Many professional trainers and fitness experts have been weighing in on the new phenomenon – barefoot running. Certainly athletic gear brands have been embracing the trend with shoes such as Adidas Adipure Barefoot Trainer and the Vibram Five Fingers. These types of funky footwear are not only turning heads at shopping centres and on the streets but are transforming the way we’re training for all types of sports and athletic events.
Should you embrace the barefoot sensation?
The thinking behind barefoot training
Barefoot running is certainly nothing new and many of the most popular running events, including the Olympics have seen barefoot competitors take home the title.
The more recent surge in the popularity of barefoot training is attributed to a recent publication, Born to Run, released by journalist Chris MacDougall in 2009. In his book, MacDougall recounts how he managed to overcome certain debilitating injuries by utilising barefoot running techniques from primitive Indian tribes in Mexico.
The thinking behind the approach is that removing the cushioning of the shod foot significantly alters the human running gait, which increases the level of involvement of the muscles around the feet and creates a more intense workout. Some supporters also claim that athletic shoes provide unnecessary support and that our bodies were naturally built and born to run.
Criticism has arisen around some of the risks associated with barefoot training especially training on certain surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt which can be quite hard on the joints. Sceptics also point out that our modern society has been developed in a way that demands shoes.
If you are keen to try barefoot running (even if it’s just to satisfy your curiosity about the shoes) here are some important considerations before you try barefoot running:
- Professional Advice –it’s important to get professional and/or medical advice before starting a new training or fitness program. Be sure to disclose any health problems and past injuries to get the most appropriate advice.
- Terrain – consider where you’ll be running. It may be worthwhile to start with softer surfaces such as along the beach and to start off by working a few barefoot running sessions into your normal routine.
- Hygiene – it goes without saying that you should be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow gym members. Bring a training mat or invest in minimal shoes like the Vibram Five Fingers if you will be training barefoot indoors.
Personal trainers, what do you think about barefoot running? Have you incorporated it into your training routine?
Author Bio: Paige writes on fitness and wellbeing as well as personal training courses for aspiring trainers.