Barefoot running, exercise, health & fitness, injury prevention


Nicholas Lerma


This presentation discusses the history of barefoot running including empirical evidence of the effects on injury prevalence, rehabilitation, and performance enhancement in runners. Prehistoric humans made use of their endurance running skills to run down their prey for food, so humans are built to be endurance runners. Modern human runners experience high injury rates even after a lot of research has been put into designing the most effective running shoes for injury prevention. Careful selection of scholarly research articles was performed to develop a guide for runners or practitioners interested in the adoption of barefoot running. The research found that barefoot running gives the runner a forefoot strike and enhanced proprioceptive feedback to their feet. Barefoot running leads to stronger and more flexible feet which can help prevent and rehabilitate injuries when practiced with caution. Safe adoption of barefoot running should consider volume progression, running surfaces, body preparedness, and previous running experience. Running in minimalist shoes may be a suitable alternative or progression to barefoot running.