Barefoot Running Shoes vs Padded Shoes

This video from Dr Clay highlights the differences between barefoot running shoes vs padded shoes. Scientists such as Daniel Lieberman at Harvard sought to pursue the best way to run, and wondered about why runners in Kenya can run so far and fast and not have foot problems. They noted that these runners do not run with the traditional padded shoe – rather, they run with just a simple piece of leather. That is, no traditional heel strike, which is too jarring, with no padding. These Kenyan runners land on their barefeet and allow their calves to absorb the impact instead of their heels.

Traditional Padded Shoes

Traditional padded shoes provide a lot of padding and stability control. They protect your skin from friction and provide some padding. The problem with that is that the stability control alters our biomechanics and leaves our feet weaker and more prone to injury. The arch of the foot is actually designed to be a natural shock absorber. With the use of traditional padded shoes, our stability muscles and ligaments atrophy over time.

Transition from Padded Shoes to Barefoot Running Shoes

Dr Clay does not recommend switching to barefeet shoes right away, for our feet are not prepared for that. Rather, we should ease into it. Go from wearing regular, stable-type shoe to a moderately padded shoe like a Nike Free. Then to the Vibram Five Finger Shoes. He learned from Nike that the only shoe in their line of products that best prevents injuries associated with traditional shoes is the Nike Free, for it is the only one that mimics barefoot running.

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