Michael Warburton Barefoot Running

January 3, 2012 by staff 

Michael Warburton Barefoot RunningMichael Warburton Barefoot Running, Barefoot running is running while barefoot—without wearing any shoes on the feet. Running in thin-soled, flexible shoes such as moccasins, often called minimalist running, is biomechanically related to running barefoot, but alters sensory feedback from the plantar mechanoreceptors. Running in modern running shoes is quite different from barefoot running.

For most human history barefoot running was universal, but has become relatively rare in industrialised countries, although it remains relatively common in many poorer nations. Virtually all modern athletes use running shoes in international competitions, however, a small minority of runners have achieved success running barefoot, including Olympic champions and world record holders Abebe Bikila, Tegla Loroupe, and Zola Budd.

The human mechanics of running change quite significantly in padded shoes: Barefoot, or lightly shod, a runner tends to land their feet upon the lateral part of the forefoot, rolling in, allowing the heel to drop, then push off with the forefoot and/or lift with the leg. Running in padded shoes typically alters this pattern, making one more prone to land on one’s heel first and roll onto the forefoot.

Proponents of the barefoot movement argue that barefoot running is healthier for feet and reduces risk of chronic injuries, notably repetitive stress injuries due to the impact of heel striking in padded running shoes, in addition to other purported benefits. While these health claims are supported by some research, it remains slight. Barefoot proponents point out that there is a lack of research into the benefits, or lack of harm, of running with shoes on as opposed to running barefoot.

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