As with most fads, once they take hold of the population, their validity is called into question. Does the new method work? Is it effective? Can it really make life better for those using it? These very same questions have finally come to light regarding the newest fad in running, the barefoot style shoe. At first it was cool and interesting enough to grab people’s attention, but now runners are wondering if it is truly beneficial. There’s no doubt that humans are meant to run, and before the advent of shoes, we did so barefoot. But are twenty-first century runners meant to run like cavemen? You be the judge:
Improved Balance– With a minimalist running shoe, you’re more likely to find your balance faster than with a cross trainer. And over time, it would reason to assume your overall balance will improve.
Strengthened Muscles– By not having the support of a clunky shoe, your foot muscles, and calves will have to get stronger. As such, a byproduct of wearing these barefoot style shoes will increase your foot and lower-leg strength.
Better Understanding of Environment– Just like putting your feet into a pond or running around your yard barefoot, wearing these shoes will help you judge hills and obstacles better than with a regular shoe.
Little Protection– If you’re running with a minimalist shoe and come across glass or nails, the material provides little protection to your feet from harm.
Increased Aches– The stress put on your feet without having toe, heel or arch support will inevitably lead to aches.
Blisters– Due to the tight fitting nature of the five-toe style shoes, you will experience blisters on the areas of your feet that do not naturally come in contact with a regular running shoe.
Ugly/Smelly– People will take notice of your strange shoes, but worse, they will notice the smell. Because you are encouraged to run barefoot, that neglects the use of socks and that combination can mean unpleasant odours.
Carefully consider the pros and cons laid out here before you decide to buy barefoot running shoes. When cross trainers are proven to work just fine, why risk it? Barefoot running shoes may seem cool at first, but like with most fads, the bad may outweigh the good.
By Rachel Horwitz