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The Pros and Cons of Barefoot Running

Shoeless running is becoming increasingly popular lately. Supposedly it improves foot biomechanics and reduces the risk of injury while running shoes cause the small muscles in your feet to weaken and the tendons, ligaments and natural arches to stop working correctly. But is this really the case? Is barefoot running actually better for you? Here are the pros and cons of barefoot running so you can decide for yourself.

The Pros and Cons of Barefoot Running

Potential Benefits of Barefoot Running

  • You could strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the foot.
  • Without the heel lift of most shoes helps the Achilles tendon and calf muscle stretch and lengthen, ultimately helping to avoid injury.
  • You’ll learn to land on your forefoot rather then the heel, allowing your arches to act as natural shock absorbers.
  • You could improve balance by activating the smaller muscles in your feet, ankles, legs, and hips, which are responsible for better balance and coordination.

Potential Harms of Barefoot Running

  • If you have no problems and no pain, do you really need to change anything? If you normally wear shoes when you run, stick with it.
  • Shoes protect your feet from road debris such as glass, nails, rocks and thorns. They also give you insulation in cold weather.
  • If you aren’t used to going barefoot, you feet could go into shock and feel overworked which may lead to injuries such as Achilles tendinitis or a calf strain.
  • The bottom of the feet is soft and tender, so going without a stiff-soled shoe may cause plantar pain and increase the risk of plantar fasciitis.
  • In the first few weeks of barefoot running you’re definitely going to be battling painful blisters – at least until the calluses are formed.

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