Some studies have shown that walking barefoot can ease your body’s aches and pains, and we’ve already told you that expensive running shoes aren’t a necessity; now Wired’s throwing in their two cents with an explanation of how barefoot is better.
Now, a small but growing body of research suggests that barefoot is the way adults should run, too. So, many runners have been shucking off the high-tech trainers in favour of naked feet — or minimalist footwear like Nike Free, the Newton All-Weather Trainer and the glove-like Vibram FiveFingers.
What’s so great about going shoeless? It allows the foot to flex and absorb shock, says Tony Post, president of Vibram USA, which makes FiveFingers. With thick heels, people lengthen their strides, landing heel-first and letting the shoe absorb the impact of each footfall. You can’t do that barefoot (try it sometime), so your body naturally falls into a shorter stride, landing first on the outside middle or ball of your foot. As you advance your foot rolls inward; the arch flattens and helps absorb the impact; it then springs back up as you lift your foot and push off the ground.
The article also says that “strong evidence” suggests that your cushioned running shoes haven’t prevented any injuries in the past 30-some years they’ve been around. Of course, running shoeless can be difficult when you live in a city, but options like the Vibram FiveFingers (which you see in the video) are there to protect you from some the potentially pointy stuff while still giving you the barefoot experience.
So how about you? Would you ever consider switching to barefoot—or have you already? Share your experience in the comments.