New research has found that running barefoot is safe. Scientists have studied how the foot hits the ground while running barefoot or with minimal footwear and have determined that the foot does not heel-strike when it lands.  Running shoes are designed for heel-striking. When your running barefoot you’re more likely to land on the balls or the middle part of your foot which reduces the potentially harmful impact that a heel-striker would experience.

Daniel E Lieberman, a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University authored a paper that appeared in the journal of Nature.  The paper says, “By landing on the middle or front of the foot, barefoot runners have almost no impact collision, much less than most shoe-ed runners generate when they heel-strike. Most people today think barefoot running is dangerous and hurts, but actually you can run barefoot on the world’s hardest surfaces without the slightest discomfort and pain. All you need is a few calluses to avoid roughing up the skin of the foot. Further, it might be less injurious than the way some people run in shoes.”

If you decide to try barefoot running make sure you start off easy. Like most Americans, if you have been running with running shoes your body is used to heel striking. Running barefoot involves different muscles. Let your body slowly adjust to your new style of running. Check out Professor Lieberman’s web site Running Barefoot or in Minimal Footwear . It has a lot of helpful information on the subject.

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Best – Mike Cola

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