Bare foot running/ training
So as you’re all probably aware after having it shoved in your faces for the last few months “bare foot running” is the new craze. Barefoot running shoes worn by gym fanatics and wannabee gym fanatics certainly seem more of a fashion accessory as apposed to a fitness necessity. I’ve actually been looking into it.
The marketing on these things is huge like most things within the fitness industry and it’s hard to find out if what you’re being fed through advertisements is fact or fiction.
From what I’ve seen it appears that barefoot running genuinely is beneficial. Not that running in shoes or ‘normal shoes’ is wrong, its just barefoot is better. Some runners are even going shoeless and wholeheartedly embracing the barefoot running craze. It’s claimed that running barefoot improves foot biomechanics and reduces injury risk. Not only do you seem to be a little safer with no shoes its been found to increase running efficiency by 4%. I do actually think the above statement is either worded incorrectly or just wrong. I live in the middle of a city. If I set off for my 10k run barefoot I’d return cut to pieces. That’s a fact. I do however think they mean running in shoes such as Vibrams reduces injury risk. Vibrams are a barefoot runners made to make running seem as close to running without a shoes as possible.
All this being said it does seem as though a lot of care needs to be taken before you stick them on and get out on the track. Running with no shoes or nearly no shoes can cause a lot of pain when done incorrectly. Most people adopt the heal toe technique when running and this will need to change when wearing barefoot runners. The best way to run in this type of shoe is almost on your toes. You make impact on the balls of your feet (the forefoot). The forefoot technique will strengthen the muscles in your foot, which means you’re less liable to develop a collapsed arch.
There are disadvantages to wearing no shoes or barefoot runners to train in. As I said before, your usual thick soled running shoe is much more forgiving when running over glass, sharp objects and ice etc. Also it does take time to change your technique from a heel striker to a forefoot striker, which means you could develop Achilles tendonitis.
So the shoes do work and they are good! That’ll be why they cost an arm and a leg? Most barefoot running shoes are ridiculously expensive with the average price being £120. This seems to be the way of the world; we pay more and get less... material I mean. The product clearly works but I the price may be a little high for what you get?
I wouldn’t say Vibrams or any other barefoot running shoe are absolutely essential but they do work. I just can’t help but see them as a fashion accessory rather than a fitness necessity.