Interview with Patton Gleason, Owner of the Natural Running Store

by Abbie on February 10, 2011

At Barefoot Running, we are always on the look out for barefoot friendly organizations, stores, people, and products!  We recently discovered the Natural Running Store, so I reached out to the President and “Chief Flow Officer” Patton Gleason to find out more.

Barefoot Running:  What inspired you to create the store?

Patton Gleason: My personal experience was that the things that you couldn’t buy make the biggest difference. I had a few years of debilitating injuries and after exhausting all of the traditional treatment methods is was running barefoot and working diligently on my technique that made the biggest difference. I think this is an incredibly powerful and extremely underutilized tool for runners. When I was some what of a novelty running in only wool socks about 7 years ago, the practice of strengthening your feet and working on your form has a bigger presence in running.

I have been in specialty running for a long time with another company, and this segment of running is where my passion is. And now with products and companies really committed to promoting natural running using a natural gait cycle, it was the perfect time to combine my passions, experience and expertise.

I have been running around 26 years. My heart really belongs to the trails and some longer distance runs.

BF: How did you think of the name “Natural Running” store?

PG: As the market is still trying to identify the best way to categorize this movement in running, it was this term that resonated with me the most.

BF: Why is the natural running movement important to you?

PG: I love the idea that you are born with everything you need to run. I also think that learning form and technique is incredibly empowering. For way too long people have been conditioned to think that they are broken and need way too many things for running.

The big running secret is that you are wired to do it.

BF:  Why go minimalist instead of completely barefoot?

PG: How minimalist some one goes is very subjective. We have some customers that are ready to go very minimal and others who gradually make the transition.

I think the things that are important across all footwear spectrums is a low heel drop ratio, light as possible and a firmness that promotes sensory reception in the body. If some one can go entirely barefoot, then more power to them. Shoes do solve a couple of environmental and lifestyle issues. When its super cold barefoot can be a tough option and with as many unnatural surfaces (cement, pavement, etc) as we have, those tend to present friction that isn’t as prevalent in grass and dirt surfaces.

Patton & his family

BF:  How long have you been in business?

PG: The site launched on January 8th. We will be adding some great products and content over the coming weeks. It will be a really unique combination of great tools, education and community.

BF: Do you plan to have any brick and mortar stores in the future?

PG: Yes. We’ll likely be open the first store in the later part of 2011.

BF: What countries do you ship to?

PG: We’ll have free ground shipping to the USA and APO addresses. We’ll ship to other countries on an individual basis.

BF: What kinds/brands of minimalist shoes do you sell?

PG: We have some great brands currently including Kigo, Newton, GoLite, Inov-8, Terra Plana and Altra Running. We’ll have a few more barefoot running shoes on board in the coming months. It is going to be a really exciting future for lines of shoes that promote natural running.

BF: What if I need help choosing the right shoe for me?

PG: One of my favorite parts of this industry is working with customers. The shoe selection process is very subjective and individualized. If anyone needs a hand in selecting the right tool then we can communicate by email or phone. Most of the time you will get me personally. In addition to the right shoes, the site is also a great source for education on form and technique.

Thanks for chatting with us Patton, and good luck with the Natural Running Store and the website!

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