Should You Believe the Hype About Barefoot Running?

Exploring Intensity

Should You Believe the Hype About Barefoot Running?

Barefoot running. For some people, it is a godsend. For others, like the video up above, it is an irritating fad that can’t go away fast enough.

So which is it?

This incredibly extensive and pretty entertaining look at the history of barefoot running breaks down the studies, the timeline, the reasons people believe it in it so much… and the reasons why that belief is probably more faith-based than they’d like to admit. It’s also a nice crash course on what the scientific method really means and what kind of skepticism we should bring every time we read studies about fitness trends.

Now, the barefoot running controversy is not completely solved by this analysis of the science. We’re not sure if barefoot running is better for most people, and we especially don’t know if it’s better for you.

People run with different gaits and styles, and their goals and distances vary widely. People try a wide variety of methods to cut down on injuries. The studies are not conclusive about one magic formula that can work for all. But…

There is agreement that running too much will eventually lead to injury. For some people “too much” can mean as little as 3-4 miles each day. Other bodies can handle more. But – the more distance you cover – the greater the likelihood you will face running injuries.

In conclusion, we suggest listening to your body. Start each run with a slow dynamic warm up – and don’t run through pain. Run as often as you want for distances that feel good for you. And if an injury does occur, rest and heal before you hit the road again.

-Shane M.