Barefoot running, also referred to as natural running, is the act of running without footwear or little to no support. This has become a controversial topic lately, and many people are wondering if barefoot running is beneficial. While running barefoot may seem a little out of the ordinary, many runners are adopting this style of running. Even though the majority of people still wear shoes when they run, the debate is still on as to whether barefoot running is beneficial.
More Than A Trend – Proponents of barefoot running believe that the practice offers a more natural stride and minimizes the risk of injury. These people contend that certain running shoes lead to an abnormal running pattern and make runners to land on their heel, which creates a heavier impact on the feet, knees, and legs. According to those in support of running barefoot, this technique is the natural way to run; the body was designed that way and barefoot running is therefore beneficial for the body.
The Case for Running Shoes – Proponents of running shoes point to a number of beneficits provided by the protection and support. There are many types of injuries a runner can suffer from barefoot running. These include plantar fasciitis, stress fracture, repetitive stress injury, and the possibility of foreign material lodging into the foot. Running shoes protect runners from bruising, puncture wounds, overuse injuries, and thermal injuries from harsh or extreme weather conditions.
Safe Transition to Barefoot Running – Experts recommend that those who want to start running barefoot should have a full physical examination and coaching from a qualified physical trainer or running specialist in order to help condition their body to the new style of running.
Minimalist Running Shoes
Following the trend or popularity of barefoot running, running shoe companies began making minimal shoes. These types of shoes are a great alternative for people who want to engage in barefoot running but at the same time want protection from rocks, dirt, water, rocks and other road hazards. These shoes are designed to imitate barefoot running so the runner doesn’t have to put his or her vulnerable soles at risk.
Considerations – Barefoot running has been practiced throughout history, and many cultures around the world still practice it today. Running barefoot may work for some individuals, but it is advisable to consult your doctor or other qualified medical professional. Some people can tolerate barefoot running due to repetitive stress injuries, and many times genetics play a significant role in this. It is a good idea to approach this style in a gradual manner, wearing a suitable footwear and then slowly scale down to a grip shoe. If you are a would-be barefoot runner, make sure you check expert research on the benefits of the practice before you make a decision.
Get Answers to Your Questions
If you’re considering barefoot or minimalist running, be sure to first talk to one of our certified personal trainers at Great Moves Physical Therapy. We’ll be able to talk you through all the considerations in order to safely achieve your fitness goals.