Benefits of Barefoot Running

While there’s a rising number of barefoot running worshipers, limited studies have been conducted about it. Advocates are claiming that  barefoot running lessens injuries and strengthen feet.  Do they have evidence to backup their claim?

The first study, for example, despite being quite well-designed, was funded by Nike, which might cast some doubt in the impartiality of the results. And the second two studies look at fairly mundane tasks, not long or fast running.

It is likely that running barefoot, or in any minimal shoe, will increase the strength of your intrinsic foot muscles. But it’s uncertain as to whether this increase in strength will translate to any performance or injury-avoidance gains.

Are the intrinsic foot muscles in a normal runner strong enough to maintain balance and arch integrity while training? Does strengthening these muscles with barefoot or minimalist training reduce injury risk? If so, what amount of training is needed, and how much is too much? These are all big questions that remain unanswered.

In the meantime, however, if you want to try out barefoot running or want to start using a minimalist shoe, I recommend two protocols:

Read the full article at Runners Connect.  

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user mikebaird. 

 

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