Should we all be running barefoot?

I discovered two stories over the past few days (one from the Boston Globe, one from the Daily Mail) that

nikefree

I discovered two stories over the past few days (one from the Boston Globe, one from the Daily Mail) that both say essentially the same thing: running injuries have increased, not decreased, as running shoes have evolved, and the more expensive your shoes, the more likely you are to get injured.

The idea, from what I understand, is that modern feet are lazy and weak: by spending our entire lives in shoes, we have not allowed the muscles in our feet to develop fully. And by walking and running in shoes, we are constricting our feet to the point that they can’t do their job properly, thereby making us prone to injury.

Of course, I don’t know about you, but I’m not about to run around barefoot in downtown Toronto. Ew. So while this is a nice idea, it’s going to have to stay in the realm of theory for now, supplemented by the odd barefoot beach vacation. (And surely my weekly ballet classes help keep my feet strong.)

In the meantime, I might try out the new Nike Free 5.0 running shoes that appeared in the office the other day (pictured above). They were designed to be closer to barefoot than a traditional shoe, and are engineered to allow your foot muscles to strengthen and take more control over your gait. It’s a nice idea and I’m looking forward to trying them out, although I have to admit I’m a bit skeptical that they’ll work for my hyperpronating feet’custom orthotics and supportive shoes have gone a long way to making my knees happy.

What do you think? Are you happiest barefoot, or do you prefer to run in supportive shoes?

View all of Kat’s running posts on the Half-marathon diaries home page.

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