Is It Time To Switch to Barefoot Running?
In Mexican Copper Canyons in Northwestern Mexico there resides a reclusive tribe of people able to run ultra long distances. Called the Tarahumara Indians, they commonly run barefoot (or with a thin piece of leather under each foot) more than 100 miles at a time, at incredible speeds without getting the routine injuries many runners face.
Author and journalist Chris McDougall, who is also a serious runner, was tired of being repeatedly injured. He set out to uncover their secret.
The key thing he noticed is that they don’t do the traditional heal strike when they run because, with limited padding, the impact would be too jarring on the foot. Instead they run with their fore-foot hitting the ground first. The basic idea is that this is how the human body is designed to run.
But because modern running shoes (which have only been around since the early 1970s) elevate the heel and offer overall padding to the foot, the majority of people (75 to 80%) run with their heel hitting the ground first.
In other words, humans have altered their natural running style to conform to the design of the running shoe. As a result of McDougall’s 2009 book Born to Run barefoot running grew in popularity.
While some may actually run barefoot, you can now buy what are called “minimalist running shoes.” These give you the barefoot running benefits and sensation, but with a little…