Saturday, May 19, 2012

Barefoot running efficiency

Not sure that it is all about efficiency....what about injury prevention ..... but you might be interested in this from here.

UPDATE- Someone pointed me to the comments to the Scientific American article and this one from Ken Schafer makes some excellent points, so I hope he doesn't mind me cutting and pasting:

..............I have read the study. This study had nothing to do with cushioned shoes. They took experienced barefoot runners. And compared how much energy they used running barefoot and how much energy they used running in very light weight minimalist running shoes (little to no cushion).

The subjects used slightly more energy when running barefoot. It is important to understand that the subjects maintained the same "barefoot" running technique with and without shoes. So this was not a test of fore-footed running technique vs. heel striking running technique. Most of the evidence to date indicates that the technique used by barefoot runners is more efficient than the heel landing technique that most people (from sedentary shoe wearing populations) use when running.

Second point, barefoot runners have NOT dominated distance running for decades. The person, who wrote this, in the caption above, has no idea what he is talking about. The African runners, who many times have grown up barefoot, and who often run using a fore-footed landing, have dominated distance running for decades, but mostly while wearing shoes. Finally, this was just one study. So it is the results are far from conclusive.


Unknown said...

unless you're an elite runner, I don't see how 3-4% efficiency would really matter. I guess that's who this study was targeted for?

Ken Schafer said...

I left this comment earlier today. I hope you are reposting it because you agree with me. Otherwise, this admission is very embarrassing.

Some of what I said only makes sense if you see the "summery" next to the video on the Scientific American posting.

The caption from the SA post reads as follows - "For decades, barefoot runners have dominated long distance events, leading many to believe barefoot running is more efficient. A new study from the University of Colorado says cushioned shoes actually do a better job of conserving a runner's energy."

Ken Schafer said...

Sorry, I actually posted this yesterday. Not earlier today.

beach body shakeology said...

As a health fitness nutrition Expert I believe that the most important thing is to understand that the subjects maintained the same "barefoot" running technique with and without shoes

Chris said...


sorry for any misunderstanding - I totally agree with the points that you made and that is why I reposted your comment. I tried to identify your comment on the SA site but I couldn't find your name.

Thanks for an excellent comment


Anonymous said...

I didnt read the study, but if they took experienced barefoot runners, then let them run in shoes, it would seem obvious that the shoe running would be less efficient due to less neuromuscular adaption. Seems like the only thing that is proven here is that movements get more efficient the more often you do them. Like lifting weights.

Jason said...

Although elite distance runners may well wear footwear, how much is this down to £ or $?
If they were still receiving the sponsorship, would they choose to run shod or barefoot?

Phil said...

I have always wondered about this, very interesting avenue of research. I think once you learn the barefoot method you can apply even when wearing shoes

Brian Walpole said...

Good article on a very controversial topic at the moment, I have been involved in some very heated debates with some passionate people who swear by barefoot and those who have a more cynical approach to its practicality. I am a believer in natural processes in everything I do and try to stay as close to the way it "should be" as much as realistically possible - I have written more on my thoughts here in this article -–-fad-or-functional/