Barefoot Running

This article is guest blogged by Chris Serbiak of ExplosiveLegs.com

There is a new phenomenon in distance running-barefoot running. These barefoot runners run all their distance runs barefoot or with Five Finger shoes. The Five Finger shoes are as close to barefoot as you can get, they fit your foot like a glove and keep your feet from getting dirty.

So what is the purpose of running barefoot? It’s a much more natural way of running and it eliminates ‘heel strike.’ Many runners, especially when wearing heavy running shoes, strike the ground heel first. In fact, about 75% of all shod runners heel strike. Not only does this slow you up, but it creates a vibration that runs up through your shins. This creates more pressure and strain on your shins and drastically increases the odds that you’ll get shin splints.

It seems like running shoes have been around forever, but the modern running shoe first came out in the 1970s. These shoes were thought to have helped distance running, however they may have done more harm than good.

For centuries, humans have been running effectively with either lighter shoes, sandals, or with no shoes. People often wonder why Kenyan distance runners are so fast- part of the reason comes down to shoes. Kenya is a poor country and many Kenyans grow up without running shoes or shoes in general. This allows them to develop a forefoot or midfoot strike when running.

Running shoe companies are always coming out with new technology and innovations; however runners still get shin splints. Barefoot runners can still get shin splints, but they are far less likely to do so.

There are many reasons to switch to barefoot running. You will run faster, you will save money on running shoes, and you will get more enjoyment out of your runs. All of these reasons make barefoot running worth a try.

About the Author

Chris Serbiak is a former Colligate 400m sprinter and gives training advice on his website.

  • I’m a little disappointed in the quality of this article. No citations, no sources, just a post by another guy with a website. For something so controversial, I’d need to see some scientific evidence to convince me to shed my shoes.

  • Peter, thank you for reading the article. Unfortunately I think you may have misinterpreted the purpose of the article. The purpose of the article was to simply inform readers about barefoot running, its popularity, and its usage.

    I could have written a huge research paper detailing the science behind it. But the casual runner reading a blog probably wouldn’t have wanted to read it. I assumed that the runners who read the article and became interested would go off and research the subject on their own.

    Thanks for your input,
    Chris Serbiak