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Barefoot Running

It seems like a growing trend in the running world these days is running with no shoes on. If you stop and think about it. We have been running barefoot for millions of years, with the highly cushioned running shoe only becoming prominent since the 1970s. Nike and other shoe companies would want you to think that you need their shoe to get in a quality run. But is a shoe necessary when running. Barefoot running or sometimes called natural running continues to grow in running circles.  It’s based on the theory that running shoes provide un-natural levels of cushioning and support, changing the way our feet strike the ground and increasing the risk of injury. Shoe companies have cottoned on to the trend, with a variety of minimalist shoes that fit each toe like a glove. Recent scientific research has shown that there may be a strong case to reduce the amount of training time you spend in traditional running shoes.


The Research

According to a report published in the journal; Running Health, people who run barefoot demonstrate a very different ankle angle on impact, foot strike and loading rates, and may be less prone to injury.

The study analysed people who were running barefoot and those who were in running shoes using footplates and video. The study found that barefoot runners often land on the mid or fore-foot before bringing down the heel, while runners in shoes mostly rear foot strike, allowed by the elevated and cushioned heel of the modern running shoe. Their analysis found that even on hard surfaces, barefoot runners generate smaller collision forces than shoe wearing runners, decreasing the effective mass of the body that collides with the ground.

The researchers believe that going barefoot may help protect the feet and lower limbs from some of the impact related injuries experienced by a high percentage of runners. However, more research is needed before it can be proven conclusively that barefoot runners or those in minimal footwear have reduced injury rates.

Is barefoot running best for me?

With all of the research that we found it seems that running without shoes on could be better for your body. You will have to get use to running with no shoes on. Your foot will take time to get use to running this way. Stretching your feet after seems to help some people make this tradition. Remember your foot is going to hit the ground differently and to try it out in grass or on a softer surface’s so you can get use to the feeling so you don’t get injured.

Can shoes make it seem like running barefoot?

With the barefoot running craze shoe manufacturer have created shoes that make it seem like you’re running without shoes on. Nike for instance has 12 shoes on their website that are in their barefoot collection. These and other shoes like them may be the best alternative to running without shoes on. First of all running outside without shoes on may be dangerous if you don’t have a soft surface or a treadmill to keep your feet from getting cut. Buying a treadmill to run inside might be the best option for those who live in cities where running with no shoes on is more dangerous if you don’t want any shoes on at all.

Let me know if you are are a shoe runner or a barefoot runner on Twitter. Tweet me @FunFitnessFrank Thanks for checking out my blog.