A new trend in running has taken off in recent years though it is not a new concept. People have been kicking off their running shoes to go au nautrale and enjoy the intense connection with the earth that they feel when running this way. Though there has not been a lot of conclusive research done to prove whether or not running shoes are beneficial.
Even with out the concrete evidence showing that barefoot running is better for you, barefoot runners swear by this lifestyle. Barefoot runners believe that with out the obstruction of a running shoe, the brain knows where to place the body and foot in order to run in a way that is most efficient and beneficial to the particular runner. The world was wowed in 1960 when Ethiopian runner Abebe Bikila won his first of many gold medals running barefoot. Of course this was nothing new to him, but it caught everyone else off guard. Barefoot running was also brought to the world’s attention by European runner Bruce Tulloh and American runner’s Charlie Robbinson and Zola Budd.
Research done by Michael Warburton and published in Sportsscience journal entitled ‘Barefoot Running’ which can be found at www.sportsci.org/jour/0103/mw.htm has shown that running shoes increase ankle sprains, Plantar Fasciitis, and other shock related injuries. He also found that less expensive running shoes cause fewer injuries and fewer stressing points on your body than more expensive and advanced running shoes do. According to the article Amby Burfoot wrote in Runnersworld which you can read at http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-240-319--6728-0,00.html, the brain is much more aware of your body and its surrounds when no shoes are worn.
Despite these findings, running shoes do have their advantages. Most importantly they provide protection. We live in a world filled with dirt, debris, and sharp objects no matter where you are running. Whether that is on a trial, a grassy field, on a side walk, or in a gym, puncture wounds are nothing to take lightly. These wounds can be very dangerous especially if they are not taken care of right away. Running shoes provide support for those with flat feet or high arches. Shoes also protect diabetics from foot injuries. Diabetics are strongly recommended not to try this style of running.
Barefoot running is a very controversial subject. Many people believe that humans should run exactly how they where made and not let anything get in the way of that. Others believe that shoe where invented for a purpose and are extremely important to wear. A third party believes that there is a happy medium between these views and has designed shoes that resemble barefoot running without the risk of puncture wounds. If you are going to start barefoot running make sure to take things very slow and consult your podiatrist before you start. If you don’t have a podiatrist, get one!! And make sure to go to regular check ups. If you are not sure if barefoot running is right for you, do a little research of your own and talk to your podiatrist to decide what is going to be the best running style for you.