Run Barefoot Or Run With Running Shoes

There has been a lot of attention in media lately to the concept of running barefoot instead of the use of the conventional and expensive running shoe. The entire movement associated with barefoot running is very fanatical about it and make all sorts of extraordinary claims as to the benefits of barefoot running and how evil running shoes are. They widely claim that running shoes are the cause of most of the overuse injuries that runners get. Some of the claims made for barefoot running is that there are less injuries with it; that running efficient improves; and running biomechanics improve; muscle strength improves; and that it is more natural to run this way. You can see many claims about the science that supports the benefits of running barefoot.

However, there is no research that supports any of the claims made. There has been a number of research publications on the difference between barefoot running and running with running shoes and also between rearfoot strikers (usually shod runners) and forefoot strikers (typically the barefoot runner), but tall they did was compare the differences and they did not show which one was better nor which one had less injuries. There is no doubt that there are runners that get injuries using running shoes and others get injuries running barefoot. The transition from shod running to barefoot running needs to be very slow and very gradual and many do get injuries during that process. Some get to full barefoot running; others revert back to running shoes.

None of this means that barefoot running does not have some benefits. It just means that the claimed science and research that is claimed to support it doesnt. A number of runners do use barefoot drills as part of their balanced training routine and do distance themselves from the fanatical fringe claims about the unsupported benefits of barefoot running.