The recent trend in barefoot running, or running wearing minimalist shoes, has been a subject of debate among running enthusiasts over the past few years. Advocates of barefoot running point to a 2010 study that said wearing shoes can actually lead to more injuries than running au naturel or wearing five-toed “barefoot shoes.” Some physicians warn that barefoot running can actually make runners more vulnerable to injury if they try to do too much too soon.
A new study says that running shoes make running more efficient than running barefoot. Other studies have focused on the safety aspects of running with or without shoes. This study went in a different direction, measuring the metabolic efficiency of runners wearing lightweight shoes vs. those going barefoot. Study author Jason Franz explained that the research team tried to control for every possible variable. All the runners had expereience running barefoot and when they were shod, they all wore the same type of shoe.
Are you a runner? What do you wear — or not wear — on your feet when you run? What factors do you consider when choosing athletic footwear?
- Jason Franz: Doctoral candidate in the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado and author of the new study The Metabolic Cost of Barefoot vs. Shod Running
- Leif Rustvold: Long-distance barefoot runner
- Ryan Petering: Physician in family medicine and sports medicine at OHSU