Many of you have heard our read about barefoot running, via the mainstream media or the excellent book by Christopher McDougall called Born To Run. The sales of Vibram Five Finger “shoes” has skyrocketed as have the minimalist shoes produced by Nike and other manufacturers. In our track workouts, we have implemented barefoot running for drills and some running workouts, with very good success. I recently came across this great website by Harvard evolutionary biologist Dan Lieberman. He believes that modern running shoes may explain why fifty percent of serious runners are injured at least once a year (Nature, January 2010).
There are several excellent videos worth watching on the biomechanics of running with and without shoes and those of Kenyan runners, who are undoubtedly the worlds most efficient runners.
Not everyone is going to become a barefoot runner, but incorporating some of the lessons learned from this research into a running training program may help in preventing injuries and/or improving performance.