Shoe companies and health care providers have traditionally put forth that various levels of biomechanical shortcomings are the root cause of our locomotive problems. We are inherently flawed, and only cleverly-designed footwear is the solution.
You'll remember from the previous post that "correct running form asks only that runners eliminate the variables, and reinforce the invariables." In running, while foot-to-ground contact is a given, does nature favor one manner of landing and loading over another? Let's find out.
In as many weeks, this five-part blog post series on "Running Form: Simplified" will carefully sift through the particulars of running so that -- like our most ancient forebears or our youngest children -- ultimately, we can just run.
I myself have benefitted from high levels of conditioning overriding fledgling skills, but I know with certainty that unless correct running form is learned, eventually the undue strains of sloppiness will overrun even the greatest muscular conditioning.
Running magazines would lead you to believe that barefoot running reduces injury risk and potentially maximizes performance. However, it appears that, as this is a new trend, there is simply insufficient prospective data to say otherwise. But there may be a few trade-offs.
If you use these six barefoot running tips to make a smart transition, you may find that it actually reduces how tired your knees and hips are after a run and increases your enjoyment and feel for the ground during a run.
We've still got those same feet, but we don't use them anymore. Instead, we cover them up. We wear shoes that alter the structure and function of our feet, and that weaken the myriad tendons, muscles, and ligaments through disuse.
So who should be using barefoot running shoes? The answer is very few people should. Only those people with stable (not flexible) first metatarsals will do well with these shoes, as well as those with very powerful lower leg musculature.
Barefoot running is in vogue. But, there's no scientific evidence that running shoes prevent (or cause) injuries, just as there's no proof that barefoot running does. Going back to the basics can be complicated.