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The Issue of Barefoot Running

This topic continues to rear up and is not without its controversy on podiatry and running forums (see: Barefoot Running Debate on Podiatry Arena). Many claims for the science get debated with the barefoot running community taking research to show that barefoot running is supported by the science when an analysis of the research shows that it does not actually support it (see: Running Barefoot is Bad). None of this actually means that there is anything wrong with barefoot running or that it is bad, it merely means that the research claimed by the barefoot runners as supporting it and widely reported in the media are misreported (see: Barefoot Running and its Interpretation by the Media). Some in the barefoot running community are very fanatical about what they are doing and have fervent beliefs that everyone should be doing and try to impose their views on others (See: The Zealotry of Barefoot Running).

No elite runners run barefoot and you would think that they would do everything that they could to get an edge. Barefoot runners make claims that they get less injuries from running barefoot, but a quick look around barefoot websites shows lots of people seeking advice for injuries, especially ‘top of foot pain’ from barefoot running. There also appears to be some sort of epidemic of stress fractures in the Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoe.

Barefoot running drills would probably benefit most runners as it does help use the foot and lower limb in ways that are different to the running shoe gait. This temporary variation in gait should have positive effects. However, what most health professionals object to is just the misue of the research and sceince by some in the barefoot running community (see: Barefoot Running).

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