EUGENE, Ore. – Is it better to hit the trail with running shoes or barefoot-style shoes? A study published in The Journal of Applied Physiology “found no difference in running economy between footstrike patterns.”
Some barefoot runners or those who wear minimalist-type shoes have long believed this type of running is better and safer for the body.
Dr. Dusty McCourt is a podiatrist at Eugene Foot and Ankle Health center.
“Barefoot running gets back to the roots of what we actually evolved to do – which is to use all those joints, muscles tendons and we don’t really use them,” said McCourt.
McCourt says he encourages people to run barefoot, but he said it’s not for everyone.
“It really gets back to the fundamentals of using what the body was designed for,” he said.
With barefoot or minimalist shoes, the foot hits the ground with the forefront of the foot. With shoes, the foot strikes the ground with the heel.
Eugene Running Company owner Bob Coll says there are some good takeaways with minimalist-style shoes, but most people can’t put on a pair and run a long distance.
“Some of the main characteristic in a minimal shoe are the low heel - a conventional running shoe has about a 12 millimeter lift in the heel,” said Coll. “We would never recommend that, but I think that there's a lot of principles of the barefoot movement that have migrated into traditional shoes."
Here’s a link to the study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23681915