Barefoot running research paper

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Contents:
  1. The Benefits of Barefoot Running
  2. Dr. Lieberman’s 2012 paper: formal wishful thinking about barefoot running
  3. Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners | Nature

We should all support it. A typical runner straps on their Nikes and runs one of three ways. When sprinting for a very short distance, runners tend to land on the front of their foot, near the ball on each step. This allows them to step off again as absolutely quickly as possible.

The Benefits of Barefoot Running

This video demonstrates clearly. When running below sprint, but still fast and short, runners often land on the entire foot at once: the heel and the front landing flat on the pavement or track simultaneously.

This balances striking on the front of the foot to enhance speed with landing further back for endurance, which occurs during distance running. Distance running may require 25, footfalls: roughly the amount that a typical runner might make during a marathon. A running style adapted for distance prioritizes endurance and safety over speed, striking on the heel and rolling forward to launch again off of the ball.

The Kenyan Daasanach people studied in the new research were seen to exhibit exactly these tendencies: when sprinting they landed on the forefoot.


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When running at slower paces for endurance, their technique shifted to full foot and eventually heel strikes. This refutes the previous study, which relied on measurements taken at an average pace of 4 minutes 37 seconds per mile. No one in recorded history has run a marathon this fast; an average marathoner averages 8 to minute miles. Hokum is a good word. I would have to agree.

November 2010

Not everyone is born to run. But most certainly — not everyone is born to run barefoot. Some people need more support on their feet than others. It just means their body naturally overpronates more than usual — and a supportive running shoe will offer a bit of support to correct that overpronation.

The modern running shoe, believe it or not, is a good thing.

Dr. Lieberman’s 2012 paper: formal wishful thinking about barefoot running

It allows those who are not naturally inclined to run the opportunity to run. The modern day running shoe is not the cause of injury. It has nothing to do with gait. It has nothing to do with those over-cushioned, over-supportive running shoes. It has more to do with the fact that most people are carrying too much weight. They start too fast. They run too much. Then their knees get sore, and they push through — until they get hurt.

Is Running Barefoot Better For You? - Earth Lab

If you get hurt from wearing a particular shoe, try a different shoe. There are lots of kinds of running shoes.

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Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners | Nature

Try different brands, different widths, different levels of cushioning and support. There are options. Go to your local running store and find your fit. It may take a few different trips — but I promise a good fit does exist.


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Take your pick, because the end result—at least under these particular conditions—is the same. Weyand is justifiably hesitant to generalize, though. This is a small study of a few volunteers running under very specific conditions at fast speeds. Crucially, the simplicity of the two-mass model means that you no longer need a prohibitively expensive force-measuring treadmill to assess impact forces and loading rates.

Instead, all you need to know is how fast your lower leg is moving when it hits the ground; how long your foot stays on the ground; and how long each step takes. You can get those parameters with a high-speed video camera, or these days you could do it with a small leg-mounted accelerometer. Plug them into the two-mass model equation, and it spits out the force curve. So with some fairly simple wearable tech, you should be able to head to a shoe store, try on five pairs of shoes, and know in real time what impact forces and loading rates you generate with each one.


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For distance runners, the goal would presumably be to minimize impact forces. That applies to the new SMU data too. But the model has the potential to solve two very current problems: taking biomechanics out of the rarefied lab environment and into the real world; and extracting useful insights from the firehose of personalized data generated by emerging wearable tech. Hopefully there will soon be an app for that. For more, join me on Twitter and Facebook , and sign up for the Sweat Science email newsletter.

Health Running.