All the latest footwear engineering in your running sneakers might not mean a thing when it comes to preventing injuries. The latest barefoot running study in the journal Nature deployed 3-D infrared tracking to gauge the difference in foot strike between shod and shoeless runners, Scientific American reports. Here's a modern-day meme summation of the findings: "Shoes? You're doing it wrong."
Runners who wore sneakers ended up landing heel-first 75 to 80 percent of the time. By contrast, barefoot runners usually land toward the middle or front of the foot -- a dramatic difference that recalls the more natural foot strike of early Homo sapiens. Needless to say, early humans certainly were not born to run wearing Nike or Reebok.
The heel-landing without shoes means a painful collision force of 1.5 to 3 times human body weight. But cushioned sneaker heels have allowed runners to change their stride to high-impact running, and likely open up a whole world of pain involving foot and leg injuries.
"Most people today think barefoot running is dangerous and hurts," said Daniel Lieberman, a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and lead author on the study. "But actually you can run barefoot on the world's hardest surfaces without the slightest discomfort and pain."
Lieberman and his colleagues point out that modern running shoes did not come about until the 1970s -- a fairly late invention that latched onto that then-new fad known as jogging (or "yogging" as Ron Burgundy says). Now contrast several decades of sneakers with a human body that evolved barefoot running over thousands of years, and you begin to see a potential problem.
More bad news for sneakers came last December, when the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found that running shoes can increase joint torques at the hip, knee and ankle. Their study suggested that even going for a run in high heels was better for preventing joint injuries than tennis shoes.
Runners who fear years of soft treatment giving way to foot calluses still have options. Certain footwear such as the Newton Running shoes or the Vibram Five Fingers permit runners to readjust their foot strike back to the more natural way, or simply act as a second tough skin to protect the foot in the latter case.
One more unstated benefit of running without sneakers -- you'll never, ever have the temptation of wanting to remove your toenails.
[via Scientific American]
Ok, Lets take a moment to reflect on the past. When did we really start to see problems with running related injuries? When did we as a society, become an astetically pleased society? Seriously now, is more really better...I'm talking cushioning here. Ok, sure...I know a ton of people are getting injured on a daily basis due to shoe related issues. "Why is this" you ask, i'll tell you. You might be overweight, you might be bowlegged, you might have been in the wrong shoe your entire life and never know it.
Find a running store people. One that specializes in putting you, the individual, not the masses...into the right pair of running shoes, tennis shoes, bowling shoes, hell. Their is a different type for everything and the reason as to why still baffles me. You know what i like, and i don't get injured...a nice flat piece of rubber on the bottom of my foot...why? because im not fighting my bodies mechanics, im not fighting the natural instict of a biomechancially correct form of evolution that we as a species have been partaking in since creation. Walking. running....or as P.S. so eloquently qouted Mr. Burgundy...yogging. Your right, were human and we should do everything barefoot, their are stablizer muscles down their.
26 bones, thats a quarter of the bones in your body...more than! 33 joints! and more then 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments to boot. The feet are a complex appendage. and they are for a reason, look at the force that is applied at that part of the body from the moment you crawl out of bed in the moring and pray that the you rememberd to set your coffee pot to a.m. instead of p.m.
Nonetheless, their is hope. High arch, Low arch, supenate, pronate. Ya, im sure you have one of those and do one of the other. Well, a running store specializing in fitting you in the right shoe, of the millions of asthetically pleasing ones, will solve all of your woes, post haste. But it doesn't stop their. always, always, always...after a run. Take your shoes off, go into a nice grassy field and do some strides the way man was intended to. Pretend their is a giant rhinocerous, closest to a dinosaur i could muster up at the time, running after you and getting ready to ram you with that giant connical spike on its noes, you know where its going to ram you...are your really gonna hit the pause button, sit down, lace up you awsome chucks, press play and jet set over water like jesus, i know, i know, he wasn't in chucks, just trying to make a statment? yucka yucka yucka, no. your going to get your ass, i said ass and J.C. in the same paragraph, curse me. moving movin on and straight to the end of the original statement, moving! Barefoot! and your going to spring off the midfoot to forfoot...more power, more strenth, agility, more freekin speed!
Reguardless, get your jog on, but get the right shoe first, or just go barefoot, did you ever hear of shinsplints before nike started putting you in comfortable cushioned shoes that feel good but just mess your biomechanics up horrendously? NO, well i didnt, im only 27. But foot related injures are up, WAY WAY UP, in comparison to what they were in the 70's. I think its because the bulk of our society is a lazy one, who doesnt know the difference. or, which is more likely, phil knight over at nike decided to mess around with everyones natuaral body mechanics and it worked, because he has a shoe for ever problem he creates...bastard. No hard feeling Phil, purely speculation. Nike, good for you, create a mass marketing ploy, totally off base from the initial waffle iron, i'm sure bills wife loved that, and smelting rubber pots that Mr. Bowerman, started tinkering with, to get his athletes an extra edge. Did you catch that, waffle iron, melted rubber, scissors, and glue. Not velcro, nasa was being stingy, so shoe laces.
Long story short, do yourself a favor. Go to a store that handles these issues and takes care of these problems on a daily minute by minute basis. Each of you, all individuals, are exactly that. Individuals, one of a kind, their for, out of the millions of shoes on the market, the ones that may look super cool, are not always for you. Get some shoes that work. Get something that is made for your foot, for your unique make-up. For who you are, so you can get on with life, pain free.
Just for the record, like i havn't said it already, flip flops, racing flats, anything with a simple piece of rubber on the bottom...thats what i dig. Injury free and still kicken assphault!
Thats my rant...im done.
In the end you have to do what works for you. Shoes or no shoes, you will likely be serve well by keeping your front foot close to and under your hips. For many, this will mean shortening your stride. This will avoid, or at least lessen, heel-striking, and will allow your muscles to absorb the impact instead of your joints.
If you want to run barefoot. TAKE IT SLOW. You will not be able to take off your shoes and immediately do your normal run. Your feet will not be strong enough to do this. That is normal. At the end of your run, slip off the shoes for the last 1/4 mile. See how your feet feel the next day. Progressively add more bare-foot distance as you feel capable. Visit some forums, read some books, find a coach, the more you learn the better.
When I started running,I ran on my toes and loved it.I got static for this from other runners,but I kept doing it until I got heel bruise,planter fasciitis, in my right heel.This convinced me the nay-sayers were right,and I forced myself to land on my heel,and roll forward onto my forefoot.
I cannot say that I'm surprised, just a little peeved! I purchased some very high-end basketball shoes for my teenage doughter this season, and the result is shin splints. Yep, too comfortable, changed the way she ran. It's not the shoe, but how you run in it. Don't waste your money on that propaganda anymore. If the teenage athletes in your life want the $150 shoe, show them this article. The cool shoes last only a year or so, and you will be needing those muscles they could injure for a very long time.
Interesting. I bet there is no way that this info is going to be adapted by the mainstream though because sneakers are a multi billion dollar business. Sara -
Shoes shoes smoooes. Most hi topped shoes are boots!!! If you want to protect your feet while running walking etc. buy a good boot. They are almost as light but protect your foot many times more. Look at the military men and women around the world. Are our soldiers wearing Nike's in Afganistan? No but they run more than most people ever dream of doing. Even though I have seen soldiers in gym shoes. Stupid commanders!!! In a day 3-5 miles per paratrooper, the normal soldier a little less and the "Special Forces types" (All the way from Green Beret to Navy Seals to Rangers to Forest Recon etc.) much more, upwards to 10 to 20miles per day with a 50 lb ruck, webgear,weapon and helmet. If you want to find test subjects for shoeless running go to Somoa or Guam etc. They have very short WIDE feet for running in sand.Quadrupple E is common!! Evolution has done that!!(Some of these guys have NEVER worn shoes or boots before leaving home!!!) If you are wanting to run shoeless it will take at least a month or two to toughen the SKIN on your feet up. Running on roads and hard surfaces with Gym shoes has plagued runners since before the 1970's. I know I was there! Remember Boots Protect. Gym shoes injure!!!
Ps the Army I was in taught walk heel toe run on your balls of your feet in boots.
We new this didn't we? The health of our feet have been questioned particularly since we have worn mass designer shoes that do not support our feet well and we also pushed our limits within the sporting arena. Bare feet runners are more likely to have the heels a shoe, yet their feet are light and not weighed down by the weight of shoes. I am not sure that they would not sustained ankle and leg injuries, but this is a separate issue. They can increase support with other material other than shoes. Interesting article.
A passion for shoes can easily ruin your Saturday if you are hunting for a certain pair which you just cannot find in the right size in the shoe shops nearby. And no doubt, the habit can get somewhat expensive. Thank goodness the Internet has become a global shopping mall that is open 24/7 so I can not only save time and my best friend’s nerves, but also get occasional good bargains.
Did the person who wrote this article even read the research? The headline for this article is just wrong. Lieberman's study didn't prove that sneakers are harmful!
This article jumps to conclusions and misrepresents the science. This kind of work in a "science" publication is just shoddy.
Do your homework. And stop giving barefoot runners a bad rap.
Last summer I tried walking, not running, barefoot on the beach for enough distance to get a little exercise- about 2 1/2 miles. After the first day, my feet looked like I had received the worlds best pedicure. They were smoother and softer than I had ever seen them. After the second day, I had huge, painful blisters on the balls of my feet. I tried again the next month, with the same result. I can't imagine what would have happened on pavement.