With all the debate out there on whether barefoot running is actually beneficial, we decided to dig into the hard science. Research evidence shows that running shoeless does come with a number of benefits, from injury recovery to boosts in emotion.
The problem with running barefoot, especially to those who have never done it before, is that running without shoes can be hazardous to your feet due to unknown and potentially dangerous substances on the ground, such as broken glass and pointed rocks.
To prevent these issues while still enjoying the benefits of shoeless running, barefoot shoes were created. These shoes were meant to simulate the feeling of being or running barefoot without the high possibility of getting hurt.
Additionally, utilizing these shoes can aid in the transition from running with heavy athletic shoes to running without any shoes at all.
The most improvements found when using barefoot running shoes were in the feet themselves, though there were more improvements elsewhere, including the lungs, mind, blood, and nervous systems.
The main cause of these improvements were actually what barefoot running shoes lack, which are built-up or cushioned heels, flexible soles, and arch support. This allows your feet to perform naturally as they run, which prevents injuries regular running shoes can cause and can provide perks that other shoes simply do not.
1. Barefoot Running Promotes Recovery
Regular shoes may cause you to land on your heel, which is unnatural, may impair balance, and makes you at risk of getting ankle strains, among other leg and foot injuries. In fact, according to Harvard scientist, Dr. Daniel Lieberman, running in cushioned shoes is like “someone is hitting your heel with a hammer”.
On the other hand, barefoot running or running with barefoot shoes have been recommended by coaches and physical therapists to treat these injuries and rehabilitating professional athletes.
This is due to the fact that barefoot running shoes allow runners to land on their forefoot or midfoot, which can avoid further stress to injuries such as fractures and plantar fasciitis. This encourages runners to press on in their recovery while avoiding further harm to affected areas.
Bottom Line: Unlike regular running shoes, barefoot shoes gives runners the opportunity to land on their forefoot or midfoot. This produces less injuries and offers athletes the chance to recover from other intense pains without causing any more damage.