Barefoot Runners Are More Efficient

Harvard study echoes popular trend to ditch the running shoes
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2010 9:35 AM CST
Jamaica's Usain Bolt leaves the track barefoot after winning the men's 200-meter final with a world record during the Beijing 2008 Olympics.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – The barefoot running trend now has a powerful academic ally in a Harvard study that sides with au naturel hoofers. Researchers compared people who had always run barefoot, those who had always worn shoes, and those who had given up footwear. The barefoot runners had a lighter stride, and used their calves and foot muscles more efficiently. “You can run barefoot on the world’s hardest surfaces without the slightest discomfort,” a researcher tells Reuters.

“People who don't wear shoes when they run have an astonishingly different strike,” the researcher continues. “By landing on the middle or front of the foot, barefoot runners have almost no impact collision, much less than most shod runners generate when they heel-strike.” Don’t just trash your shoes—“You have to transition slowly”—but it’s the right thing to do. “Humans have engaged in endurance running for millions of years, but the modern running shoe was not invented until the 1970s.”

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