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Barefoot running

From: Colin F.
Sent on: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:14 PM
Hi all,

Has anyone here looked into barefoot/minimalist running? Is anyone
into it? I started looking into it a while ago after seeing a study in
Nature (one of the better scientific journals) measuring the effect of
wearing modern running shoes on running style and how that affects the
impact of running. The study is here:

http://www.barefo...­

They're very careful to state that this isn't evidence that running
barefoot or in minimal footwear really reduces injuries - there's no
hard data on that yet, but there's a fair amount of anecdotal
evidence. There's also, after 35 years or so of Nike World Domination,
no scientific evidence that running in modern trainers actually
improves either safety or performance.

The wikipedia page (http://en.wikiped...­) has
some more info, including this quote:

"Running barefoot is associated with a substantially lower prevalence
of acute injuries of the ankle and chronic injuries of the lower leg
in developing countries, but well-designed studies of the effects of
barefoot and shod running on injury are lacking. Laboratory studies
show that the energy cost of running is reduced by about 4% when the
feet are not shod. In spite of these apparent benefits, barefoot
running is rare in competition, and there are no published controlled
trials of the effects of running barefoot on simulated or real
competitive performance."

I also recently read "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall which
talks a fair amount about this - he waffles a bit but it's generally a
really interesting and entertaining read.

When I was talking to Ingmar about running style one night with the
group, he commented that most of the really fast/efficient runners he
knew seemed to use very short strides - it turns out this is
characteristic of people who run barefoot and are forefoot strikers -
i.e. they don't land on the heel but on the front of the foot. Pretty
much anyone who runs without shoes (i.e. people in Africa who still
regularly run a lot in the course of their daily lives and have often
never worn shoes) runs like this.

Anyway, interesting stuff if you're either a science geek or have been injured!

Cheers,
Colin

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