Let’s all run barefoot. Not.

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.”

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4 responses to “Let’s all run barefoot. Not.

  1. A fascinating NY Mag article from last year. How we torture our feet with unnatural shoes.

  2. Although I loved the book, McDougal’s explanation on the “natural” running didn’t really convince me. I’m a runner who has always worn orthodics b/c without them, it’s just plain painful. I also worked in a specialty running store for 5 years and everyone thought those NIKE frees were miracle workers. Um, not so much.

    I have yet to see the barefoot Kelly Drive runner…I’ll keep my eyes peeled for sure ;)

    P.S. – love your blog!

  3. Hey LT,

    Just read the article. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for posting.

    Glad you’re enjoying, Highheelgal! Good to have insight from a shoe aficionado.

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