The concept of barefoot running has been around for quite some time. Although this style of running is not new, it has not been the most popular option for runners. The past few years have shown a trend towards barefoot running and is gaining in popularity. Even some shoe manufacturers have tried to cater to these runners as they develop minimal style shoes. Although barefoot running has become more popular, there are still many questions that runners have about this form of running that most likely prevent them from becoming a barefoot runner. As with anything, there are said to be pros and cons about barefoot running.
There are many positive things that come along with barefoot running. Runner’s World makes the point that we spend too much time in our shoes and have weakened our foot and leg structures. When we go barefoot, we give ourselves the opportunity to strengthen those weakened structures.
Also, when you run in a shoe, you foot tends to land on its heel. This is actually not a natural landing for your foot. When you run barefoot, you land on the natural cushion of you mid-foot. Barefootrunner.com has even gone as far as to state that since the invention of the modern running shoe, running-related injuries have risen.
There are also studies to show that the use of shoes made for stability, neutral, or motion control intended to help a runner often does not. The results indicate that there is no difference in whether or not a runner will prevent an injury by utilizing a shoe. In fact, it is possible that the shoes we wear to prevent injury may actually be a contributing factor to our running injuries.
With every positive, there are also the negative aspects. The biggest objection to barefoot running is the potential that you may step on something which will cause injuries such as puncture wounds, lacerations, or infections. This is certainly a possibility if you are running in a high traffic area where people do not necessarily dispose of trash or take care of the sidewalks and streets.
Another consideration is that it is against the norm. For those of you who do not like to step outside the box, this may cause some problems for you, as you have to answer questions while standing in line for a race or running through your neighborhood barefoot. Some people do not like to be the leaders and if you don’t feel like taking on a trend that is still not widely practiced, you might want to stick with your running shoes.
It will also take some time getting used to. In the beginning, you might experience blisters or pain while you make the adjustment. As with any new form of running or even when you switch to a new pair of running shoes, there is an adjustment period. There are things though that you can do to help with the transition such as go on short runs at first or starting on a smooth hard surface.
There are many arguments for and against barefoot running. It is not a new concept, but is it one that has been gaining some popularity these past few years. Everyone has his or her own opinion and doing thorough research before you begin to run barefoot is essential. It’s up to you to decide what your preference is.