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Barefoot Running Debate

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Kevin Kirby, Jan 21, 2010.

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  1. Agreed, Simon. I was going to say a similar thing when I read the line: "Furthermore,
    many running shoes have arch supports and stiffened soles that may lead to weaker foot muscles, reducing arch strength."
  2. I tried to post on the site but it doesn't allow me. Someone posted on the burden of proof. I wanted to say this:

    In terms of the burden, it depends on who forwards the proposition and what that proposition is. In academic debate the affirmatives traditionally assume the burden of proof, i.e., to prove that the proposition is probably true. The negatives assumes the burden of rejoinder; to deconstruct the affirmative arguments. So if the shoe companies say that their shoes protect from injury- they should need to prove it; similarly if the barefoot community say that running barefoot protects from injury: they should need to prove it. As far as I can see, neither have the data to support such contentions.
  3. I was just able to post on the site through my facebook account.
  4. I don't have a facebook account.....
  5. ....and who is the old one here???????:drinks
  6. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Well said SImon! And absolutely true.

    What the world of biomechanics (not the world of shoe companies) has.. I think.. established, is what type of loading is most likely to contribute to injury in sport. Furthermore, the quality studies have been able to demonstrate that athletic footwear across abroad range of categories, are protective of those likely injurious loads.
    It remains a fact however, that up to this point, there has been no quality study establishing a direct link between any common sporting injury and the ability of footwear to positively influence this.
    A fine and worthy project for people like us to address!
    I kinda wish the barefooters .. along with the shoe zealots, would take a breathe and consider the wisdom of the statement.. " each of us is an experiment with a sample number of one"!
  7. OK, Prof. down with the kids Kirby, you'll have an I-pad next! I did have a facebook account until somebody "broke into it" and started "having conversations with my friends" I found out when one of mates became offended and spoke to me in person about it and I hadn't got a clue what he was talking about. I decided to remove my account at that point.
  8. Would be great to take a group of Mz twins with no previous running experience / injuries. Let one half of the twin pairs run in shoes and the other half run barefoot. Same training regime, same route etc. I stay awake at night dreaming of reading these kind of studies. Can't we just get on with it and legalise human cloning- it would make life so much easier.
  9. Kevin wrote on t'other site:
    "The concept of optimizing the shoe design for the runner’s unique physical and biomechanical makeup should be the mantra in the coming decades within the running shoe industry."

    So why aren't they (running shoe manufacturers) designing shoes with a stiffness in the "metabolic efficient" range, at least for their elite persons? Or are they, Simon?
  10. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    well I can't speak for the others, but we certainly are. We have been very interested in the concept of "adaptive technology " for a long time now. So we are trying to figure out if shoe design can augment stiffness through a series of "metabolically efficient' ranges. Unfortunately, the only way we can do this is with cadvers in a jig we made, which is nowhere near as good as real live people... any volunteers?
    The other big challenge is to take what is theoretically possible, and making it a practical reality in the real world of manufacturing. Fortunately, manufacturing techniques and materials technology are rapidly catching up to technical concepting.
    One of the big things for me in this industry is sustainability, although in the absolute sense of the word this is not yet possible in the footwear industry. But I am not prepared to concept a shoe now unless it can be made without glue and PVC, and that does slow us down a bit.
    There will be 2 new products in the next 12 months that I think will make people rethink the concept of athletic footwear, maybe even make the "minimalists" happy , even thoguh they are extremely complex. Dunno if they will work, but at least we are giving it a shot!
  11. I don't understand why you can only do this with cadavers. We have a number of in-vivo studies which show the stiffness range over which metabolic cost is reduced. If we know the stiffness of the surface, i.e. concrete, or a specific track and we know the GRF data of the subject, why can't you just manufacture a shoe that creates an interface within the optimised stiffness range and test in-vivo? Perhaps I should come on board as a consultant, Simon? I have a City and Guilds in pattern cutting, and worked for a brief period as a last designer, if that helps ;-)
  12. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    hello all.. please find a couple of attached "minimalist shoes".

    Attached Files:

  13. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    A man of many talents! One of the other very valued designers I work with is a toolmaker by trade, so he and you would get on well. Maybe you should come on board.. I need help in maintaining sanity!
    We have been focussing on measuring strain in the pf with very thin implanted strain gauges and looking at how footwear may or may not influence this.
    What you are suggesting is somewhat of the holy grail of footwear research, and is a little more difficult than it sounds because of the non homogeneity of footwear. gotta factor in troublesome things like harmonics. But if you have a way of doing this.. I am all ears..
  14. I'm just aware of studies in which they have altered the surface stiffness of treadmills and improved metabolic efficiency- this research didn't seem too worried about harmonics or plantar fascial strain, but rather on the net physiological cost. Perhaps a starting point might be to make a simple "minimalist" shoe with an homogenous sole of known stiffness in the correct range and measure VO2 max then compare various stiffness of soles? Alternatively, you could FEA model more traditional soles with their various laminars, and optimise stiffness characteristics in the model, then perform the in-vivo stuff. Just thinking out-loud Simon.

    On another note, have you looked at non-Newtonian polymers?
  15. This was Tom McMahon's solution:

    Attached Files:

  16. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    Two very common 'fashion' shoes of recent years in my neck of the woods were the Nike Rift, and more recently the resurgence of the Plimsoll. I guess there is nothing new under the sun. Looking at the above pictures I can see they may well merely be descendents of Asics 1953 marathon shoe.

    Attached Files:

  17. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Keep thinking out loud.. I like it! In relation to NNP's, we have presentations from companies with unbelievable materials all the time, and they would all be awesome to use in footwear. The only problem?... $$$.. and the almighty consumer sqeals like a porker coz at the end of the day, they have to pay for the technology. It is one of the great conundrums of the athletic footwear market, which has reached a critical mass where nearly anything you can think of is possible, but at a cost..
  18. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Yup! funny about that.. and I have a sneaking suspicion we are going to see a lot more of this.. and a lot more injury. Thank God underpants are not made the way those Tabi-toes sneakers are.. imagine the chaffing!!
  19. What about for your elite boys and girls- surely as a design exercise the dollars don't count?;) The Bugatti Veyron cost more to manufacture than it originally sold for, it was a design exercise, but what an exercise in design!
  20. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Well I am not confirming .. or denying.. that we may, or conversly may not.. have a few things tucked away somewhere.. or nowhere, that might be of interest.. or not.. if you get my drift
  21. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Just thought the following points may be worthwhile if anyone is asked to comment on the Liebermann article in Nature

    here are the major and indisputable fatal flaws:

    (page 531, column 2, paragraph 2) “We compared foot strike kinematics on tracks at preferred endurance running speeds (4–6ms21) among five groups controlled for age and habitual footwear usage”
    They did not control for age – The “habitually shod adults” in group 1 were obviously 1st year university students. Their age was 19.1+0.4 years. Taking into account the standard deviation value, this means that they were ALL well within a range of 18 – 20 years old. The “habitually barefoot adults” age was 38.3+8.9, which means that they ranged in age from around 20 to 55+ years old. The subjects in the “habitually barefoot adults” group are on average TWICE THE AGE.

    (page 531, column 2, paragraph 2) “We compared foot strike kinematics on tracks at preferred endurance running speeds (4–6ms21) among five groups….However, because the preferred speed was approximately 1ms21 slower in indoor trials than in outdoor trials, we made statistical comparisons of kinematic and kinetic data only between groups 1 and 3” This is extremely poor form, and there is no way that they can go on to compare the groups like they do further on: “habitually shod runners who grew up wearing shoes (groups 1 and 5) mostly RFS when shod; these runners also predominantly RFS when barefoot on the same hard surfaces, but adopt flatter foot placements by dorsiflexing approximately 7–10 degrees less (analysis of variance, P<0.05).”

    The two groups that they say they analysed only had 8 subjects in each. The “habitually shod adults” were 6 guys and two girls, the “habitually barefoot adults” were 7 guys and 1 girl. That doesn’t cut it.

    They clearly state that 3d kinematics were used to asses joint angles, but then in the extended methodology they admit that it wasn’t used at all for assessing joint angles.
    (page 534, column 1, last paragraph) “We quantified joint angles using a three-dimensional infrared kinematic system (Qualysis) at 240 Hz and a 500-Hz video camera (Fastec InLine 500M)”
    (online only methods section – column 1, last paragraph) “To record angles in lateral view of the ankle, knee, hip and plantar surface of the foot, a high-speed video camera (Fastec InLine 500M, Fastec Imaging) was placed approximately 0.5m above ground level between 2.0 and 3.5mlateral to the recording region and set to record at 500 Hz.”
    (page 534, column 2, paragraph 3) “Additional kinematic data for groups 1 and 3 were recorded with a six-camera system (ProReflex MCU240, Qualysis) at 240 Hz…..Four infrared reflective markers were mounted on two 2-cm-long balsawood posts, affixed to the heel with two layers of tape following methods described in ref. 18. The average of these four markers was used to determine the total and vertical speeds of the foot before impact.”
    In fact they "mixed" the analysis, with some groups subjected to 2D and others 3D then merged the results to get their answers..!

    yikes! What the hell are they thinking? It is just such a pity this stuff gets hyped immediately without any analysis. Thanks to Dr. Ross Clark for his comments

    These are by no means all of the flaws in the article, just the tip of the iceberg, but if you do get asked to comment, it gives ya a bit of ammo!
  22. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    As we know as soon as a media grabbing headline fits someones own thought processes they shout it from the roof tops without actually analysing its quality (why would they when it already says what they want it to). I think it is one of 'Payne's Laws' - The amount of passion involved in supporting a theory and the amount of emotional attachment to a theory is inversely proportional to the amount of evidence for that theory.

    Case in point for Newton's Running, whose blog I have been following daily since the Lieberman article hit the headlines. Here is a snippet of todays post:

    Full blog entry here
  23. Griff

    Griff Moderator

  24. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Bloooody Hell! I just cannot believe that this can be put out with Harvard University co-branding. This is nuts. These guys obviously are unaware of the existence of the subtalar and midtarsal joints!! Or if they have an inkling they are there, they clearly have no concept of theier purpose and function. They are proposing a 2 segment model of human movement..

    And what about the vids explaining the impact"transients"???... jeez.. it's worse than I thought
  25. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.


    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  26. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    How is this for intellectual dishonesty. here is a press report on the lieberman study:
    What did the study have to do with injury???
  27. Who is funding this?
  28. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    They are aiming no lower than world domination it seems. And the barefoot zealots now believe they have some solid 'science' behind them.

    Check out this rant about Podiatrists on another barefoot site

    Apparently we should be more curious about what a 'perfect' foot looks like... sheesh not the perfect/ideal foot thing again....
  29. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Vibram Five Fingers is partially funding the study
  30. I'm afraid that some members of the barefoot running community don't like me for not agreeing with them that barefoot running is the best thing that has been introduced to the running community in the last 50 years. For all of you who want some entertaining comments on the subject, you should read some of Amby Burfoot's Peak Performance Blog on Lieberman's Study.

    Funny thing is that over the past couple of months, I've asked nearly every runner that comes into my office what they think about barefoot running and nearly all of them either say something like "Why would anyone want to run barefoot?" or "I wouldn't want to injure myself trying to run barefoot." My rough estimate is that for every 1,000 runners in shoes, there may be one that runs barefoot occasionally and that for every 10,000 runners, there is one that runs barefoot all the time. However, these one in 10,000 runners who run barefoot all the time contribute 75% of the posts to any blog on barefoot running. My experience is that most runners couldn't care less about the barefoot running fad or don't know it is even happening.

    What are others experiences when asking their runner-patients about barefoot running?
  31. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Kevin - notice how they attack you and are not capable of actually addressing the issues raised - theys very typical of the barefoot running fanatics.

    My interest in barefoot running started just over a year ago...it was just before running with the Arena'ettes in the Run 4 The Kids event --- there were >30 000 taking part. I notice that not one of them wear running barefoot. In the 12 months since, I have been looking for a barefoot runner and have not seen one yet!!

    So that means to me that they make up <1/30 000 ie 0.00003% (I think I got the decimal point in the right place)
  32. Ian Linane

    Ian Linane Well-Known Member

    Kevin / Craig

    In a specialist running shop last week I smiled to over hear a conversation between the shop owner and a customer on barefoot running.

    The customer had clearly read some of the stuff and was naturally curious. To his credit the owner did not dismiss it but said that "all these things need to be taken in balance and within reason" suggesting there may be some place for it. Then he sold her some shoes;)

    Ironically, all the conversations (5) I've had on the subject this last week have been with none runners who read the papers or saw the news items!

  33. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I have consistently stated in a number of threads that I have nothing against barefoot running.

    What I object to is the nonsensical, nonscientific mumbo jumbo that the barefoot nutters go on about. They are very irrational and are unable to have a reasonable discussion about the pros and cons. As Kevin has found out, they attack the person and do not discuss the issues.

    Just follow the issue in the other thread how badly done the Kerrigan research was and in this thread about the problems with the Lieberman research. Yet when you go to the barefoot running websites they are worshipping these pieces of research. There is no point trying to discuss the serious flaws in these studies with them, as they go after you and not discuss the issue.

    To point out the flaws with these studies and point out how they have misinterpreted the conclusions and they are making claims for things that the research did not actually show .... it would be like going into a christian church and rubbishing jesus christ or going into a muslim community and saying something negative about the prophet.

    You can also guarentee that any of them that read what is written on Podiatry Arena will be dismissed by some as being because Podiatrists are snake oil salesman or something like that .... notice that this is what they say, but they still do not address the issues being raised here and elsewhere.....why is that? Why are they so incapable of discussing the issues and resort to these tactics? Why does it matter if Podiatrists are snake oil salesmen or not - what has that got to do with the issues that the barefoot running community are misrepresenting in the research????
  34. I spent the day yesterday at a local running shop as they had an event for people running London marathon to get advice from various folk. It was a great day with lots of runners asking me about footwear and injuries. Funnily enough not one of them asked me about running barefoot.

    I spoke with a few of the shop staff who are all athletes, some studying sport science at University, and the comments were along the lines of "wouldn't you damage your feet?"

    I'm open minded, running shoe manufacturers have a vested interest in terms of selling shoes, podiatrists have a vested interest in terms of selling orthoses to go into those shoes and the average runner, probably doesn't know enough to interpret the research correctly. There are issues in all the camps.

    Interesting hypothetical, lets say that the running shoe market collapsed globally today, with everyone turning their backs on running shoes and going barefoot instead. What impact would this have in terms of $$$$$'s?
  35. P.S. I'm going to order a pair of five fingers and try them for myself. When I run I do like light shoes. It took me a long time to find a shoe I really felt comfortable in. I currently use- Asics DS racers, I love them. Size US 12, Simon ;) If I don't get on with the five fingers for running in, I'll use them for the beach.
  36. Griff

    Griff Moderator

  37. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member


    What are others experiences when asking their runner-patients about barefoot running?[/QUOTE]

    I am currently in the USA, and so I have now had the opportunity to complete the definitive study on barefoot running which I am planning to publish tomorrow. Since I am in the Orange County region, I limited my sample to female runners, 110pds+/_2.0, 5'8+/- 1.2 Age 23+/_ 2.7.
    I conducted an eyes wide open, non randomised, instructional study of 38 subjecs over about half an hour, from the comfort of my Mustang convertable. I only got moved along by the cops once. Must've been the binoculars. Exclusion criteria icluded brunettes and redheads, for no particular reason.
    The fllowing results were observed:
    Blondes definitely have more fun
    California's plastic surgeons are the finestm in the world and a credit to thier craft.
    Blue running shorts,with occasional pink highlights were favored by 34 of the 38 subjects.
    None of the subjects ran barefoot coz it just 'aint cute.
    Barefoot runing has not yet made any impact on this running demographic, and I have been in touch with The Times, suggesting they go with the following lead story.
    "A Tan, blonde hair and augmentational surgury the key factors for safe running."
    Be prepared for a media storm people!
  38. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Interesting hypothetical, lets say that the running shoe market collapsed globally today, with everyone turning their backs on running shoes and going barefoot instead. What impact would this have in terms of $$$$$'s?[/QUOTE]

    jeez... I think the pedicurists would make a killing..
  39. Simon,

    You must be in the wrong part of the States. San Francisco is where it's at. Barefoot running is SO last year...
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