Barefoot running, or using minimalist shoes, is proving to be of great interest according to one survey recently published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
Running is becoming an ever-more popular pastime. The sport has witnessed serious growth in the last few years, and events such as the recent Olympics, the Samsung Diamond League and other high-profile athletics events continue to push running forward as they get increased worldwide TV coverage.
In line with the popularity of the sport in general, there has been an explosion of interest in ‘primitive running’ – running barefoot or in minimalist shoes – versus taking to the streets in padded trainers and shoes that have various levels of heel support.
The idea of these barefoot running techniques, such as Pose Method Running, is to promote a better foot strike. By landing on the mid-foot instead of the heel and by doing so in line with your hips (rather than striking the floor in front of your body), the assumption is that you are reducing the possibility of injury.
There is currently a lack of real research into whether barefoot or minimalist running actually reduces injury. What we do know is that in countries where people naturally run barefoot, chronic injuries to bones and connective tissues are much less common. We also know that where ‘shod’ and ‘unshod’ populations have been compared, the injury rate is higher in the shod individuals.
It is this fear of injury that has come to the fore in a recent survey. Completed by over 600 runners, the survey showed that 75% of the respondents were interested in trying barefoot or minimalist running. 21% of the people who completed the survey had, in fact, already tried it.
The overriding reason for the interest? To prevent future injury, according to the results of the survey. Most of the respondents thought that they would transition to barefoot or minimalist running if given the right level of instruction.
Of all the respondents, it was the ‘elite level’ runners that were most interested in trying the unshod approach.
We’re big advocates of barefoot and minimalist running here at UsFitties, so we’re pleased to see so many people are interested in the approach. Have you considered it yet? Tell us in the comments below…
[Image Credit: gordontarpley]