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Barefoot Running Vs. New Shoe Technology

Updated on February 20, 2018
Pamela99 profile image

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

Barefoot Running

There are a growing number of people who are barefoot running, embracing the barefoot lifestyle VS the new shoe technology. There is controversy between the experts as to the benefits of barefoot running VS quality running shoes. There are not enough studies done at this point for any meaningful statistics. Regardless running is great exercise with or without shoes.

Barefoot running advocates contend that running barefoot improves foot biomechanics and reduces injury risk. Studies have found that running barefoot efficiency increases about 4%. Barefoot running promotes a mid-foot landing instead of a heel strike.There really is a lack of design that compares barefoot running with runners wearing shoes at this point.

Some experts agree with the barefoot runners as they say wearing shoes causes the small muscles in our feet to weaken and the tendons, ligaments and natural arches to stop doing their job. They believe that the support inserts, orthotics, plus the extra cushioning is poor foot biomechanics and increases the risk of foot, leg and knee injuries.

Running Barefoot

Photo Courtesy from Google
Photo Courtesy from Google

Vobram for Barefoot Running

Photo Courtesy of Bin Bin
Photo Courtesy of Bin Bin
Running Barefoot VS Shoes
Running Barefoot VS Shoes

Lower Prevalence of Injury

Sports Science states barefoot running is associated with substantially lower prevalence of acute injuries of the ankle and chronic injuries of the lower leg. Laboratory studies show that energy cost of running is reduced by about 4% when the feet are bare. Barefoot running in competition is still rare at this time.

Most Common Injuries when Running

There are several chronic injuries that can occur with running. One of the most common is planter fascitis which is an inflammation of the ligament running alongside the foot. Barefoot running may reduce the risk for this injury as it may induce an adaptation that transfers the impact to the yielding musculature, thus sparing the fascia. Chronic ailments including shin splints, ilio-tibial band syndrome and peri-patellar pain are attributed to excessive pronation. so running barefoot may relieve these conditions as well. By oldest son has had a big problem with shin splints and had all but given up running. Now he has started running barefoot and so far he has had no physical problems

New Balance 574 Red Backpack Review

My Story

I on the other hand, have been wearing New Balance for at least the last 15 years, maybe more. I cannot even walk barefooted very comfortably. I use orthotics in my shoes and every podiatrist I have ever seen has recommended that I wear New Balance shoes for women, actually New Balance walking shoes.

In addition to the walking shoes, New Balance makes running shoes, New Balance slip on shoes, New Balance trail shoes and their shoes fit the whole family. Much of their popularity is due to the fact that they make shoes for all sizes from a 2A to a 6E. Most companies don’t make this variety of sizes in athletic shoes. Also they have a very stringent quality control and if there is the slightest flaw the shoes get sent to a second hand store

Other Athletic Shoes

Now, for those that want to run in shoes there is a huge variety. Famous athletics often promote the better know varieties, such as Niki, Adidas, Reebok, New Balance and so forth, Most of the shoes are designed in the USA or England but actually made in Asia, particularly China and Vietnam.

New Balance athletic shoes are designed and made at 5 different factories in the USA., so they are the only ones I am aware of that can actually put the Made in the USA symbol on the shoe. Asics is a newer athletic shoe started in Tokyo with the design of a basketball shoe. The name is actually an acronym for a happy lifestyle that promotes total health and fitness. They now have companies around the world.

Barefoot running seems to be a trend that is catching on although there are plenty of people that have their favorite athletic shoe.

Asics Gel Kinsei 3 Running Shoe


Your choice of shoes is just about endless and maybe you want to try running barefoot. I like to walk, so that is my exercise. There a number of great brands of shoes. I ran for several years when I was younger, but I don’t think I would have ever been a barefoot runner, except when I was a child. I stayed bare footed as often as possible back then.

© 2010 Pamela Oglesby


Submit a Comment
  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Chloe, I know some people who love it, but it is not for everyone. I guess your have to make your own choice. Thanks for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Ron, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Great and well written hub. Splendidn information.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Susie, I hope you like your new shoes for running and I appreciate your comments.

  • SUSIE42 profile image


    10 years ago

    Thanks for this really good informaiton. I am going to try these shoes. Let you know.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Tamarajo, I have received that type of input from so many people that barefoot running sounds like a healthy choice to me. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • Tamarajo profile image


    10 years ago

    I have a pair of the five finger toe shoes the Bikilas and I love them. I don't think I could go back to the regular shoe for running.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Stanley, I have heard that from other people also. Thanks for your comment.

    Dayne, I am sorry to hear your experience was so awful. This is the first time I have had someone tell me they had lasting problems, but I have heard that some don't like it and don't think it is comfortable. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    I tried running barefoot one time. I have felt footpain for about four months after. I have had to stop running completely and my feet hurt everyday from just from having tried it once. Barefoot running ruined my feet!

  • profile image

    stanley palmer 

    10 years ago

    nothing beats barefoot running shoes its the best!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Springboard, You must have more tender feet than those runners. Thanks for your comment.

  • Springboard profile image


    10 years ago from Wisconsin

    Yeah. Walking barefoot around the house is hazardous enough. Even stepping on a cat treat left on the floor is painful. :)

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Prasetio, Thanks so much for your comment.

  • prasetio30 profile image


    10 years ago from malang-indonesia

    Good information, Pamela. I am glad to try this shoes. I agree with you, technology can help our life even for daily activities. Actually Barefoot Running is new for me. But I hope the best for us. Good research, Pamela.


  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Humagaia, It sounds like you've tried it all. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • humagaia profile image

    Charles Fox 

    10 years ago from United Kingdom

    When at school I used to be the only one who ran in bare feet. To look at me now you would not think that I could run a sub-5 minute mile at 14 and be county cross country champion (I wore trainers - or was it plimsoles? - for that). Both had their uses. My hippy days saw to it that my feet were hardened on the base fo all that hippying stuff.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Springboard, I think that is a good point as our feet are soft and you would have to be particular as to where you run due to things like broken glass, hard rocks, etc. Thanks for your comment.

  • Springboard profile image


    10 years ago from Wisconsin

    Running barefoot would seem to me to be, nowadays, a dangerous prospect considering all of the hazards—and yes, the sensitivity of our feet. Our feet have become very spoiled over time have they not? :)

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hello, the first time I heard of it was through my son. It's not for me but apparently some like it. Thanks for your comment.

    Darlene, I have thought of you often and included you in my prayers. I hope things are going okay. Thank you for your comment.

    50 Calliber, Thank you for all the in depth information as you know a lot more about this subject than I. I appreciate your comments.

    Stephesnaidna, I was glad to find that protection for the foot also. I think most people around here run on the beach after the sun starts to set or early in the morning due to the sand being so hot. For the many places without a beach or lake and just hard ground those protectors look good. Thanks for your comment.

  • stephensaldana profile image


    10 years ago from Chicago

    Great information. I have been hearing more and more about the barefoot running revolution and have thought about trying it out. Glad to see there is protection at least for running on harder surfaces. Thanks for sharing.

  • 50 Caliber profile image

    50 Caliber 

    10 years ago from Arizona

    Pam, you've hit on a serious subject where opinions run high and back toward bare footing. I train with many military, special forces, airborne jumpers, high risk civilian contractors, and search and rescue teams etc. Vibram introduced the Five Fingers shoe about 3 years ago, REI seems to be the favorite place the folks I deal with prefer to purchase these shoes. They have been a big topic on the forum boards for physical training. People who run a lot are raving over the benefits to leg strength, foot stability, strengthening of the multitude of foot tendons/muscles and joints. I have 2 different pairs that are all right side wear due to having just one foot. Vibram is gracious enough to allow me to buy direct and get what I need. Good company. I'm not able to speak to the benefits due to obvious reasons, but these other men and women must run to keep their jobs and other than proper sizing and working into them slowly to retrain your feet and calf,knee, hip and back muscles the one that I use has pretty well shown me a comfort improvement in one side. Standard running shoes promote a heel strike while running that is in front of you, the barefoot concept changes that to the ball of your foot with the heel really close behind, the biggest difference is that it moves your stride from a pendulum types swing to a stride placing your contact with the ground directly under your body weight instead of out front. Any way these things get big reviews from people who put things to the test. I just spent 2 days out with a number of folks on a search and rescue event and at the end of a day where you've been walking in all types of terrain, the biggest conversation was feet and pain. There were 5 of us wearing these ugly shoes, I'll bet next time there will be more. They are on the ground right now in Iraq, Afghanistan and just about where ever you encounter our military and others like them, they are getting sold out fast when shipments hit the outlets. I wear socks that are made for them and if I'm going into the water I leave the socks out.

    Good article on introduction to a novel Idea, using your feet like the creator designed them. voted up, 50

  • Darlene Sabella profile image

    Darlene Sabella 

    10 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    Pamela this is a very cool hub, I am such a country girl and dislike shoes, I am always barefoot. Never in a million years have I thought of runner barefoot, fantastic hub, rate up up up...I will be going home in about a month and bring my daughter with me for a few weeks. This has been an intense journey for all of us...thank you for all your prayers...

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    10 years ago from London, UK

    You have raised a very interesting point. I would have never thought that it would be better barefoot.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Katiem, It is certainly a consideration. My son runs on the beach on the firmer area of the sand and it doesn't seem to hurt his feet. Getting a really got fit for shoes seems to be so important and I know when I got and walk with different styles there is a big difference. Thanks for your comment.

    Chris, There are a lot of ways to hurt your feet which would be a big concern for me also. Thanks for your comment.

  • carolina muscle profile image

    carolina muscle 

    10 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    I think those barefoot runners are out of their minds.... too many ways to hurt your feet!!!

  • katiem2 profile image

    Katie McMurray 

    10 years ago from Ohio

    This really makes a lot of sense as I have experienced many issues from shoes as you don't really know till you put them to the test and run long and hard. Very interesting to consider barefoot vs new shoe technology.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    K9keystrokes, I am glad this was a good hub for your. Thanks for your comment.

    BPOP, Thanks for your comment!

  • breakfastpop profile image


    10 years ago

    I agree New Balance sneakers rock!

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    As one who loves to run, this is a super hub! My feet are far to tender to run barefoot these days! So the selection of running shoes you provide is outstanding Pam! Thank you for auch a cool hub!


  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Mentalist acer, That was the whole point. Thanks for the comment.

    Tom, I appreciate your comment and we need a lot more made in the USA products.

  • Tom Whitworth profile image

    Tom Whitworth 

    10 years ago from Moundsville, WV


    Thank you for this information!!!!!!!!!

    The fact that these shoes are made in the USA alone makes me give this Hub two thumbs up!!!!!!!!

  • Mentalist acer profile image

    Mentalist acer 

    10 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

    Thanks for the pay for USA info.,Pamela;)


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