Home guest articles Why You Should Try Barefoot Running

Why You Should Try Barefoot Running

written by Guest Blogger April 23, 2013

Summer is my favourite season, not only for the warm weather but because I can go barefoot! Next time you want to shed your shoes and start running carefree, you might just do it after reading today’s guest post by Alexis Bonari.

Barefoot running has become very popular in the last year or so — coinciding with the popularity of the Paleo Diet and the publication of the book “Born to Run.” Few people actually run with no shoes on their feet. Most run with so-called minimalist shoes that mimic the feeling of running barefoot, such as the Vibram five fingers.

Barefoot running has its skeptics — even the shoes look funny — but there are actually many benefits to running barefoot. Here are just a few reasons why you should try barefoot running:

It Improves Your Gait and Posture

Barefoot running forces you to change the way you run. Instead of landing on the heel of your foot and then transitioning to the ball, it encourages you to land on the ball of your foot. The result is an improved, springy gait.

Barefoot running also corrects “overstriding,” which is when the feet land far in front of the body. Instead, this style of running encourages you to take shorter strides so that your feet land under your body.

It Reduces the Risk of Injury

The improved gait produced by barefoot running reduces the risk of injury. By shortening your stride and shifting the force of your landing to the ball of your feet, you can reduce the risk of repetitive stress injuries, fractures and muscle strains.

Barefoot running allows the foot and ankle to play a bigger role in shock absorption, which reduces your overall risk of injury, even when you run longer distances.

It Strengthens More Muscles

When you run barefoot (or using “barefoot shoes”), you use more muscles. Barefoot running engages more of the muscles in your feet, your ankles and your lower legs, helping you to strengthen your foundation when you run.

By strengthening more muscles (many of which were likely to be underused previously), you can help to reduce your risk of injury even more and to have a more effective workout.

It Improves Your Performance

When you are stronger and have a better gait and posture, you can run faster and you can run longer — and still have a lower risk of injury. Many who switch to barefoot running find that they can run great distances without feeling fatigued. Many find that they are able to beat personal records or to overcome fitness plateaus when they switch to barefoot running.

Though the minimalist shoes might look strange, there are a number of benefits to barefoot running. If you want to improve your health and your fitness, you should consider giving barefoot running a try. Just be careful not to overdo it at first, as your feet and ankles may be unused to the workout they are getting.

About the Author

Alexis Bonari writes for one of the largest open databases of college funding opportunities. Specific topics like scholarships for women are described in detail to provide multiple resources for students.

I can attest to the barefoot technology shoes, which I have 2 pair: Skechers’ GOrun runners and a prettier black pair of Merrell’s with straps which I wear to work as a server at a restaurant. Have you tried any barefoot technology shoes?  

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Steven April 23, 2013 at 1:10 am

I agree that running barefoot reduces the risks of injuring your ankle. Running with shoes on uneven surface has gotten me to twist the ankle and injured it badly twice. One word of caution though, you need to watch where you’re running or you might step on something sharp like stones or something..

Jijin Mohan April 24, 2013 at 1:50 am

Hmm.., interesting. I didn’t know bare foot running has these many effects in our health and body. Thanks for the article.

Aimee April 25, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I don’t know. I have a fear of stepping on something sharp like a piece of glass or a nail. I don’t believe running barefoot is for me.

Lance Todd April 27, 2013 at 11:48 am

Great article on barefoot running. There is however a more powerful benefit that comes from running totally barefoot or with shoes that that have a proprioceptive insole. You touched on the fact that there is an increase in muscle activity but people would be shocked if they understood just how many muscles are initiated and how efficient they are when the foots natural proprioceptors or nerve endings are engaged. I have a company that has a patented insole that brings walking in the sand level of proprioceptive stimulation into the shoe.What I have realized is that this level of stimulation is identical to the completely barefoot level of stimulation or activation when the prorioceptors are exposed to the elements. I work with some of North America’s top barefoot/minimalistic coaches as well as many of the Olympic track team with research grade SEMG and motion technology. If you run a pencil along your hand or foot and then you repeat the test with a piece of paper or your Vibram five fingers on you will see that there is at least o sixty percent drop in sensation or proprioceptive feed back. These shoes are great because they allow the foot free of restriction or with full range of motion. The big news is that there is an instant 22% increase in muscle activation and efficiency for the two lower leg muscles the peroneus longus and the Anterior tibialis, the knee muscles or VMO’s ,the big guns, the hamstrings and the glutes and the paraspinals. http://www.barefoot-science.com/proof/study/progfootstr
This natural firing and muscle activation delivers an instant increase in balance and stability of 50%. http://www.barefoot-science.com/proof/study/proprioception
The other incredible benefit that come with the propriocetion package is something called “stretch reflex”. When the muscle or tendon is in a troubled, stretched position and is about rip stretch reflex shortens them in a hundredth of a second and avoids the injury. There is not a single person that would not benefit from using the gift of proprioception that come as standard equipment.

Professor/Dr Brian A Rothbart February 19, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Excellent blog on the benefits of running barefooted.

Professor/Dr Brian A Rothbart


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