move easily.

Steven Sashen:

No. I kicked it pretty hard. It did not move at all as far as I can tell.

Ken Bob Saxton:

There you go. Yeah. Of course.

Steven Sashen:

We didn’t have really accurate measuring. It’s possible, a micron or so.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Maybe. Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

But it was unlikely. If it weren’t for the car, I definitely would have moved it.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Right. Of course. Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

Well, other than just being barefoot. What about the running component of that? Were you always running barefoot? Or did you start running in shoes?

Ken Bob Saxton:

No. I used to run in shoes. I used to think I was supposed to run in shoes on roads. I would run barefoot on trails behind my dad’s house. If I was going to run on the roads with someone, I usually wear shoes, especially in the wintertime again. But it just really when I became more of a what some people call a purist, was when I got married, and we sold one of our cars and I started … my wife would drop me off at work, and I would run home.

I would put my shoes in my backpack to run home. This was really the first time I ran barefoot on pavement for any length. It was about 11 miles or 12 miles at the time. We move closer later, fortunately. That’s only about 7 miles now. Now I’m retired.

Steven Sashen:

What you’re suggesting is running barefoot is somehow a real estate ploy.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Well, it’s the old … many people have been brainwashed and I was not unlike that to think that running barefoot on a modern surface, hard pavement concrete is unnatural. But I never needed to put my shoes on. My legs would get tired first before my feet had problems. In fact, I did a 50K ’98, ’99, a trail run, like most of those races are. A lot of the trail was just solid granite. Nice.

We did not invent solid, rock hard, smooth surfaces. We just moved them down to make roads out of them. Actually, one of the best places to run barefoot is on a nice smooth road or sidewalk.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, no. My line is if you want to make a barefoot runner’s eyes just water with glee is find a freshly painted white line on the side of the road.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Those helps smooth out the rough pavement. But a brand-new asphalt is actually nice and smooth.

Steven Sashen:

When you started doing this 11-mile run back from work, what year was that roughly?

Ken Bob Saxton:

1990. That’s when we got married, 30 years ago.

Steven Sashen:

That’s fascinating. I mean, did you bump into anyone else who was doing this, or did everyone just think you were flat out nuts?

Ken Bob Saxton:

I bumped in someone else who thought I was nuts. They invited me to run with the group that they ran with on Sundays. That’s how I got into more longer distances. That was about ’96, I believe, because ’97 I started my website as a result of that. My first, let’s call it official barefoot race. I did race barefoot. We had a staff day run at the university where I worked.

I did run that barefoot a few times and I even won at least once. A lot of the times there’s only two or three people and it was mostly a walk. Of course, the problem with winning a staff race at a state university is you’re running against state employees. There’s really no competition. We’re not used to running fast.

Steven Sashen:

I mean, were any of the people that you’re running with who saw you running barefoot I imagined they had typical reactions. Did you convert anyone? Did anyone have that realization that it wasn’t just you being crazy, that this was possible thing for other humans?

Ken Bob Saxton:

I’ve converted a few. But most of that was after I started the website, and especially after my book came out. Of course, Chris McDougall converted almost everybody. Well, not everybody, but in 2009 when his book came out. I mentioned in that, I have a whole sentence. Yeah. But it leads into the website that encouraged Barefoot Todd … Ted, Barefoot Ted.

It’s hard I run with both those guys. So confusing. Sometimes I run with both of them at the same time. Anyway, that story about Barefoot Ted and Born to Run is after he discovered my website, Ted did, and decided, “Hey, I go barefoot most the time anyway.” He works from home. He tried it. The only thing is he lives near some really nasty trails, sharp gravelly rocks and stuff. That’s why he got into the minimalist footwear. Anyway, like you did.

I’ve been on some of your trails. They’re not real nice. But I’ve also hiked with my brother. We did a hike with Herman. Do you remember Herman, my old dog?

Steven Sashen:

I can’t remember Herman.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Anyway, we did a 17-mile-long trip hike from Bachelor Gulch up to some lake and then back. I was barefoot the whole way.

Steven Sashen:

You think it’s important that we tell people Herman was a dog?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Okay. Why not? Not necessarily important, but yeah, good idea. He was twice as barefoot as we are.

Steven Sashen:

That’s right.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. It’s my favorite thing. I walked into Whole Foods, and they got mad at me because I was barefoot. I said, “Why this was dangerous.” Literally, someone walking a dog walk by. I went, “What’s the deal? How come it’s okay for him?”

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

My line when I describe Boulder people, I say, “It’s a place where Whole Foods doesn’t like it if you come in barefoot, but it’s okay if you’re breastfeeding your dog.”

Ken Bob Saxton:

Interesting. Yeah. That’s logical. Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

In those early days, I mean, before the whole idea become more popular after Born to Run, et cetera. I mean, what were the responses you were getting? Because I mean, it was crazy enough for us in 2009, 2010. But I can only imagine what it was like prior to that.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. You ran into a few people. The funny thing is many people had different misconceptions. When I ran with the trail runners, George, the guy I ran into, he was running the opposite direction to me when I was running to work. One day, I was bicycling, and I stopped to take my sweatshirt off because it was starting to get warm. Sun comes up here. Southern California does set in the morning.

George says, “Hey, I’d like to see if you could do that on the trails.” Anybody can do it on roads. That was the attitude of trail runners. Then the road runners, it’s the opposite. It’s like, “Well, I understand on trails, those are natural. How can you possibly do it on roads?” Most of my marathons, even shorter races have been on roads. I started out more on trails because of the influence of as … actually “Buffalo” Bill McDermott was the guy that led this group.

He told me he actually runs barefoot the day before the big race. He’d go running barefoot on grass for a little bit, 100 yards or so just to loosen up. He is, for people who don’t know, “Buffalo” Bill McDermott. He’s named after the buffalo on Catalina Island. There’s a buffalo herd that roams around there and there’s Catalina Marathon, which he won 13 times out of the first 20 years they held it.

Steven Sashen:

Wow. I don’t know about the buffalo on Catalina Island.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Yeah. It’s basically there’s a herd of buffalo there. They have an airport on top of the mountain. They have a restaurant there that sells buffalo burgers.

Steven Sashen:

How did the buffalo get on an island?

Ken Bob Saxton:

It’s a commercial herd, I believe.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, okay. Interesting.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. We had one near my home in Michigan, too.

Steven Sashen:

There’s a bunch of them around here. They’re great.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. The one in Michigan, I think, they called it the largest buffalo herd east of the Mississippi.

Steven Sashen:

There’s a community. But makes sense. I haven’t seen any buffalo anywhere else east of the Mississippi, except there. The largest herd east of Mississippi, too.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

There’s a comedian who died just a couple years ago. His given name was Robert Altman. He couldn’t use that doing comedy because of the director. He was called “Uncle Dirty.” He wasn’t as dirty as his name would suggest. But he used to do a joke that for years when I would try and retell it, I couldn’t do it without laughing. It was, how is it that we … the settlers wiped out the buffalo with flintlock rifles where you had to put powder.

I mean, take like five minutes to get a gun ready to shoot, then you would shoot it, then it’d take five more minutes they could shoot again. Millions and millions of Buffalo, a handful of settlers with these crappy rifles, how is that possible? Because most animals when they hear a loud noise they just scattered. But for buffalo they don’t react that way. Two buffalo are standing there, one gets shot and the other buffalo is like, “Bob?” I just love that joke.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

Every now and then…that joke. Bob?

Ken Bob Saxton:

That sounds like a far side cartoon.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. It does actually.

Ken Bob Saxton:

All the animals have names.

Steven Sashen:

Well, Uncle Dirty, just for the fun of taking a weird tangent. I was a professional standup comic. Right after like my first professional … Well, my first professional gig was opening for Uncle Dirty. But right before that, when I was just getting into it. Richard Pryor and George Carlin run the Tonight Show together as guests. They were saying, “Remember when it was just you and me and Uncle Dirty working at the bitter end?”

Then a week later, my first pro gig was working with Dirty. Anyway, he was a wonderful human being who was had his first child when he was 55 years old. He said, “The perfect time to have a kid, because by the time she’s old enough to hate me, I’ll be dead.”

Ken Bob Saxton:

My brother’s ex-wife, who you may have met in Golden had her child at 35, I think, and she thought she was too young to have children still, or too immature.

Steven Sashen:

I can appreciate that one.

Ken Bob Saxton:

I’ve met her daughter. She’s growing up now. She’s probably right.

Steven Sashen:

I mean, given the fact that you were way in advance of the boom, and then the boom happened, what was that like when we didn’t feel like. I mean, I can imagine what either feel like vindication or craziness or people just jumping on. I mean, what was it like for you going through that phase?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Well, there’s actually a couple aspects of that. Because when we started out, we were trendsetters, people who weren’t afraid necessarily of trying to fit in, not afraid of not trying to fit in. Yeah. Anyway.

Steven Sashen:

It took a negative in there somewhere. Yeah.

Ken Bob Saxton:

We weren’t worried about following current fashions, so to speak, long hair, beards, things like that.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Ken Bob Saxton:

One aspect of that was we got a lot more people with crew cuts. I mean, some of the people that were doing early on were businesspeople. Barefoot John’s a lawyer. Worked for, I think, the Department of Natural Resources in Alaska or something like that, fairly conservative job. But there were a lot more coming in that were rather worried about fitting in.

Because it was becoming popular, they said, “Oh, it’s okay now.” One of my neighbors that started running with me barefoot, and he’d known me since about 2000. I think he ran with me a couple times with shoes on before this. But when my book came out, he said, “Well, now that you have a book out, it’s okay for me to follow you.” You get a little legitimacy when you publish a book.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. For you, I mean, obviously, one of the opportunities that arose was the ability to write and publish a book and you were going around teaching workshops as well. One of the very small number of people who had any notoriety within the community. I imagine that with some pluses and minuses.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Sure. Sure. But I mean, mostly, it’s been a lot of fun. It’s the old Eagle song, what a wild crazy trip it’s been or something. That wasn’t quite the words they used. But a little Steve Martin in that one.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. I like that one.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Wild and crazy trip. Yes. Anyway, I lost my train of thought. That happens a lot, too.

Steven Sashen:

I’m on that same train. Let’s do something that can be useful for human beings. If you’re meeting someone new who’s … Well, first of all, I just love … my favorite thing if I’m running barefoot, and I go by someone who’s in shoes. They say things like, “Well, you can’t do that,” as I run by. I find it really fun. But if somebody came up to you, they saw what you’re doing. They were in any way intrigued, what’s your advice? How do you get people going?

If you were going to have to give someone instruction and you weren’t going to be working with them directly, what’s the instruction that you’d like to give?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Start slow, listen to your soles, your bare soles. Practice at least a little bit to begin with on rough terrain, stimulating. Had a question on a Facebook forum the other day that I … the guy was worried about the people that if he has like international barefoot running day meeting, the people that come and run with him don’t want to run on rough surfaces.

But the point is to just … if you can pick a place that has a small rough patch, and get them to run 10 feet on that or walk 10 feet on it, they’ll learn more in those 10 feet, or 10 steps or whatever, than they will in 10 miles of running on a nice soft surface, it gives them no feedback.

Steven Sashen:

You just remind me of something. I was in a Chinese …

Ken Bob Saxton:

Then take them up on a nice, friendly surface. That will also become more enjoyable after you run on a rough terrain.

Steven Sashen:

Well, this is I think it’s one of the misconceptions where people think, “Oh, I should just run on grass.” No. This is just taking the cushion from your shoes and sticking it on the planet.” Who knows what’s in the grass, too?

Ken Bob Saxton:

The worst part about it. Grass and soft sand, I live at the beach, and we have both of those. Those are the worst places to begin. If you have soft feet that aren’t conditioned to running, you’re not running gently yet. You’re not getting any feedback to teach you to run gently. There are broken clam shells on the beach, beer bottles broken. In the sand, you won’t see them.

I did a play fun shop with Nike a year ago for the reintroduction of the Nike Free. They haven’t introduced it enough yet. Anyway, some of their representatives, about 35 of them came down and I said, “We probably should go run on the bike path over here that’s paved. There’s some rough spots here where I can help people learn how to.”

No. Let’s just run on the sand. I said, “Okay. Well, a warning. Somebody is going to cut their feet. That’s going to happen. You got 35 people here. Odds are 35 people here who don’t normally go barefoot, odds somebody is going to cut their feet.” One did. I warned them. But we had fun anyway. It’s still fun.

Steven Sashen:

You’re the person who would know the answer to this question. What’s one of the other things that’s likely to happen if you have 35 people in one place? You know this one?

Ken Bob Saxton:

We’re outside. I’m not sure if…

Steven Sashen:

… weird statistic thing. The odds are 90 plus percent that there will be two people in that group of 35 who share the same birth date.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Interesting.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. I don’t know what.

Ken Bob Saxton:

365 days in a year, why not? Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

One of those things. Oh, you just give me some thought. The Nike Free how ironic. I mean, that shoe was developed sensibly because … and as a result of watching the runners on the Stanford track team training barefoot to try to design something to simulate that and it couldn’t be further from a barefoot.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Right. It was supposed to be a gradual. Use as a transition from thick soled shoes and then gradually work down to thinner soled shoes to barefoot. It doesn’t work that. It’s better off to start out barefoot, like I said, and listen to your soles. Then run with the thin-soled shoes. I’m wearing minimalist shoes sometimes when I go hiking nowadays. My feet aren’t as tough as they were, or maybe I’m more sensitive than I used to be or the gravel sharper one of the …

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. That’s it. I think mostly it’s people going out and sharpening the gravel around you …

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

… point.

Ken Bob Saxton:

That’s what I said about the race that Louie Escobar held in Central California. I think it was called the Born to Run race, named after the book. But it was in a cow pasture. I pretty sure the cows spent their whole days sharpening pebbles.

Steven Sashen:

Which is difficult because they have no opposable thumb. That’s a lot of commitment.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Well, they have teeth.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, yeah.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Of course, that’s probably used in the gravel to sharpen their teeth and also split the gravel into sharp splinters. I mean, that’s the worst trail I’ve run on for barefooting in Southern California.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, wow.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Now, maybe Ted had some that were worse. Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

I mean, one of the things that I really enjoyed when running with you, is you were one of the few people who really emphasized paying attention to relaxing, paying attention to seeing how little effort you could apply to do things because everyone still has a real no pain, no gain mentality. The idea that, “Well, I have to go through that. I have to strengthen my calves. I have to build up skin on my feet, et cetera.”

Including those, if you will, what some of the other mythology that you’ve seen people walking in the door with when trying to get into natural movement?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Well, there, of course, is doubt and of course the grass and the sand are where you’re supposed to start. You start on snut. Yes. No. That’s not correct. Snut. You should all start on snut.

Steven Sashen:

See to that. That’s a real issue.

Ken Bob Saxton:

It is. It does teach you not to slip. You have to keep your weight above your feet. What’s his name? The Russian guy with the method? Nicholas …

Steven Sashen:

Romanov.

Ken Bob Saxton:

… Romanov. Nicholas Romanov, yeah. He has some videos of him running on ice.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Ken Bob Saxton:

I don’t know if he’s barefoot or not. But it doesn’t matter. The fact is, you can as long as it’s basically the advice I got about driving cars in Michigan is keep the shiny side up. If you’re not balding, keep the hairy side up. But anyway, you want to keep your body upright above your feet. If you do that you won’t fall, theoretically.

Steven Sashen:

Well, it’s another thing I hear a lot where people talk about slipping and I go look, “We can’t violate the laws of physics. If you’re putting force on something at an angle, it’s going to be slippery no matter what.” I mean, if you put your feet underneath you then if … I say just imagine just lifting your foot and putting it down. Tell me how slippery that is. Like, “Not at all.” I go, “Well, that’s how you can run.”

Ken Bob Saxton:

Right. Right.

Steven Sashen:

It’s doable.

Ken Bob Saxton:

That’s what happens in showers with us old people.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Right.

Ken Bob Saxton:

They’re leaning against the side or something, and then they slip backwards just to stay upright.

Steven Sashen:

Well, there’s another video of someone running on ice was proving the point that when you’re sprinting at full speed, most of the force you’re applying is vertical, which is bouncing at full speed. They took a piece of carpeting and put it in an ice rink. They use the carpet to get up to full speed and then ran across the rest of the ice without problem.

Ken Bob Saxton:

It’s the acceleration. That’s the problem. Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

Exactly.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Because when you’re accelerating, you’re pushing back more. But once you get gone, it’s mostly just coasting.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Any other misconceptions that you bumped into that you find yourself having to clear up for humans?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Well, speaking of things that you can’t do, or you’re told you can’t do while you’re doing them, this has nothing to do with barefooting. But I had a Honda Coupe that I drove out here from Michigan. The first time I rebuilt it, I forgot a washer in the transmission. I had no reverse and no first gear. But that was no problem. I could just push it out of the parking spaces, 1,800-pound car, two-cylinder engine.

For first gear, I just started in second. I was explaining this to my girlfriend’s mother and says, “You can’t start in second.” “Yeah, you can, just ease the clutch out.” It’s like this is what she was taught. She never tested it. But it’s obviously real. That’s the thing with barefooting. You can’t run barefoot because your mom told you over and over again. You put your shoes on. You’re going to catch the death of cold. You’re going to cut your feet wide open and die.

All these things that we learned, not through experience, but just through people pounding them into our heads. Was it Einstein, I think, or Mark Twain? One of those intelligent people that has excellent quote of prejudice is all … No, sorry. Got to start over. I already gave the end away.

Steven Sashen:

That’s okay.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Common sense is the accumulation of prejudices we learned while we were young, or whenever.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, that’s a good one. That sounds more Twain-ish than Einsteinian.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. But I don’t like the term “common sense,” because … I think Twain did a thing on that, too.

Steven Sashen:

It’s not common and real extensible.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Exactly. If you have to go to the argument that it’s just common sense that means you don’t have a real argument. You don’t have actual data, actual reasons. It’s just common sense that this is the way it is. I mean …

Steven Sashen:

Well, there’s one and you alluded to it before where people say, “Well, we didn’t evolve to run on hard surfaces or surfaces we’re running on now.” Have you ever been to the places where we evolved?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

You’re running on now.

Ken Bob Saxton:

I have not been to Africa, but I’ve run on prairies in various states in the United States. I’ve run in the mountains, like I said, rock hard granite surfaces for miles, which basically it’s part of a wash that gets washed down every year from floods and such and really nice surfaces. Slate surfaces and …

Steven Sashen:

On both directions. I just realized this. They have the exact same argument with two different points. One, is we didn’t evolve to run on hard surfaces. We evolved to run on grass and smooth or mud or whatever, or sand. Then you go to those places and it’s really hard. They go, “Oh, we didn’t evolve to run on the hard things. We actually need cushioning.” It’s like, “Boy, make up your mind.”

Ken Bob Saxton:

Right. Right. Right.

Steven Sashen:

… which one evolves?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. The problem with cushioning is … my dog is yawning. We have a new dog now. Well, he’s not brand new. He’s four years old. Anyway, the problem with cushioning is that it deceives you into believing you don’t have to change the way you’re running if you’re running with impact. You still get the impact, you just don’t feel it, the most sensitive parts of your … the drive trainer, the soles of our feet.

Those are sensitive for that specific reason because that helps us save the knees, the back, everything. Barefoot Todd couldn’t run very far with shoes on because his knees, his back hurt. Started running barefoot. He’s done marathons, ultra-marathons, 100 milers, and he can do them now with footwear, because he’s learned how to do them without footwear.

Steven Sashen:

Did you see Phil Maffetone’s book 1:59?

Ken Bob Saxton:

I haven’t. I think I have a book of his though. But it’s a different one than that.

Steven Sashen:

Phil wrote this book, 1:59, based on the idea that what it’s going to take for someone to run a legit marathon under two hours. His supposition is it’s going to be a decent surface and someone running barefoot.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. This is why I haven’t run under two hours because I didn’t read that book.

Steven Sashen:

That explains everything.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Everything. Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

That explains, I didn’t read the book. That’s why I don’t play basketball, being five foot five.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Exactly. I didn’t read it one and a half times because I still haven’t completed a marathon in under three hours. Many of my marathons have been over four hours and five hours of me and Barefoot Todd, not Ted, did one in eight hours. That was a lot of them.

Steven Sashen:

On purpose?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Partially. Well, this is an interesting story. You probably saw it in the book and there’s pictures of it. But we made shoes at mile 20 for Todd, out of our shorts, the strings out of our shorts and mile marker sign with the soles. We drilled holes with the sharp pebbles that are on the trail. They were sharp pebbles there.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, man.

Ken Bob Saxton:

We got lost once also before that. You didn’t freeze? No. You’re still there. Okay.

Steven Sashen:

No. I’m still here.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Okay. We got lost and got back on track and ended up with the guy that was walking the marathon and wanted to finish last. We walked with him for a way and chatted until we got back on course. Then me and Todd ran ahead. Then when we were making shoes, he caught up to us again. We all finished the last 6 miles which was the gnarly, gravelly trail. This is Park City Marathon if anybody’s interested.

We all finished together in the order we wanted to. I finished first of course, then Todd, then Dell, who later ran into Owen McCall. He was in Wisconsin or Illinois. He started barefoot running groups and stuff after my website and everything. Dell joined his group and started running barefoot. We did, in fact, affect some people.

Because he was walking and doing all these races, walking as slow as he could to finish last because he thought running was bad on the knees.

Steven Sashen:

Funny. My favorite part of the story actually is highlighting something else. You are someone who … you will definitely err on the side of fun whenever that’s a possibility. It seems the fun part about that story is you weren’t attached to winning the race, having a goal that you had to achieve. Something’s came up …

Ken Bob Saxton:

I was this first barefoot finisher though.

Steven Sashen:

There is that.

Ken Bob Saxton:

By a few feet. Well, actually no, because Todd had the shoes on that we made.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Ken Bob Saxton:

I was also the last barefoot finisher.

Steven Sashen:

But it’s an interesting thing because some people … There was a straw man in the early barefoot days where some people were claiming that barefoot runner said that it’s going to definitely make you faster, which is not the case. Phil Maffetone’s point is “If you’re a good acclimated barefoot runner, the fact that you don’t have anything weighing down to your feet is good and et cetera, et cetera.”

But the thing that I say is you can spot a barefoot runner from 50 yards away because they look like they’re having a good time. It’s like some of them run fast. We’ve had a lot of people set personal bests. But the thing that seems to be more universal is it’s enjoyable enough that you … It changes the way you think about going out and running, that you’re doing something for fun.

Not with some arbitrary goal that you think is going to get you to some arbitrary place that you think is going to make you happier if you do that.

Ken Bob Saxton:

As someone who rarely runs nowadays, I do a lot of walking with the dog and a little bit of running and, occasionally, with a dog when he wants to. But I still believe that you will run more often and perhaps longer in your life and more safely, more importantly, which may be partly because you maybe don’t overdo it as much.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Ken Bob Saxton:

But also, because it’s more fun. We did the Jimmy Stewart LA whatever it was called, the relay marathon that they do in LA that used to be sponsored by Jimmy Stewart.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, I didn’t know that.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Now he doesn’t do that anymore. But there’s somebody anyway. But we had, let’s say, four and a half bare footers on our team. It’s a five-member relay marathon. We were looking at the pictures afterwards. You look at who is smiling and then look down at the feet and they were the barefoot, they were us. There was one girl that ran it with shoes on. I had met her actually at 5K that she ran barefoot because she forgot to bring her shoes, her running shoes.

But she wanted to wear her shoes because she was going to do the Great Wall marathon and didn’t want to risk anything. She probably got blisters from the shoes. Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

We have a couple that ran a seven-day stage race across Madagascar. It was a 256K race. They’re going through water and then on the sand and then on the pavement, that was super-hot, every possible terrain within one run that you could possibly do. At the end of that race, like every other runner was in the first aid tent with broken toenails that had fallen off and skin that was sloughing off.

They were like, “Anybody want to go for another 10K today?”

Ken Bob Saxton:

The old Badwater marathon, which …

Steven Sashen:

Right.

Ken Bob Saxton:

I mean, that one’s designed to be hard. It’s the hottest time of the year and the hottest part of the country. The lowest altitude up to the highest altitude, almost.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. I don’t want to drive that course.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Some people run it twice. I mean, they go run up and then run back.

Steven Sashen:

Man. Look, this is another thing that’s interesting, how barefoot running became almost synonymous with distance and ultra.

Ken Bob Saxton:

I think that was a lot of Ted …

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. It could be.

Ken Bob Saxton:

… and Chris McDougal. Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Because I mean, I’m a sprinter. People ask me why I don’t sprint barefoot. I go, “Well, because the amount of track surfaces are, at full speed, is like glass. You need a little something. But I haven’t found a surface that is smooth enough and not slippery enough to really put that to the test, which is something that I’d love to do.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Right. Right. Right. I’m not a sprinter at all.

Steven Sashen:

There aren’t very many of us. We’re an odd bunch.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. I mean, one of my coworkers who never runs, we would sprint down the hallways, and he could stay up with me the whole time. But if I ran 10 miles, he’s going to drop out.

Steven Sashen:

Well, this thing, somebody said, “How fast do you think you could run a marathon?” I said, “It’s an irrelevant question. I mean, I would never in a million years. I don’t take turns on a track. That’s too far to go.” I had a thought that popped in my head that I’m going to ask the question first, which is how did … you were part of Dan Lieberman’s original research in barefoot running. You were part of that. How did that happen?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Actually, not really.

Steven Sashen:

The original.

Ken Bob Saxton:

No. What’s his name was?

Steven Sashen:

Oh, yeah. That guy.

Ken Bob Saxton:

A guy in Boston. Yeah. Jeffrey Ferris, who runs a bicycle store named Ferris Wheels, interestingly now. He’s actually went to a lecture by Lieberman and asked him about barefoot running. That’s when Lieberman said, “Hmm. Maybe I should be looking into that.”

Steven Sashen:

Oh, interesting.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. He started Lieberman on it, actually. He was from my website in our discussion groups, originally.

Steven Sashen:

Is that how Dan then found you?

Ken Bob Saxton:

I think that was indirectly through. … What’s her name?

Steven Sashen:

Her?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Her. I should know her name. We appeared on TV together before the Born to Run came out. Anyway, we didn’t appear. We weren’t together. We just appeared together because she was teaching a Delaware. She ran a clinical research podiatrist thing, whatever. She originally believed in corrective footwear and such.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, Irene?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Irene. Yeah. Irene Davis. Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Thank you. We appeared on one of those feel good things at the end of ABC World News Tonight about … and they started off with the New York City Marathon. Many people think they have to have the best shoes to do this. Barefoot Ken Bob disagrees with that. They did an interview with me. Then they said … went to Irene and said, “What do you think about that? She says, “I believe people were born to run barefoot or something like that.”

We met through that. Then I think she was … I guess may have worked with Lieberman before. I’m not sure. But definitely through Chris’s book, they got together in that respect. Now she, I believe, was at Harvard, too.

Steven Sashen:

Here’s the $64,000 question, in a way. For those of us who have not only experienced the benefits ourselves of … let’s take barefoot out of the equation and just refer to it … what I’m doing is natural movement, because that’s the whole idea. As you said, once you can move correctly, you can put on shoes, some not all. There are some shoes where you’re going to get in a way no matter what you do. But 

that’s …

Ken Bob Saxton:

But I’ve seen people in movies running in high heels, which is really impressive.

Steven Sashen:

Well, I mean, look as a sprinter …

Ken Bob Saxton:

They usually take them off after a minute.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. As a sprinter running in high heels is no big deal. Because basically …

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. You’re already on your toes.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Exactly. We’ve seen the benefits ourselves. We’ve seen tens and tens and hundreds of thousands of people experienced the same thing. They’re still obviously … Well, let me just ask the question. What do you think it would take to change the tide so that people realize that this was the first choice, if you will, and then shod would be the second choice under specific conditions?

Ken Bob Saxton:

It’s a tough thing because it’s mostly about marketing budgets. Nike has a way bigger marketing budget than I do. I have …

Steven Sashen:

For now. The…is coming up.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Sure. Sure.

Steven Sashen:

Come on, think positively.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Me doing free workshops and interplay fun shops, I call them, because work is a four-letter word, it was play. Anyway, that’s irrelevant. I don’t know if you go back as far as Dobie Gillis.

Steven Sashen:

So, as shop, all of those.

Ken Bob Saxton:

I think that’s true. All those words are four letters. Yeah. I don’t know if you go back as far as Dobie Gillis and his friend, Manfred, who was played by Gilligan, Bob Denver. He couldn’t say the word “work.” That’s probably a major influence on my philosophy of life with Bob Denver as Manfred. I think it was Manfred.

Steven Sashen:

It’s funny. Mine was being in New York City in 1980 and taking the number six train from Wall Street uptown, at a time when everyone was getting off work. I was the only one on the subway who wasn’t wearing an identical suit. The only thought that crossed my mind was “I’m never going to be one of those guys.”

Ken Bob Saxton:

There you go. Yep.

Steven Sashen:

Much to my father’s chagrin.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. I think only one person. My oldest brother has grown up to be what we call a suit. That may be why his ex-wife is his ex-wife, but I’m not sure about that.

Steven Sashen:

To be. Well, I mean, marketing is an interesting thing, because certainly there’s no question. The big companies have not only huge marketing budgets, but brilliant marketers. By that I just mean people who are able to tell a story, not factually accurate in a way that convinces people that is factually accurate.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Right. Right. I totally agree with that. I thought about my skills with words and things and logic and thinking, “Oh, I should go into marketing.” Then I realized I have ethics.

Steven Sashen:

I resent that as a marketer.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Sorry. Well, but you are …

Steven Sashen:

You know what?

Ken Bob Saxton:

You’re marketing a product you believe in.

Steven Sashen:

Well, it’s not just that I believe in it. It is legit. I mean, in fact, it’s funny. When I was in college, and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life …

Ken Bob Saxton:

Oh, you believe it’s legit. But, yeah, I agree with you. Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

But a marketing class that I took, they brought in two guys who were professional marketers, and they were working for Procter & Gamble selling toilet paper. Just like on the subway, my thought was I will never be that. Selling something just for the sake of selling something or selling something because you can make up a story that’s convincing to people, that’s a whole different thing.

When you have the luxury of being able to tell the truth, then what you’re doing is just sharing information in the best way possible.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

But to your point, I mean, the …

Ken Bob Saxton:

On the other hand, toilet is an essential product, according to most people, especially during the pandemic.

Steven Sashen:

Yes. I mean …

Ken Bob Saxton:

Although there was a lot of contradictions or counter-reactions to that is jump in the shower and wash it off.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. There’s that. But I mean, what’s too ironic about that is like, when … once we started making footwear, people would say, “Can’t some of the big companies rip you off?” I go, “I hear there’s more than one company that makes sinks, toilets, cars, refrigerators.”

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. As there should be.

Steven Sashen:

Right.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. I mean, I’m not anti-capitalist entirely. I’m anti-unregulated capitalism and anti … I mean, we have laws against lying in advertisements and things like that. But there are ways, like you said, where you can say things that make it seem like this. At the beginning of the interview, you talked about natural movement, natural foods.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Natural has no definition as far as the FDA is concerned. Mushrooms are natural.

Steven Sashen:

We could talk about things about levels of process and things.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Right. Right. Right.

Steven Sashen:

To your point, when Adidas shows how wonderful their boost foam is, by bouncing a steel ball off the boost foam, and it bounces like 10 times, it’s not lying. But it’s certainly misleading. Because if you bounce that steel ball off a steel plate, it’ll bounce 250 times before it comes to rest. But that convinces people, “Oh, that cushioning must be good, look how bouncy it is for the steel ball. I love to point out you are not a steel ball.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Right. You are not. The biggest issue, this goes into running technique is in the running shoes, like I said, you can be deceived into running with more impact. That happens because people aren’t letting their knees bend. They’re not relaxing their knees or their calves and allowing this whole spring that we have built into our body to activate. When that activates, as our body moves in front of our feet, it pushes us forward.

You actually get your regenerative braking, so to speak without the braking.

Steven Sashen:

Just regenerative.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. You do have and Dan Lieberman would say, “You don’t have the impact when you land. But you do have a force when you land, but it’s gentle. It is loading that spring. The impact only comes if you keep your knees stiff and straight. Stiff and straight.

Steven Sashen:

Well, it’s again, people misunderstand …

Ken Bob Saxton:

If you launch yourself up high to try to think oh, I need to launch myself up in order to run.

Steven Sashen:

Well, the complete lack of understanding that most people have about physics is what allows them to be misled about things. Because even with force, I mean, for sprinting, you want to apply the most force in the ground as you possibly can at the right angle in the right speed. That’s what makes you faster. But people …

Ken Bob Saxton:

You mean correct angle not a right angle?

Steven Sashen:

Yes. At the correct angle.

Ken Bob Saxton:

English language is weird.

Steven Sashen:

It’s very … You just made me think of, here’s something you’ll like. Can you think of a word for the infinite that isn’t the negation of some other thing?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Besides infinite?

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Anything like that. Anything for something …

Ken Bob Saxton:

Like non-ending?

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Yeah.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Forever? But that’s just applies to time?

Steven Sashen:

Right. No. It’s something …

Ken Bob Saxton:

Specific instance. Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

Well, here’s my other … this is a verbal pet peeve that my mom … It was my mom’s “very unique.” That one kills me. It’s like you can’t be “very one of a kind.”

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Ken Bob Saxton:

But it is one of those uses of the language like Mark Twain where we are dealing the ridiculousness of a phrase, which makes it funny.

Steven Sashen:

What are your thoughts of people using the phrase “whole ‘nother?”

Ken Bob Saxton:

I have no problem with it.

Steven Sashen:

Really?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. I’m not a grammar police person.

Steven Sashen:

No. I mean, you like playing …

Ken Bob Saxton:

I like playing with words and I like when other people play with them, too.

Steven Sashen:

Okay. You’re okay with “whole ‘nother?”

Ken Bob Saxton:

If it’s interesting. I was watching a video yesterday on grammar, on a science channel on YouTube. They were talking about double negatives and stuff. We “ain’t got any” is no different than we “ain’t got none” grammatically speaking, I guess. Because what’s any mean?

Steven Sashen:

I ain’t got no problem with that.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Okay. There you go. But I mean, language evolves, and it evolves because the way people use it.

Steven Sashen:

Well, I have a theory that “whole ‘nother” was one of those things.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

It was originally just a processing or as a slip of the tongue got caught on.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Well, and that’s … what’s the other one that … it’s in my head. It hasn’t reached my tongue yet. I think it’s not going to right now. Oh, no. It still don’t get there.

Steven Sashen:

Do you like the fact that we use anachronistic terms for modern things that we’re going to tape something on the television even though we haven’t used?

Ken Bob Saxton:

No tape. Yeah. I am not necessarily opposed to them. But I have corrected several people including my dean at the university. We’re not taping. We’re recording.

Steven Sashen:

Have you corrected anyone on ATM machine?

Ken Bob Saxton:

It’s what?

Steven Sashen:

An ATM machine.

Ken Bob Saxton:

ATM machine. Automatic teller machine.

Steven Sashen:

Machine, machine.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Automated teller machine machine. Yeah. And compact disc disc.

Steven Sashen:

The CD disc. I heard someone today on NPR. They were saying how they were leaving their IRA retirement account money to NPR.

Ken Bob Saxton:

They forgot to put in the individual.

Steven Sashen:

He said my IRA retirement account. Whoa, slow down.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Well, they don’t want to be mistaken for the Irish Republic Army or something like that.

Steven Sashen:

Oh. But he couldn’t have left his Irish Republican Army to NPR that could have been useful.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Yeah. That’s true.

Steven Sashen:

Anyway, back on track, if you will. Is there anything else that you would want to in part as words of wisdom for someone who’s starting to explore this whole barefoot, natural, et cetera thing in a way that would give them the best chance of having an enjoyable experience?

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yes. Enjoy it. Seek fun. Seek pleasure. If it hurts, you’re doing it wrong, or too much, too soon. That’s the whole idea of running on a rough terrain to begin with or walking on it is when you get to the point, and you can do this in 10 steps, 10 feet or 10 steps, depends on how big your steps are. But you can get to the point where it’s not as uncomfortable as it was on the first step, just by learning to relax, let your entire sole contact the surface.

This is another one of those things that false as we’ve been taught is to run barefoot, you got to stay up on the balls of your feet or the toes, the forefoot. When you’re sprinting, maybe, yeah. But most people most of the time are not sprinting, or unless they don’t run at all. Then they’re sprinting to catch a bus. Then the biggest fear there is a heart attack. But that’s another story.

Yeah. Let your body, as Daniel Lieberman called it, comply, compliance. You want to allow it to flex and to bend and load that spring. As your body’s moving forward, that spring will help you move forward. You don’t have to push because that spring is just releasing on its own as your weight shifts forward and off. The pressure’s removed from the spring. It automatically pushes you forward.

You don’t have to push off, or at least not consciously. You don’t have to try to push down on the ground. Gravity will get you there. I’ve not seen anyone whose foot does not land unless they’re landing on their head, or their hands, or something, in which case you didn’t keep your body upright. Keep your body vertical.

Enjoy the scenery. Enjoy the air blowing across your feet, blowing through your hair, blowing through your face masks nowadays. You don’t have to wear the face mask unless you’re around other people close to them.

Steven Sashen:

Well, all fine bits of info. It’s nice. One of the things that I also appreciate about you is that you were never dogmatic about like, “Here’s a way to do it.” In other words, you weren’t trying to carve a niche for yourself by saying, “This is the specific way.” But really inviting people to explore and experiment using fun and ease as a guide. Basically, learning to become your own coach, rather than trying to listen to somebody else to adopt something that is not necessarily appropriate.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Every one of us, almost every one of us is amazingly unique. That wasn’t the word you use, incredibly unique.

Steven Sashen:

Very unique.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Very unique.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Ken Bob Saxton:

I don’t expect you to try to imitate the stride that I have. I don’t want to imitate the stride you have. We’ll develop that stride by listening to our bare soles and what hurts, what doesn’t hurt. My knees don’t hurt when I pay attention to what I’m doing. Actually, only one of them usually hurts because I bent it backwards when I was a kid skiing. Skiing behind a horse that was, yeah. Anyway.

When I go upstairs, sometimes I have to be reminded, “Okay, I need to keep my body vertical and stop leaning forward, bending at the waist, because for some reason that makes my knee hurt.” That’s one of the other misconceptions is leaning forward is good, but not if you’re bending at the waist forward and that your legs are still leaning backwards. You want your entire body to lean forward, so that your feet can push you forward.

But actually, not really even the entire body. It’s more like, I tried to keep a vertical torso, or at least it should feel vertical. It should feel like it’s balanced. I don’t have forces pulling me forward or backward. By getting my body in front of my feet, that’s what pulls me forward and start falling forward.

Steven Sashen:

The image that I sometimes use is like Fred Flintstone starting his car.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Yeah. He always used to and then car would start moving.

Steven Sashen:

But his feet were behind him. That was the thing. 

Ken Bob Saxton:

That’s a good point. Yeah. Yeah. It’s like the opposite of the coyote running off the edge of a cliff. Then he doesn’t start falling until he, “Oh, I’m off the edge of the cliff.” Then he’s starts falling.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, if life were only like that.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

Anything else before we call … Actually, here’s the big one before we call it a day. If people want to find out more about what you’re up to or learn from all the things that you have learned, please tell them where to go and what to do.

Ken Bob Saxton:

I love telling people where to go.

Steven Sashen:

Different ways.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Go to barefootrunning.com. That’s my website. I am still open to maybe not right now. But after more people are vaccinated and such, to meeting up with people who want to walk or run with me. When I was doing that, year or two ago, and did not many people show up. But it’s funny, my neighbor that started running barefoot after I wrote my book, or after the book was published, he waited till it was published.

You get people from everywhere in the world coming out just to run with you. It’s more of a run, walk. Nowadays, it’s more of a walk, run. It’s becoming more of a walk.

Steven Sashen:

You reminded me you were the only person who had the following advice for running down hills where people often think they have issues. You said, “Well, you have two choices. You can just slow down. Just make sure you’re getting your feet underneath you. Don’t use your feet for braking, or you just run down the hill as fast as you can.”

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

Just let it loose and have fun.

Ken Bob Saxton:
Nowadays, I do more of the slowing down. My feet just don’t keep up like they used to gravity. But yeah. There was a woman in Krishna Google’s Book that also had that technique, just letting the knees collapse, I think is how he described it, and then moving forward rather than resisting.

Steven Sashen:

Well, Ken, thank you very much. It’s a pleasure catching up. It’s been way too long, in part, because we don’t get to get out very …

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

But that’ll happen at some point soon.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. I’m not very social anyway. Actually, I don’t hate this staying at home stuff. I’ve always loved staying home from school when I was younger and even when I was older. I guess I was always younger. I’ve never been older than I am now.

Steven Sashen:

It’s a little Mitch Hedberg joke. He said, “Someone came up to me.” Said, “Here’s a picture of me from when I was younger.” He says, “Every picture of you is from when you were younger.”

Ken Bob Saxton:

Exactly.

Steven Sashen:

Well, I got to tell you, while I’m not a social person, I had COVID back in January. I was essentially locked in the basement.

Ken Bob Saxton:

You got it early. Yeah. Oh, this January. Okay.

Steven Sashen:

I was locked in the basement for two weeks. I got to tell you. It was really pretty fine not having to see another human being or see anything and getting out of the basement. It was a furnished basement. It’s not like it was that Spartan. But getting out, it took me a good week and a half to adjust to seeing humans and just the stimulation.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

Going outside it was wild.

Ken Bob Saxton:

That’s what I’m fearing as much as I fear anything, and I don’t have that many fears anymore. Everything I’ve ever feared in my life, it’s usually just a matter of handling it. Being afraid to go to school because you have a test or whatever. Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Ken Bob Saxton:

It’s okay. They’re not the end of the world.

Steven Sashen:

We’re afraid of what we imagined would happen if we did something, not the thing itself.

Ken Bob Saxton:

That’s what keeps a lot of people from going barefoot, too.

Steven Sashen:

Absolutely.

Ken Bob Saxton:

It’s the fear that has been instilled in them much by prejudice or bigotry against going barefoot. That doesn’t sound right. Prejudice against it.

Steven Sashen:

Well, I mean, we’re dragging at the end of this. But it occurs to me. I mean, the bigotry is an interesting phrase to use, or prejudice is an interesting phrase, because the people that we … what we associate with barefoot is often people who are poor, or some situation that we wouldn’t want to be in. I’m sure that’s a piece of it as well, is that’s in the back of someone’s mind.

They might not even be aware of that one. It really is fascinating, because it’s … actually here’s one. In Colorado, people freak out, of course, if you’re walking around barefoot. But if you’re on the beach, they don’t have that. It just a matter of location. It’s not a question of …

Ken Bob Saxton:

You’re more likely to cut your foot on the beach.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Right.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Anywhere else you can see the glass and not step on it.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. I’ve said that to people here with when they say something about going barefoot. I go, “This would be fine if we were in Santa Barbara.” They go, “Yeah.” I go. “Well, pretend you’re in Santa Barbara.”

Ken Bob Saxton:

There you go. Yeah. If you can have Spanish name cities in Colorado, too, I think Colorado probably Spanish name.

Steven Sashen:

Exactly. Starting with Colorado.

Ken Bob Saxton:

We used to be part of Mexico. California and Colorado and New Mexico, Arizona, this all used to be part of Mexico.

Steven Sashen:

Don’t get me start on that one. Anyway, again, a total, total pleasure. Let’s not wait too long till the next one.

Ken Bob Saxton:

All right.

Steven Sashen:

Let’s see if there’s anything we can …

Ken Bob Saxton:

You’re busy tomorrow? No?

Steven Sashen:

I’m a little busy tomorrow, but I appreciate it. Crap. Now he knows where I live.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

I do hope people do take advantage of checking out your website. If you’re ever in So Cal coming to visit, social butterfly, though you’re not. My experience of you is you have never turned down someone who’s willing to go out and play.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah. I found that it’s actually easier to socialize with people while I’m running, because that distracts me from the fact that I’m socializing with humans.

Steven Sashen:

That’s a good strategy. I like it.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Actually, when people want to do interviews with me for media and such, I say, “Okay. Well, let me get my Bluetooth on and I’ll take you for a run virtually.”

Steven Sashen:

Perfect. Perfect. For everybody else, again, now you know where to find Ken Bob and have fun doing that. Again, go to www.jointhemovementmovement.com to find previous episodes, et cetera, to like and share, and you know the drill. As I say, if you want to be part of the tribe, please subscribe. That’ll help move the MOVEMENT Movement forward, or any direction that it seems to go before it would be a good one. I like that one.

If you have any suggestions or recommendations, anyone who want to be on this thing, should be on the show, any questions, comments, et cetera, just drop me an email, move@jointhemovementmovement.com. Of course, all the shoes behind me are from xeroshoes.com, where we make casual and performance boot shoes and sandals that people use for everything from taking a walk to running 100-mile, ultra-marathons and beyond. Most importantly, go out, have fun, and live life, feet first.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Stay hydrated. I went through a bottle of water during this interview.

Steven Sashen:

I know. That’s pretty good.

Ken Bob Saxton:

Yeah.

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