Science Article Summary - 5
Shoes may have changed how we run
Using slow-motion footage of experienced runners, highly sensitive scales and 3-D motion analysis scientists have uncovered the fact that barefoot runners run very differently from those of us who wear running shoes. The main difference is that barefoot runners hit the ground with their forefoot or mid-foot, while most people that wear shoes hit the ground with their heel. Although these seem like simple adaptations, the method that barefoot runners use has been proven to reduce risk for certain types of injuries that can be attributed to the impacts created from running with shoes. Rather than landing smoothly, those of us who run with shoes create an impact comparable to "hitting your heel with a hammer up to three times your body weight," showing just how injuries are so easily obtained with shoes. Don't be too worried, not all of this pressure gets directly placed onto the heel because most modern day shoes have become much more comforting, to the point where most of the impact is diminished. Although moderns shoes seem to save us from the pain that we should be enduring, it still is very true that striking the ground with your forefoot or mid-foot can almost completely eliminate the force, making barefoot running more comfortable in all senses.
It is very unlikely that these findings will change the running shoe industry anytime soon, but it is a start to thinking of new and better things. Although barefoot running may be more efficient, many runners that are already used to running with shoes may find a hard feat in the switch. Professor Lieberman, the professor behind this research, notes that runners already accustomed to shoes will have to use their calf muscles and Achilles tendon much more rigorously, meaning that runners trying to switch their styles may end up hurting themselves in the long run.