There is a fast-growing counterculture of runners who prefer to log their miles with a certain amount of nudity. Barefoot running has been gaining mainstream traction in recent years, thanks in large part to Christopher McDougall’s best-selling book Born to Run about the fabled Tarahumara people of Mexico’s Copper Canyons. The Tarahumara are considered the world’s best long-distance runners, and they do it with nothing on their feet except for the most simple of flat-soled sandals. Hoping to spread the gospel of toe-wiggling joy that is barefoot running, the Merrell Naked Foot 5K, the nation’s first sans-shoes running series, is coming to Santa Barbara for a day of racing and family fun. The festivities take place Saturday, May 21, with packet pick-up at 7-8:20 a.m. and runs beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Chase Palm Park. For more details, stop by Santa Barbara Outfitters or visit


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