Highlands Ranch, CO – The Merrell Naked Foot 5K challenges runners to run barefoot in an effort to raise awareness about the benefits of barefoot running and collect donations for Soles4Souls.

The series kicked off along the Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara, CA, then moved east along the Rocky Mountains in Boulder, CO. On Sunday, September 18, the Naked Foot 5K will return to Colorado for an event at Redstone Park in Highlands Ranch.


On the day of each event, The Merrell Naked Foot 5K will be collecting gently worn footwear and donations for Soles4Souls, 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.

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.”

Because barefoot running has been gaining attention recently, the Merrell Naked Foot 5K provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the benefits of this growing trend in addition to collecting donations for Soles4Souls. Studies have shown that barefoot running 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 common mistakes runners make like over striding and heel strike, which running shoes actually reinforce.”

The Naked Foot 5K welcomes shod runners to compete with 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 it has due to 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 www.thenakedfoot5k.com.

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.

About The Merrell Naked Foot 5K

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

For more information on The Merrell Naked Foot 5K, please contact Lauren Jones at barefootracing@gmail.com.


Visit www.giveshoes.org for more information about Soles4Souls.



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