Barefoot running is an interesting running option that has circulated among the running community for at least 30 years. Some authors, running enthusiasts, coaches, and trainers are endorsing this training method. It has served as the genesis of the minimalist craze, but is it really for every runner?
Barefoot running is believed to improve foot muscle strength. A core tenet would seem to be that we were made to run without shoes. There is a segment of anatomically gifted athletes with model biomechanical structure to their feet. However, hen the foot is improperly functioning, the intromsoc foot muscles which move the toes, as well as the lower leg muscles which move the foot, have to work a lot harder to keep the foot, knee, leg and hip upright and working correctly. Doing an activity that puts about 3 times body weight on each foot 1500 times per mile, may be a bit tougher for a foot if it isn’t working optimally .
Like many things in life, moderation is key. There is likely a place in training for barefoot running for the intermediate to advanced runner
Barefoot running or even running in a minimal shoe may not be ideal for a person with previous running injuries, a poorly aligned foot, balance problems, weakness in the leg, hip or core.And definately not for the running beginner.
Each runner should do regular flexibility and strength exercises, as well as keeping the body slightly forward of the plumb line, and to land slightly more forward on the midfoot rather than on the heel. Your goal in running should be fitness not time, not weight loss. One needs to run for the long term, avoiding injuries that can sideline the rinner. Check with a foot specialist well versed in biomechanincs and running to get a personalized assessment.