Barefoot running argument

November 14, 2011 — 5 Comments

The problem I see with what feels like most academics and scientists is they are such slaves to our science and technology that it blinds them to common sense. For example, with no definitive studies “proving” barefooting is better for everyone, a scientist will default to the assumption that the tech we have developed with our shoes/cushioning/orthotics is invariably better than what common sense tells some of us: our body has evolved allowing us to safely run barefoot! Also this reminds me of the nutrition mess which we are in-reductionism.
My thoughts are easy enough: given the time to work to skillful (barefoot) running technique, the impact of running, inherent to both heel striking and mid/forefoot striking, will be better handled/dispersed through the body when compared to a heel strike-which no matter the skill acquired in heel striking, will always transmit the force up the chain often resulting in more stress on knee/hip etc (vs force distributed with lower leg parts when barefooting) The softer the shoe the harder the foot strike as the body searches for input about where it is on earth. Skilled (important to say skilled) bare footing should see less impactful landings, and as such less stress on the body. However, this takes time to (re)learn how to run-and lots of people use the excuse/argument that traditional running is as safe because BEGINNERS have poor barefoot technique and as a result have impact forces, an the resultant injuries, which are as bad as regular running. It’s a skill, like Olympic lifting, you have to get good at it before doing lots of volume or intensity.

And this came out today

But really my feelings are best shown in a picture.


5 responses to Barefoot running argument


    “Damn it feels good to be a gangsta..”


    Are there shoe scientists? Somewhat of a broad statement Mr. Harski…


    Michael Pollan made this same point about eating in the introduction to his book In Defense of Food. Science is definitely helpful, but it does not and will not have all the answers we need to make decisions about how to live healthily. We need to rely on our own common sense, biological intuition, and cultural tradition/knowledge just as much as science. When it comes to physical training, scientists will be working feverishly for many years to come to explain what good fitness coaches have been teaching and doing for decades. I’m going to keep doing the good work with the best knowledge currently available, and I’ll be waiting for the science to catch up when it’s ready.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. running and aerobic stuff, and other stuff too « BA living. - December 4, 2012

    […] Running is an essential human movement, and so If you are going to run, you should learn how to run well. Take a pose or chi running course. Then take the time to build up distance slowly and safely. It’s not a race for you to go and race in some non important half marathon, there are 83 half marathons each month in every city in America. Once you have taken the time to improve your running efficiency, you will be able to run without the insult/assault on your body that most “runners” impose on themselves. Also, you will have intelligently and gradually built up your capacity while constantly improving your technique. And yes, I think “barefoot” style running is best.   […]

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