Have you heard the latest about barefoot running? According to the New York Times, running without shoes has quickly grown from a quirky trend to a pop culture phenomenon! In fact, in the past year, the number of people registered with The Barefoot Runners Society has doubled, while a book about barefoot runners – called Born To Run - continues to be a best-seller. Also, more shoe companies now offer thin-soled slip-ons designed to mimic the feel of running barefoot, and a record number of people ran barefoot in this year’s Boston and New York marathons.
David Willey is editor in chief of Runner’s World magazine. He believes barefoot running is popular because it appeals to our newfound “back to basics” mindset. In other words: The economy has forced a lot of people to simplify the way they buy food, plan vacations, and raise kids. So running without shoes is seen as a way of saving money - while also getting in touch with the way our ancestors ran. Plus, as we’ve talked about before, new research suggests that barefoot running is better for your body - because it forces you to run in a way that makes you land on the middle of your foot, instead of the heel. When you do that, you put less stress on your feet – which reduces your risk of injuries to your ankles, legs, hips and lower back.
Of course, barefoot running isn’t for everyone. Most podiatrists warn that if you’re thinking about making a change, you should do it gradually. If you’ve been prone to foot injuries in the past, common sense says that you should continue wearing shoes. Finally, for those worried about stepping on glass or rocks, consider this: After the recent New York marathon, doctors said the most serious injuries they encountered were blisters! Want to go further? Check out the Website for The Barefoot Runners Society, at BarefootRunners.org.