Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Why run or walk barefoot?


1. Strengthen the muscles in your feet
2. Be injury free thanks to proper foot and body mechanics
3. Increased sensory perception (and running pleasure)
4. Run easier and faster and be injury-free for life

 


Check it out…
Look at the illustration below. When a runner strikes the ground wearing running shoes, the positive heel (all that foam/air/gel cushioning) causes him/her to heel strike, then ‘roll’ and push off. This is NOT how our body is designed to run. Look at the runner on the right. When you’re barefoot (or nearly barefoot) you will land gently and feel the ground below your feet. This is very important to be a healthy and injury-free runner. Now you try! Run 20 yards in your runners, then do the same barefoot. Have someone watch you just in case you fall over from glee!

Running in shoes vs Barefoot

Image: Terra Plana

A few FAQ’s
Q: What’s wrong with running shoes?
A: A lot. Running shoes “shield” your feet and body from the natural cushioning it’s designed for, actually causing more impact to your body, not less. Nearly all traditional running shoes have a thick midsole at the heel which causes heel strike, another major injury cause. [Read more here...]

Q: So… what are you saying?
A: Toss your shoes away and run barefoot! But wait, there’s more! There are things to consider first, that’s where this site comes in. Read on…

Q: I heard about barefoot running, doesn’t it hurt?
A: If you jump right into it, then in short, yes. You’ll use muscles you’ve never used before. As you transition to barefoot running, you should start slowly. Ease into your mileage and listen to you feet. Most runner’s require 3-4 weeks before achieving ~80% of their regular mileage sans shoes.

Q: OK, I’m onboard with this barefoot running, but can’t always run sans shoe, then what?
A: As many other runners, I had the same problem. There are many environmental and sometimes social reasons for wearing “running shoes”. For this and other reasons there ‘alternatives’ are slowly becoming available. My Skora project is progressing to launch late 2010. Meanwhile, take a look at our minimal shoe reviews.

A few medical quotes
 “Running related Chronic injuries to bone and connective tissue in the legs are rare in developing countries, where most people are habitually barefooted.”
Michael Warbutton - Gateway Physiotherapist Australia. 2001

"Barefoot training helps correct form and reduces foot, shin and muscle injuries.”
Dr. William A. Rossi, D.P.M. 1999.

“Where barefoot and shod populations exist, as in Haiti, injury rates of the lower extremity are substantially higher in the shoe wearing population.”
Robins SE and Hanna AM - Running related injury

“…natural gait is impossible for the shoe-wearing foot …and it is equally impossible for any orthotic to achieve “correct” foot and body balance …no matter how correct and precise the biomechanical design.”
Dr. William A. Rossi, D.P.M. “Why Shoes Make ‘Normal’ Gait Impossible.” Podiatry Management

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