A new study published in the journal Nature, has found that running barefoot could actually better for your feet than running with trainers.
The study analysed the running styles of athletes, and the researchers found that people who run barefoot tend to land on the ball or the middle of the foot and have a lighter step so they avoid jarring.
However those who run in shoes tend to land on the heels, which means that for every mile they run, their heel hits the ground 1000 times.
The scientists say that millions of years of evolution have given people strong, large arches that are used as spring when running. ‘Humans have engaged in endurance running for millions of years, but the modern running shoe was not invented until the 1970s,’ they say in the report.
Some are passing it off as a fad, and podiatrists do point out that it may not be suitable for those who have problems with their foot structure. However the sports shoe industry, which is worth nearly £12 and half billion isn’t going to miss out on the trend. The Vibram Fivefingers foot glove has sales of $10 million in the United States and Nike has now launched its own version, the Nike Free, a ‘barefoot’ trainer.
In parts of Africa, barefoot has been common for a long time. Ethiopian Olympic gold medalist Abebe Bikila won his first marathon barefoot 50 years ago whilst South African Zola Budd ran barefooted on the track in the 1980’s.
This could be the motivation behind former professional boxer Jackson Williams’ latest challenge. In July 2010, Williams plans to run from Perth to Sydney, a total of 2500 miles and if he succeeds it will make him the first person to run across Australia in bare feet.
Tell what you think about barefoot running. Have you ever tried it? Are you tempted by the new ‘foot gloves’?
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