Running barefoot causes less collision force to the feet than running in cushioned shoes, a new study says.
Researchers reporting in the Jan. 28 issue of the journal Nature show that runners who run without shoes usually land on the balls of their feet, or sometimes flat-footed, compared to runners in shoes, who tend to land on their heels first.
Cushioned running shoes, which date back only to the 1970s, may seem comfortable but may actually contribute to foot injuries, say Daniel Lieberman, PhD, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University, and colleagues.
The scientists, using motion and force analyses, showed that barefoot runners who strike on the fore-foot (land on the balls of their feet) generate smaller collision forces than shod rear-foot strikers.
The researchers say that although there are anecdotal reports of reduced injuries in barefoot populations, more work is needed to test their view that either barefoot runners or those with minimal footwear (such as sandals or moccasins) have reduced injury rates.
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So we’ve been barefoot, like every other animal, for hundreds of thousands of years, but all of a sudden we need shoes? I don’t think so. Here are some recommendations for transitioning to barefoot, to get as much barefoot time as your work and lifestyle allow:
1. “The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Barefoot Running” by Leo Babauta.
5. “Barefoot is Better” by Dan Peterson
6. “The Effect of Running Shoes on Lower Extremity Joint Torques” by D. Casey Kerrigan, MD, Jason R. Franz, MS, Geoffrey S. Keenan, MD, Jay Dicharry, MPT, Ugo Della Croce, PhD, and Robert P. Wilder, MD. (Published in PM&R: The journal of injury, function and rehabilitation, Volume 1, Issue 12 (December 2009), published by Elsevier.)
But I’d disagree with this sentence: ”These findings confirm that while the typical construction of modern-day running shoes provides good support and protection of the foot itself.” Running shoes are bad: they are not intended to work within the limits and nature of the human body and human foot but to supposedly remedy deficiencies in human nature. If research and design of running shoes were premised on the former (i.e., nature), not the latter (i.e., deficiencies), they’d look and perform much better.
7. “To Run Better, Start by Ditching Your Nikes” by Dylan Tweney