Running barefoot over long distances just doesn’t sound like the way to go, however I’ve tried running a few kilometers barefoot on the tar and I actually enjoyed it. There are a growing number of runners who swear by it.
There are a few runners who have achieved major success shoeless.
Olympic champions and world record holders Abede Bikila, Tegla Loroupe and of course South Africa’s Zola Budd.
So why is it gaining popularity?
The human mechanics of running are changed quite significantly when shoes are used.
With natural, shoeless running, the balls of the feet are the part which strikes the ground with the most force.
Running in padded shoes the heel and the area towards the back of the foot strike first.
Runners that promote this way of running, argue that it is healthier for feet and reduces risk of chronic injuries, notably repetitive stress injuries due to the impact of heel striking in padded running shoes.
These guys/girls even prefer to run on hard surfaces to softer terrain such as grass or the beach.
If you are going to try this out I suggest you start out slowly and build your mileage gradually.Start on grass to get your feet used to it. If you do run on the road be very careful of glass or other nasty surprises.
There are of course barefoot running shoes, they have very thin outer soles and these are really just to protect your feet from junk on the road and offer no cushioning or support.
Give it a go, you may find it’s just the thing for you, and think of all the cash you will save on running shoes.
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