More questions about the benefits of barefoot running. The NY Times reports.
The barefoot running society has many people dedicated to spreading the word about the benefits of running. I have been a medical advisor to many of the people who participate in the site.
While barefoot running sounds great, often, those who switch to this style of running because of problems they believe were from running shod (with shoes) develop different problems than the ones they had originally before they switched. Others switch out of curiosity or because a friend suggested they try running that way. In my experience, I developed other issues when attempting to use both barefoot running shoes and shoes designed to make you feel as if you were walking barefoot. You can see my expose on running barefoot almost here., here and the conclusion here.
The New York Times now is reporting on a new study that talks about the problems that seem to be caused by barefoot running. Check it out here
Barefoot-running enthusiasts long have believed that running without shoes or in minimalist footwear makes running easier, speedier and less injurious. But a surprisingly large number of new studies examining just how the body actually responds when we run in our birthday shoes or skimpy footwear suggest that for many people, those expectations are not being met.
Consider, for instance, the findings of the most definitive of the new studies, published last month in The Journal of Applied Physiology. It looked into whether landing near the front of the foot when you run is more physiologically efficient than striking the ground first with the heel.
This is a central issue in any discussion of barefoot-style running, because one of the supposed hallmarks of running shoeless or in minimalist footwear is that doing so promotes a forefoot landing. Without the heel cushioning provided by standard running shoes, barefoot proponents say, runners will gravitate naturally toward landing lightly near the balls of the feet.
And they should, most proponents add, because landing near the front of the foot will require less oxygen and effort and allow you to push harder at any given speed and ultimately run faster or longer.
But that idea, while appealing, has not been well scrutinized. So researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recruited 37 experienced runners, 19 of whom were habitual heel-strikers and 18 of whom landed first near the front of the foot. (Heel striking is far more common than forefoot striking among modern runners, by most estimates, with at least 70 percent of us nowadays leading with our heels.)