Barefoot Running: Running Barefoot is Still the Way to Go

We talked a lot about barefoot running shoes whether its the Nike Free, Vibrams or New Balance shoes.  But we haven’t gotten into the nitty gritty of running barefoot itself and the benefits.  As with any new innovative health story or running technique, there will be the naysayers.  So we also with some of the known reasons not to run barefoot.  We also understand we live in a modern society where running or walking around barefoot 24/7 is not realistic.  So we will mention some of those points as well on our list.  Since there hasn’t been large scale controlled experiments or tests related to barefoot running and it’s relationship to injuries, many of these claims are just from observations and should not be considered scientific fact.


Benefits of Running Barefoot

  • Reduced occurrences of ankle sprains by increasing awareness of foot position
  • Reduced reports of problems such as Plantar Fasciitis by using the body’s natural shock absorbers
  • Less deformed toes (feet are not forced to be formed in the shape of the shoe
  • Improved balanced because of less restriction with the toes
  • Prevention of varicose veins (thanks to increased blood circulation in the feet and pump more blood back to the heart)
  • Increased oxygen to feet
  • Chances of over training and over straining are less because your feet will react to problems instead of them being masked by your thick shoes
  • Encourages proper running technique (too painful to run incorrectly barefoot!)
  • Before the rise of popularity of running shoes, there were less reports of knee and joint injuries due to running.  It was the rise of the elevated heel and pointed toe that was said to have marked the beginning of athletic foot and leg injuries
  • Stronger muscles in the calf, hips and under the foot
  • Prevent ingrown toenails caused by foot wear
  • Prevent callouses caused by foot and shoe friction
  • Chances of athletes foot and odor being eliminated are greatly increased
  • More relaxing.  We like to kick off our shoes at the end of the day!
  • “Natural gait is bio mechanically impossible for any shoe-wearing person,” wrote Dr. William A. Ross
  • Helps straighten out the toes as well as forces sections of your feet and toes to become more developed
  • Absorb more “Chi” and life energy, increasing vitality and mood
  • Save money on replacing running shoes every couple months (for heavy runners)
  • Save space in storing a ton of shoes

Benefits of Running With Shoes (Running Shod)

  • Prevent injuries from stepping on glass, rocks and other material that can puncture the foot
  • Prevent you from stepping on sewage, animal waste and other disgusting items
  • You will look stylish if you wear the latest running shoes and you will attract other runners
  • For fast sprints and competitive track and field events, not wearing shoes may give your competitors an edge
  • Performance in terms of speed and time for long and short distance runs may improve with shoes
  • It is socially more acceptable to walk around in public with shoes than without shoes

Barefoot Running Shoes

While we know that there is not a complete solution for shoe related injuries even with the invention of various barefoot running shoes, there can be a balance.  Although Barefoot running shoes can not fix all the problems listed above, there can be some benefits to using them.  Many of the injuries caused by restriction of movement from shoes are eliminated by the Vibram Five Finger shoes, while the proper foot strike (mid-foot) can be corrected by both the Nike Free and the New Balance shoes.  Many feel the New Balance MR800 is a very fast shoe made for competition.  As always, we welcome any opinions or feedback you can offer.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • MarieS December 22, 2009, 11:59 am

    I ran my first marathon (age 66) wearing VivoBarefoot Lucy’s. I am surprised that no one has commented on them. I walked out of the store and haven’t worn another pair since…so I am using them for running and for daily use. I LOVE them!

  • david avila March 19, 2011, 8:28 pm

    what about over-pronation? will bare-foot ruuning shoes have any effect on that? also, could they ease shin splints? how?


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