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Barefoot Movement Simulating Footwear

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Sasu H., Mar 26, 2012.

  1. Sasu H.

    Sasu H. Member

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    Me and two of my schoolmates did our theses last year 2011 on barefoot movement simulating footwear.

    Besides providing the shoe manufacturer with information on the uses of their shoes as training footwear. This theses was made to let competetive athletes be able to experience those same old training routines in a new way and maybe to get even more out from the intense auxiliary training period.

    Since I started at Metropolia university in Helsinki the laws of "what features should healthy/good shoes have" has changed. Latest researches have shown that barefoot walking (and running) gives your body less impact and stress than average shoes do. Of course you need to take every step more carefully but that is the idea. Your body adapts better to the surface you are walking on and your center of gravity is in a better line with ankle, knee and hip joints and spine, thus giving your body less impact and stress. But what if the world we live in can´t offer every athlete a place to do running excercises barefoot?

    We wanted to get a load of competetive athletes experiences of these barefoot shoes that would give a good and safe way to train "barefoot" without the risks and harms of an actual barefoot training (sharp objects and so on..)

    The athletes in this thesis are playing a team sport called Floorball, here is a good way to get to know to this amazing sport if you are not familiar with it:

    www.floorball.org (International Floorball Federation homepage)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08ogpVsp4oY&feature=relmfu (a video from the World Championship finals: Finland vs. Sweden)

    Here is the abstract of our thesis:

    Barefoot Movement Simulating Footwear in Auxiliary Training
    for Floorball Players: The Competitive Athletes Experiences of
    Merrell Barefoot Training Footwear

    The aim of this study was to establish floorball players’ experiences of barefoot movement simulating Merrell barefoot footwear as training shoes during auxiliary training. The objective was to provide the shoe manufacturer with information on the uses of their shoes as training footwear. The research group consisted of members of men’s and women’s first teams of Seinäjoen Peliveljet ry Floorball Club, 15 men and 10 women, who used Merrell barefoot footwear during their auxiliary training in off-season practice in 2011-2012. The training consisted of aerobic and anaerobic running on varied sports field, as well as power, coordination and agility training. The test period was 8 weeks. The study was carried out using both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The methods of collecting data were a questionnaire and training journals which the players kept during the training.

    Almost all the research group members liked the light structure and the grip qualities of the shoe, especially in exercises for explosive strength and coordination. Several players felt that the use of footwear led to quicker muscle fatigue of their feet, calves and shins area. During jump and leap training several testees found the shock absorption insufficient and in running long distances the muscles of their lower limbs became sore during the first weeks causing pauses in the use of the footwear. On hard surfaces the male players expressed need for more shock absorption and protection in the sole more than the female players who in turn had a stronger liking for the shoe’s wide lest and found they gained
    better endurance in long-duration exercises. Twelve players (n=25) were satisfied with barefoot footwear and three considered them not suited for auxiliary training. Five players discontinued the test. The results showed that seven out of ten women and three out of ten men would be prepared to use these shoes in off-season training in the future.

    This study offers a new view on alternative, foot health supportive training footwear and its properties. The review shows the players especially liked the grip and the weight of the shoe, but felt the sole offered insufficient protection for the foot and they expected more shock absorption. Based on this the footwear is suited especially for short-duration exercises, when the shoes have become accustomed to with care. This study can be put to use by footwear manufacturers, podiatrists and various people in the sports field.
  2. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    That is not quite true. Yes, there is less impact, but to reduce the impact force, there has to be increased force and stress on other tissues. Its a zero sum game. You can't make the force 'disappear'.
  3. Is this correct? How do we define and measure "impact"?
  4. Sasu H.

    Sasu H. Member

    You are absolutely right. Thank you for correcting my mistake. My translation was not at its best at the moment I was wrighting this.

    Force can not disappear. What I ment was that barefoot runners body can take the impact that comes from midfoot strike or forefoot strike (heel strike is very unpleasant with barefoot shoes) and make you go easier over to the next foot strike. Thus easening the impact and stress on joints. Increased force on other tissues is a good way to see the use of barefoot shoes. A "smoother ride" makes your muscules work in a different way. Your body needs time to adapt to a new way of running but in that time it will also give your muscules and joints a new (and according to some researches) and more safe way to move. Although contraindications need to be taken seriously when running with barefoot shoes. But in this case we all know there are millions of competetive athletes who are trying to find tools to upgrade their fysical performance. Barefoot shoes might have a place for that purpose.

    Hopefully Mr. Payne you can still see the original idea behind this sad translation and give some ideas about the actual thesis or barefoot running!
  5. Christ on a bike. Really? Again?:bash:
  6. Sasu H.

    Sasu H. Member

    on a bike?...and christ? :D
  7. phil

    phil Active Member

    Hello Sasu,

    What profession are you studying? Was your thesis part of this study? What result did you get for this if it was assessed?

    I appreciate your interest in barefoot training, and also the difficulties with language! However, where are you getting your information to form your ideas?

    Your mention of higher heel impact forces in footwear is true, but does this actually cause injury? If so, what injury?

    For the record, I think Christ rode a donkey.

  8. vesaa

    vesaa Welcome New Poster

    Hyvä Suomi! :santa2: Ja kyllä se asia ihan selväksi tuli, osa tästä porukasta vähän piruuttaan tarttuu kielioppiin. Toi iskunvaimennusongelmatiikan korostaminen välillä ihmetyttää, jos nimittäin katsoo juoksun / kävelyn GRF käyrää , aika paljon kuormitusta tulee siellä propulssiovaiheessakin..

    Sorry , to avoid language barrier... this was by finnish:dizzy:
  9. Therein lies the problem. Some studies show higher vertical loading rates when shod and some show higher loading rates barefoot; some studies show greater tibial accelerations when barefoot and some show higher accelerations when shod; some studies show higher initial impact peak when shod and some studies show a higher initial impact peak when barefoot.

    A number of studies have found no relationship between impact forces and injury rates and Nigg's study suggests that higher impact may protect from injury.

    But the key for me here is that "Barefoot movement simulating footwear" doesn't simulate barefoot movement and is thus a misnomer. http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1416&context=open_access_dissertations

    For the record, I think I saw Christ riding a Kawasaki ZZR1400 down my street last week. It certainly looked like him.
  10. Kenva

    Kenva Active Member

    Catherine showed me the only real barefoot shoe last week, all the rest is an illusion.
    The discussion looks like it is taking place in the head of this Belgian surrealist artist René Margritte with his famous paintings

    Attached Files:

  11. Kenva

    Kenva Active Member

    The pipe, not the feet... ;)
  12. I think he did do a foot shoe too. I'll try to find it later.
  13. Kenva

    Kenva Active Member

  14. Sasu H.

    Sasu H. Member

    As we used "barefoot movement simulating footwear" on our thesis- we were refering to shoes that should have:
    - Heel and forefoot at the same level (as it is when you are standing barefoot)
    - Feet are as close to the ground as possible (I Have not seen any research or a law that gives you certain thickness scale for "barefoot shoe standard" so this is easy for us because we dealt with Merrell´s shoes that had 4mm sole. That´s it. We did not compare. We wanted to get information from athletes wearing only Merrell´shoes just because we had an opportunity to get them)
    - No structural shapes in the insole/midsole/outsole that would decrease the natural twists/movements of a barefoot)
    - Wide toebox to give toes enough space to move individualy.
    - Shoelaces ( various ways of lacing your shoes to fit your feet. Gives you an idea of lacing: http://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/tipsforsports.htm )

    Note that the word "simulating" is not reffered as an actually makes-you-feel- 100%-barefoot-runner. More of a "close to actual barefoot running but less sharp objects/etcetera harming your feet" Or are you reffering to a misleading topic where people actually come to read this thread hoping to find plain shoes simulating barefoot running without feet in them? :D What ever the case is, "simulation" is never the real thing! I hope nobody ever is trying to advertise shoes that are actually 100% barefoot. Their called human feet - not shoes.

    I understand the difficulty of talking about barefoot movement and simulating the movement. I know how easy it is to just say things that have been said by other evangelists :D. I have done the same thing for many times and I try to learn every day to do better then that. But in our thesis we wanted experiences from athletes using minimalist shoes in auxiliary training, training what they do every summer. No comparison - just individual experiences.

    I love to learn more of biomechanics and how different running/walking styles are affecting on human body! Since I joined this arena i have already learned so much!

    Maybe it would be better to change this topic to:
    The Competitive Athletes Experiences of
    Merrell Barefoot Training Footwear

    What do you think? :)
  15. I think the kinematics and therefore the kinetics of running in minimalist footwear is not the same as the kinematics nor kinetics when running barefoot. Viz. minimalist footwear does not "simulate barefoot running". Thus the term "barefoot simulating footwear" is inappropriate. And the term "barefoot footwear" is a complete oxymoron.
  16. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    From: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19424280903204036
  17. Sasu H.

    Sasu H. Member

    now when you say "you think" I asume you might have a reasearch showing how different the kinetics/kinematics in a persons feet are when comparing barefoot vs. minimalist shoes? if not.. that would be a great research!

    And what comes to the term "barefoot shoes", it´s not the best one that I agree. Minimalist shoes or (when translating word-by-word a term used in finland for these kind of shoes in the field of health care) light-weight-shoes:D are better.

    Again the language barrier. Sorry guys :)
  18. I linked to phd thesis which shows this earlier in the thread.
  19. Sasu H.

    Sasu H. Member

    I need to check that out !
  20. The term "barefoot shoes" makes about as much sense as the term "naked clothes". As soon as any covering is placed on a foot, whether it be a thin sock or a thin shoe, you are no longer barefoot. In the same way, you can't be "naked" if you have any clothes on.

    If you feel the need to go back to nature in order to run like your ancestors, then you should not only be running barefoot, but also be running naked with no clothes on (or wear all non-processed leather garments). Also, you should go out away from the city into the forest or fields and maybe find a cave or build a shelter out of wood, grass or some other natural material to live in. You should also stop using your cell phone, stop using your computer, stop driving a car, stop riding a moped, stop riding a bicycle, gather and kill all your own food, take no prescription medicines or vitamin supplements, stop using contact lenses or glasses, stop using anything made of plastic, stop using toothpaste, stop using deodorant, stop using nylon or any other synthetic material and walk or run everywhere.....no buses, taxis or jets/airplanes allowed.

    If you do all of these things, then I will truly believe that you have chosen a path that brings you closer to what our ancestors experienced to see if that is the type of life that best suits you. Those that put on a show, saying that they are somehow becoming more like their ancestors by only running barefoot, without making any of the other sacrifices necessary to become more like their ancestors, are just fooling themselves into believing that they are somehow making any signficant movement toward experiencing the type of lives our ancestors had to deal with.

    As far as I can see, thinking that you are somehow becoming more natural by only running barefoot is like thinking you are becoming more natural by not wearing gloves when you do work with hand tools. If you want to be natural, then go all the way, not part of the way!!:butcher::hammer::bang:
  21. I think what is more important for people to realise is that running in minimalist shoes (whatever they are) is NOT the same as running barefoot. The sooner people understand this, the sooner they will stop talking about "barefoot shoes".
  22. Yes, you do.
  23. Sasu H.

    Sasu H. Member

    I love the way you reply. :D

    Nice outburst Kevin;) If you are talking generally that´s totally true! But If you somehow managed to turn the original post and all posts (from anyone) after that to a point where you feel that when a group of podiatrists are offering a possibility to train with minimalist shoes to get feedback from athletes how they feel about such shoes is now becoming a sign of naturism and hippie party - you are, my dear Kevin, wrong :D
  24. Sorry, Sasu, I guess I am just getting tired of people thinking that just because they are running barefoot or running in thinner soled shoes that they are somehow becoming more natural or more "in tune" with their bodies.

    By the way, we were training with minimalist shoes back in the 1970s, over 40 years ago, but we called these running shoes "racing flats". Why would you think that running in racing flats is anything new and unusual?....runners have been using these shoes for decades!
  25. Sasu H.

    Sasu H. Member

    Actually I was reading and trying to find anything about the subject that would have had something to do with minimalist shoes and/or barefoot running between 2009-2010 when we were gathering theory. At that time there was lot´s of quality researches from running injurys and rehabilitation and so on but there was not much from minimalist shoes and how they have affected on running..

    Basicly we tried to just get information about minimalist shoes and running. Like our lecturer said this type of shoes have been in use for many years (Indians used moccasins and so on..). But in ten years there have been companies like Vivo barefoot, Innov-8, Feelmax, Merrell (barefoot collection) who are advertising "shoes with minimal shock absorption - "just like running barefoot". So we tried to get competitive athletes experiences from shoes that are advertised as minimalist shoes/barefoot shoes. We did not try to get positive outcome from this test period. We wanted them to say what they experienced. In this theses Merrell Trail Gloves was our weapon of choice (just because they where publishing barefoot collection in Finland after May 2011). Like Ian G said earlier about "barefoot shoes"-term, I agree it is not the best term to use as far as the phd thesis now tells (http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1416&context=open_access_dissertations). But we used it and as far as we asked about the term from our teachers, they had nothing against it.

    Fact is that we had already done the theory for that thesis before this phd thesis was out. Easy to say afterwards - I know.

    When you say people have been using "racing flats", can you link me pictures or some info about these shoes. I´d like to understand what kind of shoes are you talking about. Like for instance was the toe box formed as "stereotype fore foot" or was the shape as narrow as todays running shoes? and what kind of material was used as outsoles? how about shock absorbtion?

    Vivo barefoot is advertising their VIVOBAREFOOT as " the worlds first minimalist shoes". I know that is kind of funny, but how on earth they would do that if there where lot of "racing flats" used for decades before them? Who has set the standard for average running shoes and minimalist shoes/racing flats/? why the word "minimalist shoes/barefoot shoes" got out in the first place?

    ..just curious? :D
  26. Sasu (is that your real name?):

    I have attached a few photos of shoes from the 1970s that either I ran in or were worn by the runners I competed against during that time period. One of my personal favorites, the Onitsuka Jayhawks, was a shoe that I won by being the first "junior" in my first marathon at age 17. I went on to run quite a few races, speed workouts and training runs in these shoes. In addition, the Nike Marathon shoe was very thin soled, much more thin in the sole than many shoes that are called "minimalist" shoes today. You tell me, do these shoes look like "minimalist shoes" to you? Do you still believe that Vivo Barefoot was actually the first shoe company to make thin-soled lightweight running shoes?

    In addition, I have attached a photo of a shoe worn by the winner of the 1951 Boston Marathon, including the photo of him crossing the finish line at that race. Would you consider this 60+ year old shoe from Onitsuka Tiger (now Asics) a minimalist shoe? Did you know that having a toe cleft between the digits in a running shoe didn't start with the Vibram Fivefinger shoe?

    Nothing new under the sun.....
  27. And that the Nike Air Rift was released in 1995 allegedly inspired by Kenyan barefoot runners no less...

    We like the Ecclesiastes 1:9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecclesiastes
  28. Sasu:

    Check out these vintage "minimalist shoes" , I mean racing flats, circa 1977....on the cover of a famous book, no less......


    What is the easiest way to claim you were the first to invent something?.....just think up a new name for it and then hope that people are gullible enough to believe that it is new!!
  29. Here is Frank Shorter (USA) winning the 1973 Fukuoka marathon in a time of 2:11:45 in his "Barefoot Movement Simulating Footwear" better known as "Minimalist Running Shoes"........oh yeah......I forgot....... this was 35 years before VIVO Barefoot even made their first shoe!!:bang::hammer::craig:
  30. Sasu H.

    Sasu H. Member

    Amazing shoe collection. Definitely my favourite model is the 60 years old Onitsukas.

    In my opinnion those other models are too narrow and pointy from the toe box area.
    Not saying the gap between toes (that five finger style) is the best thing (blisters and such) either, but judging by the picture only those Onitsukas have the shape of bare feet (not applying pressure to first toe or others, unless they are just too small to wear

    .. But then again person who is running is the person who either likes the shoes or doesn´t. Subjective matter.

    Thanks a ton for adding those pictures!
    And yes, Sasu is my name :)
  31. Yeah, but with the greatest respect Kevin, there's much more EVA between the foot and the ground in that shoe than in a vivo-barefoot shoe.

    To me, what is more interesting is the ground. With your man here running on a redgra track as opposed to tartan tracks http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartan_track

    So, if we look at net stiffness with an additive model of ground + shoe, which is stiffer? Frank shorter's shoe + redgra or vivobarefoot + tartan?
  32. Sasu H.

    Sasu H. Member

    man i`m getting excited.

    I´ve been selling shoes earlier as a sport store salesperson for many years and I´ve always loved sporting goods especially running shoes and indoor shoes (in Finland whe have huge range of indoors shoes such as floorball, futsal, volleyball, basketball, handball...). So this talk about how shoes have been evolved is great!
  33. Also, don't forget these classic "Barefoot Movement Simulating Footwear" or "Minimalist Running Shoes" from the late 1970s worn by Bill "Boston Billy" Rodgers in the New York Marathon....the Onitsuka Tiger Obori.

    Not much EVA in the forefoot of these 35 year-old shoes.

    By the way, how much EVA thickness is allowed before a shoe is no longer considered a "Minimalist Shoe"?

    Hey....let's compare the EVA thickness in this 35 year old "Minimalist Running Shoe" to a popular currently available "Minimalist Running Shoe"....the New Balance Minimus. Which of these shoes, the 35 year old Onitsuka Tiger Obori or the New Balance Minimus, has more EVA thickness? Which is more minimal?

  34. Well the New Balance appears to have less heel height differential...
  35. Nothing new under the sun....of course, Simon, Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV) said it first:

    Very wise words from a book that is nearly 3,000 years old!
  36. Which given our brief glimpse at some of the running shoes from the 1970's begs the question- why did running shoes start to be designed with a more cushioned heel? Was it because that increasing heel cushioning resulted in increased comfort whist running, given that the vast majority of long distance runners naturally adopt a heel strike gait whilst running in shoes? Did the running shoe manufacturers take it upon themselves to do this, or did they gather feedback from professional and amateur athletes of the time? "Lets put more materials into the shoe which will cost us more money, just for the fun of it". Or: "let's design a shoe which will make our sponsored runners faster, which will make our product stand out from the crowd". Or: "lets add design features to our shoes which will make our sponsored runners slower and injure them". You decide. I don't do marketing. I did work for a shoe manufacturer once, where we did things called "wearer trials" though.

    It might be suggested that comfort is king, at least in terms of running performance:

    Nigg 2010
    1 test subject, 5 orthotic specialists who made diagnosis and constructed custom orthotics
    Subject ran in orthotics (10K) and scored orthotics from 0-10 in terms of comfort
    0 = very bad (unable to run) 10 = excellent
    Also measured 3D kinematics

    Construction was different in the number of materials and hardness
    The two “best” orthotics were substantially different
    One was relatively soft in the forefoot and midfoot and soft in the rearfoot
    The other was medium soft in the forefoot and midfoot and harder in the rearfoot
    The 10k running time was fastest for the most comfortable orthotic, second fastest for the 2nd most comfortable etc. down the line.
    The correlation between comfort and rearfoot eversion was 0.92, with the best orthotic allowing highest rearfoot eversion.

    As I said: I don't do marketing, you decide.

    But I would like another pair of "Nike Gangbuster" from the early '80's "cause they kicked ass.

    Also: as a kid, Adidas were king through the late 70's were I grew up. I wore Bamber and Samba, Tobacco etc. I remember getting a pair of New Balance in about '81 and feeling the difference... it was bliss.
  37. Sasu H.

    Sasu H. Member

    What do you guys think about the shape of the forefoot in shoes?
    We have been talking about EVA-materials and forefoot/rearfoot difference but what about the shape?

    Everybody has unique feet and that is why some like shoes from adidas compared to Asics and so on. But in here is the question: if the lacing and the rearfoot would fit like a glove and forefoot/toe box area (as well) would give space to toes and transverse arch. Would it give a better possibility to establish full stability and maximum load bearing on forefoot area no matter what is your running style? (heel/mid/forefoot strike).. Narrow shoe->narrow sole->narrow forefoot area->smaller impact area-> ?

    Or does it even make such a big difference in performance if the transverse arch area is wider in running shoes? Because looking at shoes you guys have posted they all have thin soles but also narrow toe box. Do you get what I´m saying? In your experience have you seen a difference in performance with narrow toe box or wider toe box?

    Either way: small shoes->blisters and pain, loose shoes->blisters and pain :D

    what do say?

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