Barefoot running is a popular alternative way to run without running shoes. We were originally created to run barefoot to survive, to chase and hunt wild animals and move from camp to camp to find food. However, since that time, for better or worse, concrete has been invented and we have to protect ourselves from that hard surface. The long term effects of these impacts on the body long term are not clear. The size of the barefoot running community is growing fast, but so is the anti barefoot running commentary from a number of sources.
Those who lime to run barefoot and promote it, do make a large number of claims for the benefits of barefoot running. They do claim that the barefoot running biomechanics and lcocomotion is much more efficient. They claim that there are less overuse injuries in those that do run without shoes. However, there is actually no evidence from the sceintific literature to support that running without running shoes is better. let alone an ideal or better way to run. Those who support barefoot running point to a lot of assumed evidence, but when you look at it closer, the research did not actually say what is being claimed. The barefoot running community and discussions is largely dominated by many who are fanatical and passionate about it and often it is difficult to discuss the research evidence with them in a rationale way. It is almost like trying to have a religious argument – you are never going to win that one!.
This does not mean that barefoot running might have benefits; it is just the unsupported claims being made for the benefits that are problematic. It is probably possible that barefoot running should be used by most runners who can tolerate it, in moderation and as part of a overall balanced running program.
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