Benefits of Barefoot Running

Despite advances in sports medicine and shoe technology, running injuries remain significant, leading some people to suggest that the best shoes may be no shoes at all. Wearing shoes for running is relatively new - the modern running shoe was invented during the 1970’s. Many early Olympic marathon runners ran barefoot, and even now many African runners train and compete without shoes.

Sports Injuries & Running Shoes

Prior to the 1970s, running shoes offered little or no real protection against impact injuries. According to an often quoted study conducted by Daniel Lieberman et al. (2010), habitually barefoot endurance runners often land on the fore-foot (fore-foot strike) before bringing down the heel, but they sometimes land with a flat foot (mid-foot strike) or, less often, on the heel (rear-foot strike). In contrast, habitually shod runners mostly rear-foot strike, facilitated by the elevated and cushioned heel of the modern running shoe.

The advantage of running in a mid foot or front foot strike style (as barefoot runners mostly do) is that the impact is more evenly spread across the foot, and many people have concluded that this will result in significantly less repetitive stress injuries in runners. The evidence for this has not been clearly shown.

running stride running stride

Should I Run Barefoot?

If you are prone to injuries of the foot, or have an injury that you just can't fix, barefoot running may be an option for you. If you do choose to try it, start slowly, just walking, and gradually build up the pace and distance that you cover barefoot. After a period barefoot running and walking will become easy and painless, and hopefully injury free.

Famous Barefoot Runners



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The above information is presented as a general guide. The author and publisher take no responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, action or application of medication based on this information. See more: Disclaimer.

Medicine Extra

Prevent sporting injuries by performing a warm-up before each fitness session, which should include some stretching.

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