We live in an age where we are encouraged to live a healthy life. Exercise is a big part of healthy living. A form of exercise that many people choose is running. People jog both indoors and outdoors, while other runners use a treadmill. When doing this form of exercise, one of the most important things we have been told is that one needs to have a good pair of running shoes. Running shoes are a big market in the shoe industry.
Recent research however may change that thinking. In a study done at Harvard University it was found that barefoot running may be better for you than running in a good pair of running shoes. Apparently people who run barefoot are able to avoid impact injuries better than runners wearing shoes. When running, barefoot runners land with a springy step on the ball of their foot instead of the heel. By doing this they decrease the impact collision that other runners have by two to three times their body weight. Runners wearing shoes usually land on their heel causing a collision force every time their foot hits the ground.
People have been running for millions of years. The modern running shoe did not make an appearance until the 1970s. Before then, people ran barefoot, or wore thin sandals, moccasins, or flat running shoes.
There are some dangers to running barefoot. There is always the risk of stepping on something that could puncture your foot such as glass, sharp stones, or nails. There is also the possibility of stepping into something nasty like animal waste.
But there are many benefits to running barefoot. Because of an increased awareness of foot position, there is a reduced possibility of ankle injuries. People have greater agility and improved balance. Barefoot runners have increased blood circulation to the toes which helps prevent varicose veins. Since the feet are not constrained by shoes there are fewer incidences of deformed toes.
Shoe companies are being influenced by the research for barefoot running and are adapting their running shoe varieties accordingly. The New Balance MR800, Nike Free, and Vibram FiveFingers are just a few styles that embrace the barefoot running concept. Barefoot running may be the trend of the future. It is very possible, over the next few years, the running shoes we see people wearing will be very different from those we see now.