|Minimal or no shoes, trendy, healthy and performance enhancing?|
Prior studies have found that barefoot running often changes biomechanics compared to shod running with a hypothesized relationship of decreased injuries. The study at hand, which reports the results of a survey of 509 runners and does therefore represent both the "faith" and "science" appears to confirm these findings, as the majority of respondents report benefits and/or no serious harm from transitioning to barefoot or minimal shoe running.
|Figure 1: Impact of switching from shod to barefoot-running on performance (Hryvniak. 2014).|
|There is evidence from controlled trials that running barefoot reduces the oxygen cost and thus the running economy (Hanson. 2011)|
This, in turn, is in contrast to studies on running economy most of which shown that wearing shoes increases the energy cost of running (Burkett. 1985; Hanson. 2011, cf. figure to the left) - in other words, it made the runners run more efficiently.
|Figure 2: Barefoot runners don't run barefoot, all the time, but there is hardly a terrain they avoid.|
- Burkett, L. N., WENDY M. Kohrt, and R. I. C. H. A. R. D. Buchbinder. "Effects of shoes and foot orthotics on VO2 and selected frontal plane knee kinematics." Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 17.1 (1985): 158-163.
- Hryvniak, David, Jay Dicharry, and Robert Wilder. "Barefoot running survey: Evidence from the field." Journal of Sport and Health Science (2014).
- Robbins, Steven E., and Adel M. Hanna. "Running-related injury prevention through barefoot adaptations." Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 19.2 (1987): 148-156.