Running Without Shoes

Tomorrow brings a favorite Atlanta Fourth of July tradition, The Peachtree Road Race.  Starting at 7:30am 55,000 runners and walkers will compete in the world’s largest 10K race.  Sadly, for the first time in 4 years I won’t be in the field.  But if I was, I’d be wearing shoes.

Ok, so that would be the norm.  But the new trend of barefoot running (or nearly barefoot) has grown a lot since I first ran the Peachtree.

Why in the world would someone want to run barefoot?  The most common answer is better form and fewer injuries.  Barefoot running promotes landing on the ball of your feet, the way, it’s believed, nature intended.

In well padded running shoes, we have a tendency to land on our heel first.  So called heel striking puts more pressure on our hips and legs, leading to injuries.

Some barefoot runners also assert their way is more efficient.  But a recent study refutes that claim.

Still, the advent of barefoot running has led to an explosion of so called minimalist running shoes.  You may recognize the Vibram Five Finger version. They essentially look like gloves, with a distinct place for each piggy to reside.

So is barefoot running superior?  Honestly, I’ve never tried it so I don’t know.  However, I think the merits of injury reduction are valid.  If you don’t count stepping on a pop top.


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