Historically the human body is designed to run. Survival depended on the ability to run from danger. Imagine running from a wild animal barefoot! Perhaps you think this is a disadvantage, not necessarily. Without shoes humans naturally work to protect themselves. Protection comes in the way of skin and joints. High speeds are the outcome of the human ability to adapt. Even today many people don’t like to wear shoes. You may have noticed some of the fastest runners in the world have been virtually barefoot their entire life. Of course, this is not as practical in modern population centers. Concrete, asphalt, broken glass and more make running barefoot dangerous. Thus the reason for barefoot running shoes.
Sportswear companies are famous for their name brand shoes. These shoes are promoted by top athletes. However, the superstar runner from a country like Kenya has no product to promote, only their feet.
Can Barefoot Running Be Hazardous?
You may be under the impression that running barefoot is not good for your feet. Fortunately a study done at Harvard disproves that. The study showed that barefoot runners had less harsh impact to their feet. Whereas those wearing shoes hit the ground four times harder. Because most running injuries result from impact force to the foot, this is good news for the barefoot runner.
Try taking your shoes off and running. Notice your foot strike. Now put your shoes on and run. The foot strike comparison is noticeably different. The body has a natural defense to protect itself and because of this it uses a forefoot strike. Over the long term it has less impact on the body. A smoother and more natural stride is the outcome. Strengthening the foot and calf muscles is critical for the runner. Plantar fasciitis and runners knee is minimized by taking stress off the foot.
Running barefoot naturally strengthens foot muscles. Runners can benefit from barefoot running in several ways. Pronation is reduced as well as keeping the arch from collapsing. Keeping weight off the end of the foot uses five percent less energy than running shod according to studies.
Advantages of Barefoot Running
Running barefoot is natural. Barefoot running shoes allow your feet to move naturally too. Regular shoes force your foot to conform to an unnatural state. Whereas barefoot running shoes simulate the way our feet are meant to move and flex. The western world is unaccustomed to moving freely through the streets and being able to run barefoot. So a barefoot running shoe is the most viable way to obtain natural running form and reap the benefits as well. The foot will be protected through the city streets and rough terrain. Glass, nails and other dangerous objects will be avoided with the barefoot running shoe.
Companies that manufacture shoes are also in the business of promoting arch support. A shoe that has a firm structure will protect your foot from hazards. However, a firm structure for your arch is not ideal for a runner because it does not allow the foot’s arch to decline naturally over time. Because barefoot shoes allow your foot to move naturally, muscles and ligaments develop properly and give the runner the healthiest foot function.
Circulation is important for the entire body. The feet are no exception. There are a lot of nerve endings in the foot and because of this circulation is critical. Barefoot shoes will allow the proper flow to the foot. If you want to improve your balance and posture, try going barefoot. Regular shoes can make your feet become used to one type of terrain. If you go barefoot you will most likely improve your balance.
If you’ve been wearing running shoes for years and switch to barefoot shoes it will feel strange at first. Your feet may even get a little tired and sore. This is normal because your body and feet are adjusting to the different forward strike. Eventually your calves and feet will become stronger. Stronger feet and calves will help increase your speed.
If you can run barefoot safely, do it. In today’s modern world it’s really not a viable way to run everyday. Even those who live in rural areas face road debris and sharp objects along the way. So, if you want to run free and keep your feet safe and healthy, barefoot running shoes are the answer.