There has been a lot of publicity in the media in the last few days with a number of press releases related to the benefits of barefoot running as opposed to running in running shoes. A quick look around some barefoot running websites and some running forums show that these studies have been widely discussed and promoted.
The first was this: The Effect of Running Shoes on Lower Extremity Joint Torques and the other was in Nature: Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners. What is somewhat alarming is the support that barefoot runners are giving to these studies, yet the methods of both have been severely criticised on Podiatry Arena in several threads on barefoot running. One anti-barefoot running website has even accused the running barefoot movement of intellectual dishonesty over their response to the studies. The response of barefoot runners to these criticisms is as expected and does not address the issues in the shortcomings of the research and just make claims like podiatrists are biased. The running barefoot community often respond to criticisms this way.
The latest barefoot running bible is Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run: The Rise of Ultra-running and the Super-athlete Tribe. It is well worth a read to better understand the barefoot runner, especially if you treat athletes. Many people have taken up barefoot running after reading it.
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