Barefoot running has become the latest running phenomenon and has sparked the creation of numerous products, including the famous Vibram FiveFinger shoes.
Running without shoes or with limited support is seen as “natural” and believers often debate that our ancestors ran (presumably) without injury for many miles and without shoes.
Another argument is that running with typical running shoes, which are often labelled as cushioned and “corrective”, forces you to land on your heel whereas barefoot running encourages you to land on your forefoot. Landing heel first arguably changes your form and increases your chance of injury.
However, the science is inconclusive.
A qualitative study asked 8 people how they felt about barefoot running and this is what they said: “extreme”, “strange”, “crazy” and “natural”. Participants admitted to basing their running shoe decisions off of preference and not scientific studies. And to be honest, I don’t blame them. There’s a crapload of conflicting evidence, unwarranted advice and gimmicks making the choice overwhelming.
Nevertheless, I have both a minimalist and a cushioned pair of running shoes and am conducting my own personal experiment.