By now you’ve probably heard some of the benefits of barefoot running and you probably thought, “Umm…no shoes? Isn’t that dangerous?” While some people do choose to run barefoot, many people who are taking part in this revolution are using barefoot running shoes, which differ from traditional running shoes in a few ways.
With traditional running shoes, your heel hits the ground first, which causes the impact to transfer up to your thigh and pelvis, potentially leading to running related injuries. With barefoot shoes, the ball of your foot makes the initial impact, allowing your foot to flex naturally and distribute the weight, strengthening your ankle and small ligaments in your foot.
Traditional running shoes also encourage an unnatural, leaning posture because, in order for your heel to make impact with the ground, you must hold your body at an angle, rather than straight up. Barefoot running shoes allow you to assume a more natural posture, which in turn gives your body the best benefits from the exercise.
There is a wide variety of barefoot running shoes from which to choose, ranging in price and design. Some barefoot running experts swear by so-called “toe shoes” which separate each toe, such as Vibram FiveFingers or Adidas adiPURE. For those who prefer a more traditional looking sneaker, the Nike Free is a great choice, as is the New Balance Minimus.
What do you think about barefoot running?