Blog By: Aishwarya Ghumekar
If you enjoy running, chances are good you’ve seen a fellow runner at a race or out on the road recently with a pair of sock-style minimalist running shoes — or running without any shoes at all. This trend, which was popularized by journalist Chistopher McDougall in his best-selling book Born to Run, is inspiring more and more runners to return to the roots of the sport and go barefoot.
Pros of barefoot running:
- It can strengthen feet and reduce injuries. The benefits from this style are low impact on the heel, thus translating to less loading pressure on the weight-bearing limbs. Shorter strides minimize heel striking, and higher cadence allows for speed during the shorter stride. You also have better energy-efficiency, as the body is under less shock from impact, as well as the use of core strength for better body mechanics.
- It makes your feet feel great on the right surfaces.Running barefoot on grass feels great and gives runners a fast, natural way to run on their forefoot
- A variety of good shoes are available. The wide variety of barefoot running shoes now available means that you can get the experience in a way that better protects your feet from the elements — and in a style that works well for you.
- It’s a nice change of pace while training. When used as a small supplement to training, short periods of barefoot running are a great way for most runners to strengthen their feet and improve their stride.
Cons of barefoot running:
- You risk injury if you transition too quickly. Adjusting to barefoot or minimal running must be done very slowly.Injury is likely from the change in footwear and running style.
- The shoes can cause blisters. The new barefoot running shoes may look cool, but some minimal shoes can cause problems with blisters as runners break them in, Mayer says.
- The shoes are pricey. These specialty shoes will cost you more than the average running shoe. A pair of Vibrams costs about $90 and other brands are around the same price point.
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