Barefoot Running: Should You Try It?
Our feet have been protected for centuries by sneakers , shoes and all kinds of supports that prevent us from injuries, abrasions and infections. However, the freedom of running without shoes is in fashion and more and more people are leaving their sneakers at home and returning to the basics, to the times of our ancestors.
To start running barefoot and keep your feet safe from blisters, cuts and various wounds, it is best to wear minimalist shoes . These will adapt what you feel when stepping with the movement you have to do and then, little by little, without any support but over short distances. You should use them for at least a year so that your lower extremities get used to the new sensations .
And why run barefoot? Because the people who practice it tend to avoid that the first foot landing is with the heel . In this way, the lower limb experiences the natural movement for which it was designed and avoids any type of artificial cushioning that modifies the footprint and causes injury.
If you want to know what benefits running barefoot could bring you, here are a few.
Lower risk of injury
When running, you will take shorter strides due to the natural modification of the footprint. In this way, the risk of injury will be reduced. And why does this happen? Because the impact falls on the midfoot and not on the heel, as it would with sports shoes.
Center of gravity decreases
This means that in the long run you will reduce the impact load on the body and therefore have less chance of injuring yourself or overstressing muscles and joints.
Activation of unknown neural connections
For our brains, running barefoot is like touching the touch screen of a mobile with gloves. He would not know very well what he is playing, because he does not perceive it directly. Therefore, if we run barefoot, the signals that our brain will perceive will be much more intense.
The benefits of running barefoot
On the other hand, running barefoot, or equipped with a five-toed shoe, also called minimalist shoes , with simple structures, without shock absorbers and sometimes drawing the toes, would limit the “heel / ground” impact as much as possible by favoring a landing on the toe. the sole of the foot and better yet, directly on the forefoot.
Followers of this practice argue that humans are biomechanically designed to walk and run without shoes , and that the precise movement of the foot and the leg constitutes a form of “natural cushioning”, sufficient to prevent pain.
Even more, running barefoot improves balance, strengthens muscles and improves blood flow because, when we walk or run without shoes , our posture is different: the movements are more stable, the head and the hips agree with those. of the feet, and the shoulders are more relaxed.
Also, by landing on the front of the sole of the foot (and not on the heel), the runner’s muscles are not used in the same way, the body weight is diffused differently on the areas of the foot, and this would allow to run faster.
Running barefoot: between misconceptions and disadvantages
Speaking on this subject which is debated, Dr Bruno Sesboüe, doctor at the Regional Institute of Sports Medicine of Caen”france”, explained to “Le Figaro” that barefoot running limits ” the strain on the heel which can lead to lesions in the body. level of muscles, bones, or tendons “, before specifying however that this practice” by pressing on the metatarsal heads located in front of the bones of the feet, […] conversely increases the risk of fatigue fractures metatarsals “. Which only shifts the problem!
On the other hand, a study published in the journal Journal of Applied Physiology , shows that runners attacking the ground by the heel, without necessarily running faster, expend less oxygen and energy than those who usually have support on their feet. the tip of the foot .
In addition, among the disadvantages of running barefoot , we note – especially for beginners – the risk of injury with pointed or sharp objects that are not easily identifiable.
Thus, we conclude that the way you run is more important than what you wear on your feet, and remaining attentive to your body: the key is to find what works best for you, whether jogging. barefoot or with shoes, or alternately!
Running barefoot is a discipline to try, taking the necessary precautions to avoid any injury: a few sessions on safe surfaces can allow you to diversify the training and to solicit the muscles differently. A gradual transition is recommended for regular runners: running time or distance covered barefoot or with minimalist shoes should not exceed 10% of the total per week to start.
Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of running barefoot, you can now choose which decision to make. But, you know, if you decide to go ‘running’ without protection, don’t go crazy.