While barefoot running has faded somewhat from the mass media attention it was receiving a few years ago there are still some very valid reasons why you should be running barefoot.
By barefoot running we mean running without shoes or in minimal footwear. By minimal footwear we mean shoes with the following attributes. Low heel to toe differential or heel drop, wide toe box and less cushioning and flexible materials. There are many different minimal footwear options available today.
Transitioning to barefoot running takes time. If you try to rush the process, you may suffer injuries in the calves or achilles. Be sure not to rush the process, it may take months or even years. Once your transition is complete your running will benefit.
The four top reasons you should be barefoot running are;
- Reduced injuries
Once you have transitioned to barefoot running you will likely run lighter, with a forefoot landing over a bent knee. This will ensure that you suffer less lower limb related injuries related to running. While barefoot running is not a panacea to injury free running it will go a long way to helping you run consistently more without injuries. Cushioned shoes won’t stop you getting injured, most likely they are the cause.
Running in an inflexible, cushioned shoe will inhibit the natural movement of your foot. The shoe does the work which the foot is designed to do, this will weaken your feet over time. Running barefoot or in flatter, more flexible footwear will build strength in your feet and lower limbs. With strong feet comes a strong platform to run successfully and run injury free.
3 Better awareness
” The more minimal you are the more aware you are” Chris McDougall
With more awareness comes better ground feel. While running you will become more aware of your posture, foot landing, surroundings and effort. More awareness of your foot landing means you will be aware of every step and how and what you land on. This is a key reason why accomplished barefoot runners can run injury free as their awareness for where their foot lands is greater. Simply put running barefoot allows for more sensory feedback which increases awareness.
4. Get faster
Forefoot running is faster than heel striking, pretty simple. Landing on your heel with a straight leg gives a braking effect, landing on your forefoot with a bent leg is faster and a more efficient way to run. If you want to get faster barefoot running can help you achieve this.
Transitioning to barefoot running is important, be patient and don’t rush the process however slow it may be. Once you successfully transition you will be free of heavy, inflexible running shoes and your running will become transformed.
If you wear traditional cushioned running shoes and have suffered injuries, it’s time to rethink your running footwear. Taking them off or replacing them with minimal shoes could be the answer.