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Two Great Articles on Barefoot Running

barefoot running

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Very quick post here – just wanted to direct you to two excellent articles on the topic of barefoot running.

First, from Gretchen Reynolds on the New York Times Well Blog an article titled:

Are we built to run barefoot?

Second, from the Science of Sport blog, a post titled:

The barefoot running debate: Born to run, shoes & injury: the latest thinking

Both are well worth reading, as are the comments that follow each post.


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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.


  1. Hhollines says:

    Excellent articles Pete.  I think Dr. Tucker’s article was fair and balanced, and we raises practical points.  Funny enough, I fall into the group he most recommends for barefoot running being runners with a history of chronic injuries.  I gave BF a try as a last resort before I gave up running and 3 yrs. later, I’m racing my fastest times and haven’t been injured in over 2 yrs. but I had “nothing to lose,” because I was constantly injured with traditional shoes.

  2. Great recommendations.  Between these two articles and the other momentum that had been building over the past few days, it did get me to thinking about just how important the role of running form is.  Minimalist shoes may create a different environment, but ultimately it is up to the athlete to learn, practice and implement a more efficient running style.  I have heard Dr. Liberman say in reference to his study “I am not saying everyone has to run barefoot, just run like you are barefoot.”  As a society that is so shod dominant maybe the trick is to run in your shoes, like you have never worn shoes before. 

  3. David H. says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading both those articles this week. The comments are good too. Lots to be said on the subject. Also, I’ve been inspired by your posts to branch out and get a neutral shoe. It’ll be the first time ever that I have two different models in my rotation, assuming that I have no issues of course.

  4. RickyRick says:

    I don’t think the human foot was designed to run fast on concrete and tarmac.
    Grass and dirt are another thing.
    I think barefoot running can be used as a useful tool to improve lower leg and foot strength and also improve running form but there is no way I’d like to run at fast paces barefoot!
    Most barefoot runners don’t seem very fast and with a few exceptions are more plodders than lightening quick gazelles!  
    It is great that the barefoot movement has led to a redesign of the running shoe.
    Anyway end of the day if it works for you use it!

  5. Michael says:

    Thanks a lot for posting these articles! I started barefoot running by trying the barefoot running sandals from These articles will give me more knowledge about this particular topic.

  6. Elizabeth Lembeck says:

    Great information, I really enjoyed reading the articles. I have extremely flat feet so have been hesitant with barefoot running. Seems like shoes don’t do what I thought they were doing for my feet, I’ll have to try this out.

    Liz Lembeck-CoolProducts

  7. 0DPatterson0 says:

    The biggest thing in the era of intsant everything is patinece. A suggestion for making that transition safer and easier – look for a biofeedback insole like Barefoot Science that will come in contact with the central region of the foot’s plantar aspect. Proper development also comes from the proprioception and biofeedback that we can truly only realize with direct foot-ground contact – anything between the sole of the foot and the ground and the ground is a sensory insular and does not afford ideal biofeedback. Look for an insole that engages the foot’s center of mass. This is also the body’ line of action through the foot and also the location that ensures true tri-planar (3D) motion of the foot – confidently is also a very nerve engorged region.  Progressive stimulation about the key point can help make the transition faster and safer:  Summary – glad to see someone moving towards a more ideal foot-shoe environment and glad to see someone taking the time to through some education to those who are simply jumping on the barefoot bandwagon.

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