Friday, March 30, 2012

Following up on the barefoot hiking/running idea..

Because I am a nerd and an anthropologist, this article stood out to me:

Lose your shoes: is barefoot better?

Some key points I found:

"Barefoot running, even more than bare-knuckle boxing, reveals the ways that very simple technologies, if used consistently enough, become part of the developmental niche of the human body, shaping the way that our bones, muscles, tissues, and nervous system develop.
Strong evidence shows that thickly cushioned running shoes have done nothing to prevent injury in the 30-odd years since Nike founder Bill Bowerman invented them, researchers say. Some smaller, earlier studies suggest that running in shoes may increase the risk of ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis and other injuries. Runners who wear cheap running shoes have fewer injuries than those wearing expensive trainers. Meanwhile, injuries plague 20 to 80 percent of regular runners every year.

A number of groups advocate barefoot running for a host of reasons: health, injury prevention, greater sensation, enjoyment, and overall well-being (e.g., Driscoll 2004; Robbins and Gouw 1990). 

The padding in running shoes changes the way that we run, even though we may be completely unconscious that our gait has compensated for the change in the biomechanical properties of the feet produced by footgear (see Divert et al. 2005; but c.f. De Wit et al. 2000).
Robbins and Gouw (1991) argue that, with padded shoes, ‘a perceptual illusion is created whereby perceived impact is lower than actual impact, which results in inadequate impact-moderating behavior and consequent injury.’"

So, while in general, I don't care what other people do and I never preach that my ways should be your ways, I do think it is important to, in general, share information so that everyone can make an informed decision.
So this is me sharing information!!


  1. Hmmm, very interesting article! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hmm, I'm not sure.. I mean, I can barely walk across the gravel on my front yard barefoot :p