Is Running Barefoot Good For You?

I recently came across an interesting study regarding running barefoot. We’ve all seen people with the FiveFinger shoes working out or running on the treadmill. If you’re like me, you’ve probably questioned the legitimacy of the FiveFinger shoes or if barefoot workouts truly make a difference. Here’s what I’ve discovered.

Vibram FiveFingers

Pros Of Running Barefoot

I found this Harvard Review very insightful and interesting. For starters, they mentioned that running barefoot influences your running to be forefoot (meaning you land on the front near your toes and then toward your heels). By not landing heel to toe, you could actually prevent some running injuries.

  • Running barefoot also helps develop the muscles in your feet. They say healthy feet are happy feet. Building muscle in your feet can prevent you from developing a collapsed arch.
  • Barefoot running also uses less energy! When you maximize all your muscles in your natural glide, you can leverage all your calf muscles and the natural spring you have in your stride. They mentioned in the study it could use about 5% less energy, which could mean less Gu needed in those marathons.
  • The study also mentions that it is extremely comfortable to run barefoot, because of the number of sensory nerves in your feet.

The Downside To Running Barefoot

Nothing is ever perfect, is it? There is usually a downside to everything but I’ll show you how to overcome most of those in the end of this article.

  • There are dangers to running barefoot, such as glass, sharp objects, and weird substances found on sidewalks.
  • It takes time to develop a forefoot stride if you have traditionally been a heel to toe type of person. As with anything new, there are always growing pains.
  • Runners that have traditionally been heel strikers might develop Achilles Tendonitis during the transition. SO MONITOR YOUR BODY CAREFULLY!

[RELATED POST: Running Tip: How To Lace Your Running Shoes To Avoid Numbness]

What Next?

  • I’m not a doctor, so always double check with your physician to ensure your body can make the transition to running barefoot.
  • If you strike from heel to toe, DO NOT OVERTRAIN. It will take time to develop a new stride and with that comes the potential for injury. Take your time and listen to your body.
  • Use FiveFinger toe shoes to train. If you are concerned about broken glass, sharp objects, and other weird things, then definitely pick up a pair. You still get tremendous benefit from these shoes.
  • Make sure you do plenty of stretches! Stretch your calves and Achilles before you set out on your journey of running barefoot.

Do you train barefoot or use FiveFingers? What has your experience been like? Share with our community in the comments below!

David Valentine
Been in the fitness world for nearly a decade and a fitness enthusiast for even longer. Unrelinquishing desire for adventure, with a goal to visit every country in the world. Love to chat about life and business philosophy, marketing and of course fitness. Life goal is to improve other people's lives through fitness and lifestyle coaching. Follow my adventures on Instagram.

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