A number of years ago, the barefoot and near barefoot running craze was alive and well. The craze started after the book, Born to Run explored why the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury.
The secret according to the author had to do with running barefoot. As many of us remember, there were Vibram shoes, minimalist running shoes, and of course, a lot of injuries from people trying to run in a different way and transitioning too fast. Since I was an advisor to the Barefoot Running Society, I had answered many questions from runners on their barefoot running injuries.
The truth is if you changed your running style, your body moved differently and the way you impacted the ground also changed. Over time, biomechanical problems did not resolve but resulted in other running problems as we changed the way we ran. Running barefoot has its own injuries.
The plus side of shoes is they protect the feet. The downside is that placing the foot in a box prevents the feet from moving and conditions them.
Barefoot running causes the foot to strike midfoot and there have been newer and more recent designs such as those by Hoka that force a midfoot strike which reduces the impact at the ground.
It has been my experience that we are all differently built and some do better barefoot or minimalist and some need more structure. There is no one size fits all.
Recently, there was new evidence supporting the idea of barefoot running. Check out the article below
Is It Really Better to Run Barefoot? Another Major Study Just Weighed In
PETER FRANCIS, THE CONVERSATION 27 APRIL 2020
It was around four to six million years ago when humans first evolved to walk upright. We continued to evolve into superb long-distance walkers and runners, made possible by our arched feet, long Achilles tendon, and ability to cool through sweating. And surprisingly, for most of human history, this long-distance travel was done barefoot.
Some evidence suggests footwear emerged around 30,000 years ago. But it wasn’t until about 100 years ago that fashionable footwear was reported to be altering the shape of the foot. Since the 1970s, cushioned running shoes have become synonymous with exercise.