Mixed Data About Barefoot Running

The NY Times reports on a study showing more injuries in people who run barefoot compared to those with shoes…

When Born to Run first came out, I went out immediately to pick up some Vibram Fivefingers because I was so excited to embrace my body’s natural state.  My first run was 3 miles.  My second run was 3 miles.  My third run was nonexistent because I had strained my calf.  Turns out I didn’t read the instructions for a proper adjustment period and subsequently injured myself.

Right now I wear barefoot shoes when I walk (These are my work shoes!), but since I don’t do much running I don’t feel like I’m at risk for the injuries described by the NY Times.

The barefoot shoes do help me when I’m squatting and lifting in Crossfit giving me a stronger sense of stability since my feet are closer to the ground.

While I still believe in the benefits of barefoot shoes… I no longer believe in the benefits of long distance running nor do I have the time for it since all my energy is directed towards BJJ and Crossfit.

3 Responses to Mixed Data About Barefoot Running

  1. Daytona says:

    I think a lot of people learn about barefoot/minimal footgear and then fail to realize that you have to relearn how to walk/run without thick, stabilizing shoes. After a lifetime of normal shoes, your foot muscles are very weak, your calf muscles are shortened and you aren’t used to really paying attention to where you step.

    I am slowly transitioning from custom-made orthotic shoes to minimal shoes. I wear them around the house and when I am running errands. I continue to wear my usual shoes for workouts because my feet aren’t strong enough yet to prevent injuries like turned ankles. I doubt I will ever run barefoot but I still see the benefits to strengthening my feet and using a natural gait as much as possible.

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      Ya… go slowly!

      One thing I’ve been thinking about is that I think all the bone contusions and injuries are probably related to running on concrete and asphalt. Cavemen didn’t have this stuff…

      If we ran barefoot solely on grass and sand, I think a lot of the injuries could be prevented. This is just me speculating of course… but it makes sense. But even this would take a lot of adjustment for people who’ve been in shoes their entire lives..

      • Daytona says:

        That’s a good point about pavement vs grass. Some of my worst foot injuries were from quick stops/turns on the tennis court. I can’t wait until summer and I can hit the trails at the local forest preserves!

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