This is quite an interesting development, one that is long overdue. Over the Line, Smokey! will be doing a series of posts on this topic. I previously posted a series on the Vibram Five Fingers “shoe,” concluding that it didn’t turn out to be what I needed/wanted. Now, however, the subject of minimalist/no footware has progressed to the point that there are more things worthy of discussion.
The place to start is undoubtedly the evolution of the human foot and its functions. However, that is somewhat boring, so I choose to start today with a more interesting topic: “Doesn’t barefoot running hurt your feet?”
The answer is “YES, any kind of running can hurt your feet.” It is very important to realize that pain and injuries can result from barefoot running, but that is also true of any type of conditioning.
There are two general types of injuries that can result from barefoot running: trauma, and overuse.
Traumatic injuries include bumps, bruises, blisters, cuts, punctures, beestings, abrasions, and burns.
The frequency of these injuries is due in large part related to the failure to ease into barefoot running, find suitable running venues, toughen up the skin and tissues, and learn proper running technique.
The second category of injury can be called overuse, though misuse is also included. Barefoot running requires a different type of stride, landing, cadence and use of bone, muscle, tendons, ligaments and other body tissues. The development and adaptation of these body parts requires practice, good form, and at least three months of slowly building up the whole package. Attempting to progress faster than that can result in stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, or other unpleasant and nagging conditions.
I recently purchased The Complete Idiots Guide to Barefoot Running
http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Idiots-Guide-Barefoot-Running/dp/1615640622 and have found it to be quite informative, though somewhat padded with generalities, prone to exaggeration of research studies, and embarassingly ignorant of some basic principles of physics. For the money, however, it is GOLD, particularly for its conservative schedule for getting into barefoot running.