Perfect landing: Study finds barefoot runners have less foot stress than shod ones
A study suggests that running barefoot, or with minimal footwear, may cause fewer injuries than running with shoes.
Runners who wear shoes (shod runners) more frequently land on their heels and experience greater collision forces that can lead to impact-related injuries in the feet and lower limbs. This heel-landing habit is said to have been facilitated by modern running shoes, which are elevated and cushioned at the heel.
Barefoot runners, on the other hand, frequently land with a “springy step” since they point their toes and step using the middle or front of their foot. Even on hard surfaces, barefoot runners who land on their forefoot experience smaller collision forces than shod runners who land on their heels.
Runners looking to change their step should transition slowly from heel-landing to forefoot-landing to build strength in the calf and foot muscles and avoid injuries.