You’ve probably noticed it before, and it probably thwarted you into taking a second look. No, those aren’t clear running shoes—that runner is actually running barefoot.
Barefoot running has been popular in many countries since the beginning of time, and it has started gaining popularity back in the United States in the last few years. If you think about it, men and women have been trained to run barefoot, as this is what they did before shoes were invented.
Some people think that running barefoot would be an awful experience. The hard ground against your feet will hurt, and it’s inevitable that you will step on a rock or a piece of glass and cut your foot open. But then there are those who advocate for barefoot running. Below are a few of the pros associated with barefoot running.
1. Running shoes can cause injury.
Our feet were not made to run with shoes, and the added weight and strange design of running shoes can actually affect our form and cause us injury. Many shoe designers have taken this into consideration and have designed very thin and very lightweight running shoes that are supposed to mimic a barefoot, but with a harder bottom. But these are not the same as running barefoot. If you’re constantly hurting yourself while running with shoes, you may want to consider running barefoot.
2. You can achieve better form.
By removing your shoes, you are allowing your feet to hit the ground naturally without any buffer, and this can help you achieve better running form. Running barefoot also forces you to land on the front of your foot, which is the natural way to run. Running shoes usually force us to land on our heels, and this can cause major damage to our muscles, ligaments and tendons.
3. You can strengthen your muscles.
Running barefoot uses different parts of your muscles. The tendons and ligaments in your foot will also become more strengthened. You can also get stronger calf muscles, which will alleviate stretched muscles or charlie horses.
4. You will improve your balance.
Shoes weaken the muscles in your feet, which will cause you to be less balanced. When you remove your shoes, these muscles will strengthen and you will have better coordination and balance.
5. You will save money.
Decent running shoes can cost hundreds of dollars. If you go through a pair of running shoes every year, you are spending a considerable amount of money on shoes in your lifetime. If you run barefoot, there is no need to spend money on shoes, as your bare feet come free with the rest of you.
While running barefoot has its benefits, it’s not for everyone. Some people think they run perfectly fine with shoes, so why risk changing something that’s worked for years? Others are still nervous about hurting themselves while running barefoot since there is nothing to protect your feet from harmful elements.
If you’re considering barefoot running, you can always take a quick jog in your bare feet and see how you feel. If you don’t like it, barefoot running may not be for you. But if you enjoy it, you may wonder why you’ve wasted so much money on running shoes in the past.
Gareth Smith is a fitness expert and soccer coach who lives in the Nashville area. When he writes he often proofs his work with a grammar checker to ensure it is of a high quality and mistake-free. He can’t always remember grammar rules so he is content to leave it to the experts.