Is Barefoot Jogging The Greatest Way?

In: Health and Fitness

7 Mar 2011

Humans have been running for hundreds of thousands of years. Shoes, on the other hand, are a fairly recent invention. It wasn’t until recently that high tech running shoes were available to the general public at an affordable price. If you are wondering about the difference between running barefoot and running with high tech shoes, then this article is for you.

It has been commonly accepted knowledge that running with shoes is much safer, as the highly designed cushioning protects the body from the strong impact. For years this has been the general consensus. But when Abebe Bikila won the 1960 Olympic marathon without any shoes, that shattered these long held notions. Could it be that running barefoot was just as good, or even better than with shoes?

Scientists who study these kinds of things will tell you that the bio mechanics of running without shoes is completely different than running with shoes. Generally speaking, when people run with shoes, they land on their heels, roll quickly over to the balls of their feet, and then propel themselves forward again from the balls of their feet.

Studies of people who run barefoot, on the other hand, show a completely different running method. They generally land on the balls of their feet, rather than the heel, which actually produces much less shock to the body. The shock is absorbed in the quick action of the heel coming down to land after the impact on the ball of the foot. The impact is absorbed by the calf muscle.

The two main drawbacks to running barefoot are both related to time. Since changing the way you run takes considerable time and concentrated effort, it can be a while before your running as far and as fast as you are with your running shoes. It also takes time to develop the necessary calluses in order to protect you from sharp pointy things you may come across on the ground.

People that have been running barefoot claim it is much better, and safer than running with shoes. They say that if you run barefoot, there’s a much lower chance of sustaining injuries. The question then, is which is better for you? Shoes or no shoes?

If you are committed to running barefoot for the long term, and don’t mind ‘starting over’ again by changing up your running style for the long run, then you’d most likely benefit from making the change. If, on the other hand, you run occasionally, and can’t be bothered to build up your calluses or change your running style, then sticking to shoes is probably the best option.

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