What Everyone Ought to Know About Barefoot Running
People tend to be either fiercely in favour of barefoot running and minimalist footwear or fiercely against it. It’s one of those areas of weight loss and fitness where there is a lot of controversy, with people either feeling like it is the best thing to happen to the industry or feeling that it can be damaging to the wellness and wellbeing of those who try it.
Conventional wisdom states that running shoes should be well cushioned to help a runner’s stride. Those who believe in minimalist or barefoot running argue that all of the heel striking and cushioning actually weakens the foot and makes injuries far more likely to occur.
If you want to attempt barefoot running, bear in mind that it does not have to be an ‘all or nothing’ approach. You can choose a pair of shoes that offer some support and some minimalism, to allow your feet to get a chance to get used to new positioning and a new way of running. You can then see if this type of shoe helps your run and whether it improves your stride length, running mechanic or cadence, or provides any additional strength for your knee, ankle, hips and foot.
Be wary of jumping straight into barefoot running – don’t ever jump on the treadmill one day and do a five-miler without any shoes on, as this is a sure-fire way to get hurt. You need to start slowly and seek out advice along the way to ensure that you do not do any damage to your feet – (and scupper your running career once and for all!)
You should always seek out advice before you begin, from a running coach, trainer, physician or from someone else who has switched from traditional to minimalist running. Then, start slowly and build up what you do, to ensure that your strength gradually increases.