Barefoot Running Essay

Submitted By btorchio
Words: 1613
Pages: 7

Brent Torchio Kinesiology 141
Section 004
Naked Feet

Across the globe, men and women set out to run everyday. Since the beginning of mankind, humans have engaged in endurance running. Millions of years ago, runners were either barefoot or wore minimal footwear, such as moccasins and other minimal cushioned “shoes” compared to modern footwear. Research shows that 40,000 years ago evidence of shoes existed (King, 2012). It was not until the 1970’s when the modern running shoe was invented (Lieberman, 2010). These shoes offered much heel and ankle support to enable runners to have much more endurance and comfort. Since that time, shoe technology has evolved into more than just a running aid, but a fashion fad as well. Researchers have been alarmed of this and are conducting research to obtain greater knowledge as to if these shoes actually aid a runner or present health risks. Humans were created barefoot and have been barefoot for decades. Some cultures and doctors have explained that this is the most natural way for a human to be and that the body is in its’ most natural alignment barefoot (Upshire & McGee, 2010). So the question prevails, should we lace up a pair of running shoes every time we venture out for a run, or should we hit the trail barefoot? “Due to a recent upbringing in research which benefits barefoot running, running enthusiasts around the world have decided to kick off their shoes and run barefoot which may be the most beneficial way to run.” Technology and advancements in running footwear are being researched everyday. Scientists and researchers design new shoes almost daily offering different support and comfort to different areas of the foot. With all these new advancements one must take into consideration, how effective and beneficial are these shoes? The average pair of durable running shoes can cost anywhere from eighty to one hundred and fifty dollars (taking into consideration brand and comfort). Scientists have had an ongoing study trying to prove if these shoes are actually worth it or if running barefoot is the answer to chronic foot and ankle problems. Over the past few years, barefoot running has become more than a naturalistic hobby but a life style itself. A much larger community of runners who wear minimalist running shoes has recently joined the small number of actual barefoot runners. Arguments in the running community arise such as the fact that we were born barefoot and our bodies have evolved to be barefoot and shoeless. The body in its’ most natural state (barefoot) has the power to align and fix problems by itself (Robinson, 2010). Covering up our metatarsals, one of our most sensitive parts of the human body distorts and alters our normal stride and can prevent proper development of foot muscles (Stromberg, 2012). The body has the power to naturally align itself when out of place. Shoes restrict this and cause misalignment. The natural and barefoot stride leads us to proper form when we walk and run. When running barefoot, we land on the mid or forefoot compared to running shoes which lead us to land on a heavily cushioned heel (Lieberman, 2010). The elevated heel of running shoes actually makes the foot strike in the exact opposite way it should (Robinson, 2010). Landing on the heel of our foot compared to the mid or forefoot exerts almost three times our body weight on an area of the foot not withheld to have that amount of pressure exerted on it. Our bodies can adapt to the pressure of natural barefoot running. We naturally adjust to pain and find ways to reduce pain by altering body movement. When considering barefoot running, one must take it slow to let the body alter and adapt to the new feeling. Daniel Lieberman of Harvard University has been researching this topic for many years. He stated in a recent study, “Ankles of these barefoot U.S. runners are more flexible than those of the heel-striking shoe wearers. That flexibility may be protective against stress…