BAREFOOT RUNNING: PROS VS. CONS
To wear your shoes or leave them behind is the question.
With educated experts on both sides of the issue of barefoot running, we decided that it is time to compare, contrast, evaluate, and take a stance on this issue.
Pro Barefoot Running
In recent years that barefoot running has become a more accepted form of transportation with a growing following of fans and participants. Men's Health Journalist Chris McDouggall brought barefoot running to the book stands with his Bestselling Non-Fiction novel, "Born to Run". McDouggall's story follows the Tarahumara tribe in the mountains of Mexico where he observes their natural athletic gait as they run for hundreds of miles clad in what we would consider nothing more than a minimal sandal or moccasin. McDouggall's quest to understand the correlation between modern footwear and running injuries brought about the following ideas from various running experts expressed in his blog: "We found pockets of people all over the globe who are still running barefoot, and what you find is that during propulsion and landing, they have far more range of motion in the foot and engage more of the toe. Their feet flex, spread, splay and grip the surface, meaning you have less pronation and more distribution of pressure."
-Jeff Pisciotta, Senior Researcher, Nike's Sports Research Lab.
Con Barefoot Running
With a close relationship to shoe manufactures we have been interested in learning how major running shoe companies have responded to the idea of barefoot running. Brooks Sports is a long standing expert shoe source in the running industry. The researchers and scientists who dedicate their careers to developing footwear have produced the following statement: Running the way our bodies intended will provide the greatest efficiency and may ultimately decrease the incidence and severity of several key running injuries. Unfortunately, due to foot deformities, uneven or sharp running surfaces, previous injuries, or a myriad other reasons, the vast majority of runners cannot achieve optimal running form without the help of performance footwear. - Brooks Running Shoes
Pro vs. Con - Point by Point
Pro: Barefoot running requires runners to change their form and to land softly on their midfoot
Con: Runners can and should work on efficient running form whether they are or are not wearing shoes
Pro: Humans have been running barefoot for centuries and have only recently transitioned into cushioned running shoes
Con: Our environment has changed over time from a land of fields and forests to a society of sidewalks and roads which are less conducive to barefoot running
Pro: Wearing shoes has resulted in a higher rate of running related injuries
Con: Running injuries have increased due to increased numbers of runners on the road and are more often related to poor training plans, overuse, or strength and flexibility imbalances
Pro: Barefoot running supports man's natural ability to run and run efficiently
Con: Every body and every foot is different - some need additional support while others function most efficiently in minimal support
So after all that... what do we think? Check it out...
BAREFOOT RUNNING: WHAT DO WE BELIEVE AT FLEET FEET SPORTS, MURFREESBORO?
Our staff at Fleet Feet Sports Murfreesboro has been intrigued by the growing interest in barefoot running. Through our own research, experimentation, and customer feedback we have learned the following concepts to be consistent amongst our customers:
- Working on running form and running technique is an important and critical aspect to becoming a better runner.
- Improved running form can prevent injury and improve performance.
- Running form can be improved upon through utilizing drills and exercises whether an athlete is wearing a minimalist shoe, stability shoe, or running barefoot.
- Many runners benefit from working on running form through occassional use of a minimalist style shoe.
- Being properly fit for shoes and rigid inserts continues to consistently decrease the pain and discomfort that has long prevented individuals from engaging in running and walking.
With growing interest in barefoot running we have explored the options of selling various Minimalist Shoes. Traditional running shoes have a 12 - 14 mm. heel to toe drop. Minimalist shoes are typically a more flexible shoe with a 3 - 4 mm. heel to toe drop. With a large stock of minimalist racing flats we have expanded our inventory of minimalist options with the following options:
Nike Run Free
New Balance Run
Coming 3/1: Vibrams
We feel it is imperative to bring proper coaching for all our barefooters / minimalists. Stay tuned for dates.