Running Barefoot – The Debate

Earlier this week Rick posted “Are running shoes causing injury?”, where he spoke about a book he reviewed on his own website and about whether shoes should be worn running. I’m very interested in this book; I think it’s another one that Rick has convinced me to purchase 🙂

There is a huge debate over whether as humans; running shoes are causing more harm than good. In general, it’s not just running shoes, it’s any shoes. Many women have problems with their feet, namely due to high heels and pointy shoes where they bear pain and discomfort for the sake of  style and fashion. Bunions would be the most common form of problem caused by ill fitting shoes – although this can also be down to genetic make up, as I have discovered. As I said, it’s any shoes that can cause problems – flip flops (thongs for any Aussie readers :P) have no support for the foot. My podiatrist told me that the best form of shoes are those with laces that are properly tied – thus offering full and proper support to the foot. This being the reason why I shouldn’t really be wearing Uggs boots when I have serious feet problems as I have to wear very supportive shoes to hold my prescriptive orthotics in the correct place.



Personally I find it very difficult to source comfortable “runners”, I don’t find the standard Nike shoes etc comfortable and certainly will not pay through the roof for hi tech shoes that I won’t wear all too often.  I wear a hard prescriptive device in both of my shoes, I need a fairly flat shoe with a slight bit of a lift in the arch to accommodate the devices – these sorts of shoes are hard to come by and both the device and shoe are not suitable for running in. Luckily, I am not a runner. I enjoy running but unfortunately my feet and knees can’t take very much of it. I find I can’t walk around the gym when coaching or around the house barefoot, even just in socks. Due to the pain endured in my foot through the past few years, socks or comfortable shoes offer a physical and psychological protection to my feet. I’m afraid of anyone standing on my foot, especially the area that constantly aches so for me, they create a boundary between my foot and the world.  I know many people who wander around indoors barefoot – it’s not for me. Obviously when performing moves in the gym, I have my shoes off as it doesn’t feel natural. Running in the gym for a short while without shoes is fine but I couldn’t imagine running for longer than I would in gym.

I don’t have too much to say on the topic of whether running shoes are causing more hassle than good  as I find it difficult to tell what’s right and what’s wrong because each persons body is so different and unique (and my feet are such a huge pain in the bum) and no two people run the same way but I am open to all theories, thoughts and studies out there.  As always, I take all medical studies published with a pinch of salt. I found Ricks post very interesting, mainly because feet are an area of the body that I am truly fascinated with. 

I subscribe to The Sport of Science, a website run by Ross Tucker PHD and Jonathan Dugas PHD and this morning a great post popped into my reader about the debate of Running Barefoot VS Shoes. If you were interested in Ricks post, I suggest you have a read. It provides lots of links on the debate. You can also follow The Sport of Science on Twitter.


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