To me, the idea of running barefoot is like reading the “Twilight” series as an adult. I guess I understand why some people do it, but it definitely isn’t for me.
To justify the idea of pounding the pavement with unshod feet, barefoot runners point to studies supporting the idea that their natural running form is is compromised by the constraints of padding. But all I can think of every time I think I come close to trying the barefoot thing is that I like my feet clean and rusty nail-free.
It was nice, then, to read this recent New York Times blog post making the case for running shoes. The piece references a study wherein 12 men with extensive barefoot running experience were asked to run in both lightweight running shoes and in socked feet with small weights attached to the tops of their feet, equaling the weight of the shoes.
The study concluded that when barefoot runners and runners with shoes carried the same weight on their feet, barefoot running used almost 4 percent more energy during every step than running shoes — the bottom line being that barefoot running was actually less efficient than wearing shoes.
The lesson, the writer says, is that a slimmed-down show might be the way to go, a middle ground between a heavier shoe and going barefoot. It seems like a nice compromise to a girl who’d like to cut down on injury and increase speed, but who doesn’t want to have to get a tetanus shot.
What do you think? Have you tried barefoot running? Would you consider it?