So there’s this guy. You may have seen him. He runs barefoot on Kelly Drive. Which is fine. Whatever floats his boat. I like to walk barefoot. In a yard, maybe. With grass. I never wear shoes in the country. But given the amount of glass on Philly streets, I doubt I’ll be taking up barefoot running anytime soon. Ugh. Imagine running up and down the street of Chinatown. Yuck!
McDougall now thinks that modern running shoes may actually be the problem.
Their raised heels encourage people to run with a higher-impact, heel-first strike, and their cushioned soles make such a strike less painful – but not less damaging.
And, by preventing the foot’s arch from bearing weight, support features in the shoe may weaken it over time and increase the likelihood of injury.
In contrast, feet that are in direct contact with the ground get constant sensory feedback. They adjust to reduce impact. Except for falls, running injuries are almost unheard of among the Tarahumara.
“In bare feet, you can’t over-pronate, overtrain, or overstride,” McDougall said. “The bare foot is the best coach of all.”