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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. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    You have to make a distinction here. Generally, the barefoot running community is making claims about the science supporting barefoot running and misusing that science to back up those claims when it does not (thats is pretty much what this thread is about). I do not see anyone making claims about the science of running shoes backing up the shoe recommendations that are made. There is no science to support that, but no one is claiming that there is.

    HOWEVER, just because there is no good science supporting barefoot running or running shoes, its the misuse of the claims that I keep having the issues with. Where has someone claimed there is evidence supporting the current prevalent paradigm of prescirbing running shoes?

    HOWEVER, despite that lack of evidence the current running shoe prescribing paradigm (that I actually have a problem with) it is best practice, it is widely used and if a licensed health professional deviated from it without a good rationale and there was an adverse outcome, they are risking their right to practice and their could be legal consequences.

    I also have a problem with the way the barefoot community continually point to how bad shoes are as proof barefoot running is better (despite the fact that there is no evidence for that either!). I don't get that logic. Why not try and proove that barefoot running is beneficial rather than footwear is bad. If the current paradigm of running shoe prescribing is shown to not be right by the science (and that is starting to happen), how does that show barefoot running is better? It could just mean we got the presciriibing protocol wrong and need to modify that.
  2. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Michael - you have to realise that we are licensed and if we deviate from what is 'standard', 'acceptable' practice then there are consequences for us.

    Take these two egs:
    1. I recently came across a barefoot running site in which someone who had been diagnosed with posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. They were asking for advice about their barefoot running. They were given the usual spiel about too much too soon etc and they needed to correct that etc etc. They actually need to stop all running; be in the most aggressive motion control shoe possible and really rigid inverted orthotics. If they do not, the consequences are major surgical reconstruction of the rearfoot and a lifetime of problems. It was clear that those giving the advice had no idea as to what posterior tibial tendon dysfunction was, its seriousness and the consequences of it. Can they be held accountable for the bad advice they gave? A licensed or registered health professional certainly would be.

    2. Another barefoot runner said he was diagnosed with painful hallux limitus (which generally means some osteoarthritis in the joint). He/she was asking for advice. All the advice was to keep barefoot running; to stick at it; to work through the pain; etc etc. I assume that those giving the advice had no idea what hallux limitus was and the consequences. Barefoot running requires more dorsiflexion at the first MPJ and that is disastrous for those with hallux limitus; they need to be into a shoe yesterday with a rigid forefoot to restrict that motion. Can those giving the advice to keep running barefoot be held accountable? I certainly would be if I gave that sort of advice.
  3. Neither do I.

    I know...and I basically said that.

    So in other words: Because this is the way we've always done it, we'll keep doing it this way until something else comes to light so we don't get in trouble? I can't help but wonder, then: What if barefoot running had become the "best practice" paradigm and there was a small undercurrent of people pushing running shoes. What would podiatrists say then? I understand it's hypothetical, but an interesting question.

    Why can't you do both? Politicians do it all the time. Ads come out on TV talking about how bad candidate B is while puffing up and promoting candidate A's qualifications. It's human nature, right or wrong.

    As far as I'm concerned, I don't see a problem with barefoot runners saying, "We think running barefoot is better than shoes AND shoes do bad things to your feet like make them sweat, promote fungal growth, cause ingrown toenails, and promote the formation of blisters." If a person believes both are true, why force them to argue only one or the other?

    It doesn't necessarily prove that barefoot running is better, but it doesn't discredit any assertions of the barefoot running community, either.

    Be careful to criticize the barefoot running community for making bad claims about the benefits of running without shoes without proper scientific data. Someone could easily turn that around and criticize the field of podiatry for recommending running shoes without proper scientific data.

    The barefoot running community may be relying primarily on anecdotal evidence to support their claims, but isn't that what the field of podiatry is doing (and just using fancy terms like "the existing paradigm" and "best practices"?)

    I honestly don't fully understand why podiatrists get their panties in such a bunch over this. It's not like the barefoot running community is making all these claims behind a leader with "MD", "DO" or "DPM" behind their name. We're a bunch of hoodlums who aren't nearly as "qualified" as you all are. What are you so afraid of? You admit that the barefoot running "revolution" is just a figment in the whole scheme of things. You obviously think that the science behind some of the claims is faulty. Many of you even think this is a fad. With all due respect, why have you spent more than 25 pages in this thread jabbering on and on and on about the same things over and over and over again if this is a flash in the pan? I understand that there are some barefoot runners that are getting hurt -- and that's obviously bad -- but isn't it a relatively small number of people in the whole scheme of things? Isn't all of this worry on the podiatry community's part kind of like trying to kill a mosquito with a rocket launcher?

    Finally, you all ask a lot of questions of the barefoot running community. Let me tell you that you likely will NEVER get answers that you like. NEVER. Reading through the dozens of pages of your discussions here, it's clear to me that some of you have made up your mind about barefoot running. I truly believe that, no matter how well a study is constructed or how much the results of that study are contrary to what you believe, you will try to find any way to discredit the study and "scientifically" hold on to your predispositions. Change is hard and changing our beliefs is even harder. You all may claim until you're blue in the face that you base all of your decisions off of the science, but I don't fully believe that. I think you've spent 25+ pages discussing this because deep down inside many of you are threatened that everything you learned in school and everything you've practiced may be wrong, or at least misguided.

    I know that this post will bring lots of heat. I have a feeling that I'll see lots of questions and accusations shot back in my direction. I may even be banned from this forum for it. But read this:

    Our feet were NOT given to us to hold shoes on the ends of our legs. Shoes and orthotics are NOT the natural condition. Society may be addicted to the notion that shoes are necessary, but some of us believe otherwise.

    I get it that you all spend your entire schooling being trained on how to fix feet INSIDE A SHOE. But what if you need to think "outside the shoe" and focus more on rehabbing feet and legs to function well without footwear or orthotics.

    If I get whiplash and a slipped disk from a car accident, my ortho doc doesn't put me in a neck brace the rest of my life. The brace is used as a temporary fix to help heal, and then surgery and/or chiropractic and/or PT is used to rehabilitate.

    I truly believe it's the same with feet. Proper healing of feet should not mean that a patient can never go barefoot again. If an orthotic or special shoe is the answer to most problems, that answer is incomplete. Sure, some people may be past the point of no return, but how many aren't? How many people, with temporary orthotic use, PT, strengthening and yes, even barefoot activity can become less dependent on shoes.

    REALLY THINK: What is true healing of feet? Is it helping the foot get to a place where it can function freely or giving it a life sentence inside a shoe?
  4. But you make it sound as though bad advice is unique to the barefoot running community. I'd bet that if you found a barefoot running website giving out bad advice, I could find 10 "normal" running websites that are doing the same. Is it right? No, but it's sure not anything new and it's sure not as widespread as what's been out there long before the barefoot running craze took off.
  5. Thanks for this posting Barefoot Michael....now we know much more clearly who we are dealing with.....:bang:
  6. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    We certainly not afraid of the barefoot running community given all the injuires they are getting and the extra business that it is bring in for sports medicine clinics is great. Just ask anyone who treats a lot of runners about how many are happening.
    Not the case at all - you just showing how little you know about scientific research methodology
    We will start taking you seriously when you can tell us how we should treat things like posterior tibial tendon dysfunction; or hallux limitus; or plantar plate ruptures without footwear? Do you think its possible?
  7. footface

    footface Active Member

    Interesting topic, thanks guys for the debate. I'm a browser on this forum (this is my first post) as I'm not a health professional but I do have a strong interest in biomechanics, foot and lower limb injuries and running in general.

    I do some of my running barefoot but all my quality training and racing I do in shoes. I quite like barefoot and it has helped my technique (plus toughened my feet up a bit) but I don't believe it is the complete solution to all running injuries. I still believe that the main cause of running injury is overuse.

    I'm hedging my bets basically. Thanks again for the debate, real science is hard to come by these days.
  8. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Kevin, I also wore Onitsuka-Tigers, both racing flats and track spikes from 1972-1975. Both were light but not lighter than VFFs. Also, when comparing Onitsuka-Tigers to VFF, you are comparing apples to oranges. They both have a completely different feel when running in them.

    I'm not sure I understand this. When you refer to old shoe design technologies and old techniques, are you referring to racing flats? If so, they have never gone away, they made racing flats in 1970s and they are continuing to make them today. What has changed is that the racing flat of the 1970's were actually heavy by today's standards, weighing around 10 oz. With the technology today, the racing flat weighs 4 or 5 oz's. Nothing has been discarded, the shoe concept still exists, it just weighs half as much because better materials are available.

    What you don't realize is that many record holders and world class runners are doing a significant amount of barefoot running as a training tool. They show up at races in racing flats because of their protective qualities but that doesn't mean they don't do a lot of training barefoot in preparation.

    To give you a few examples, Anton Krupica runs 30-40 miles per week barefoot as part of his 150 mile training routine. This year in your back yard, he came in second in the Western States 100 miler by a few minutes. Both first and second place broke Scott Jureck's existing record which was already ridiculously fast by over 20 minutes.

    The record holder of the Pikes Peak marathon and the Leadville trail 100 is held by Matt Carpenter who also does a considerable amount of his running barefoot. When racing, he uses a custom pair of flats made by Nike the weigh only 3 oz's. The second fastest time in Leadville is held by Anton Krupica.

    My point is that in spite of world class runners showing up at races with shoes, that doesn't imply that they don't do at least part of their training barefoot.

  9. Yet the point is: they race wearing shoes. Thus, they must perceive a benefit from this, even it is just environmental protection. If they believed they would be faster racing barefoot, they'd be racing barefoot. Yet they don't.

    My bike is as light as I can make it with components that are strong enough to withstand the forces of the race (bmx cruiser class). I could fit lighter components, but they would snap. I could run the bike without tyres and tubes, which might save a Kg of rotational weight. But it would still have a negative influence on the outcome of a race, not a positive one...

    Indeed, if mass is key: a loss of bling, watches (got to start the watch at the start of a race in case the timing chip I have fixed to my shoe is telling porkies- Jeez), sunglasses etc, would probably help more than loosing the shoes for many runners.
  10. I don't have enough knowledge of these conditions to address them, but I think you're missing my overall point.

    I fully understand that some people's feet are past the "point of no return" when it comes to what a lifetime of awful footwear and activity has done to their feet.

    In many -- and probably MOST -- cases, however, I bet that most people's feet are NOT. It seems like the solution almost always is "we have an orthotic for that," when maybe the solution should be physical therapy or other treatments to get patients' feet back to a more natural condition ON THEIR OWN instead of exclusively relying solely on a shoe or other device to fix it.

    Granted, most people in society regularly wear shoes, but that doesn't mean providers should treat patients in such a way that they HAVE to wear shoes or orthotics all the time for the rest of their lives. That's a disservice, I think.
  11. OK. Yet... You'll have a pop anyway...

    Thank you and good night. When I want advice on foot orthotic therapy from someone, who by their own admission doesn't "have the knowledge" about it, you'll be the last person I'll call.

    Too many people contributing to this forum who shouldn't be and they have been drawn to this site by this thread, Craig. IMHO.

    If my mrs joined up and asked a question about her painful toe, as a lay person her post would be removed, seen it tons of times before..........
  12. Oh, now come on. I was speaking about those three specific conditions that he listed. Besides, I doubt that's the ONLY three conditions that podiatrists treat.

    I did look up those three conditions to find out a little more about them, though. Let me ask this: *Could* physical therapy and reconditioning be an option for patients with these conditions? It may not be your standard treatment, but could it potentially work?

    Hey, if you want to kick me off this board, fine. Keep regurgitating the same insults of barefoot runners without me here. ("nutters?" Come on, you're professionals.) Continue finding every excuse you can to discredit something that MANY people have found benefit in, even if some have gotten injured. And by the way, let me remind you that shod runners get injured all the time, too.

    A passing thought: When I got the stress fracture in my left heel last winter, I discovered something profound. I ended up with an orthopedic sports doctor who said to me, "I don't have a problem with you running barefoot and I'm not going to tell you to stop running barefoot. I just want to help you get back to where you want to be." He and my PT did, and I have been running barefoot ever since without injury. No special shoes or orthotics needed.

    His philosophy does not seem to be shared by most docs here. Why is that?
  13. So you have knowledge on other medical conditions of the foot, but not these conditions? You tell me, you're the one who's looked it up on the t'internet. What does the evidence tell you? How would you treat the three conditions that Craig listed? What is it that you do/ did for employment? Perhaps those of us who have spent our entire working careers trying to help those with foot problems might learn something from a plumber, electrician... If you came forth and said you had a medical background, it may help.
  14. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Simon, you are not quite getting it. It is not about whether it is faster racing barefoot, it is about racing faster period. The elite athletes I know combined with my own experience shows me that running barefoot or in shoes that only offer protection to your skin while in training will help your performance while in shoes. Not which is faster but how to combine the options to become the fastest. This is not a black or white concept, rather one of optimizing training to produce the best racing results. Not a published study but the findings of those who know what works best.

  15. Dana, I do get it, by running faster than anyone else has ever done over a set distance, the athlete wins fame and fortune for themselves. If barefoot was the best way to achieve this, they'd be doing it.

    According to you, shoe mass is key. But also you claim that running with less mass on the foot during training provides enhanced performance while running with increased mass on the foot during competition. How does that work?
  16. Dodging my question with questions of your own, I see. And you criticize barefoot runners for not answering YOUR questions. Hmm...

    I just want to know about returning your patients to barefoot, NATURAL function.

    Since this is where a lot of podiatrists hang out, this is where I figured I could ask these questions. You're the foot professionals. Why is it so hard to answer my questions since you're the experts in this field? I'm not asking for a specific diagnosis for myself. I'm asking them because I'm willing to admit that I don't have all the answers, just an ideal that I think podiatrists should strive for. I just want to know: Thinking outside the box, is natural barefoot function more attainable -- even if it's not something you've been trained for or typically practiced in your career?

    I don't see how except to give you ammunition to fire back at me. But since you asked, I work as an audio-visual technician for a pediatric hospital. I spend my day walking around our large facility helping fellow staffers use the projectors and other equipment in conference rooms.

    What ELSE I will tell you about my background is that I've been exploring or promoting barefoot activity for more than 5 years. I've found a great sense of satisfaction from it and believe many others can too. For the record, I walk an average of 11,000 steps every day in minimalist footwear for my job. I have VERY strong feet from it and nary a sign of foot, ankle, knee or other leg problems. Do I have fancy letters on the end of my name? No, but that doesn't mean I can't know a thing or two from my experiences and what I've heard from many others.

    Do you walk exclusively in minimalist footwear or barefoot? Have you been a barefoot runner and successfully returned to it after an injury? Don't discredit someone just because they're not a DPM. You might just learn a thing or two, even if it's not from a scientific study.
  17. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    You DON'T get it. They are using barefoot running as a training tool. What is so hard to understand about that simple concept?

    I said "the heavier the shoe is, the further away it is from perfect" when we were discussing putting a magnet system in shoes.

    Shoe mass is an important variable. Are you arguing that point? Shoe mass is only one variable, it is not just about mass, but I think you know that.

    Simon, I'll give you a hint, think about all of the variables that come into play when running barefoot or with a very low mass shoe. When in competition, the elite runner wears shoes that weigh 4 or 5 oz so it's not like they are increasing mass to any significance from what they might be wearing or not wearing in training.

  18. Craig:

    You might as well close this thread now since we are getting nowhere. I really don't want this thread to degenerate into becoming filled with a meaningless and endless stream of non-medical professionals giving us their opinions based on their feelings about shoes and barefoot running.
  19. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Exactly, which is the point of this thread we continually see on barefoot sites statement like this one earlier in this thread:
    No one has yet shown us that science.
  20. DaVinci

    DaVinci Well-Known Member

    I agree

    The most recent contributions are from someone who is coming across like a lunatic with irational rants. They clearly have no idea of the basics of foot and leg biomechanics, let alone the ethical and legal restraints of 'best practice' and the use of evidence when it comes to clinical practice.

    I would take them more seriously if they could convince me that they actually knew what they were talking about when it came to the lower limb, but their understanding is not even logical, let alone consistent with the research evidence.

    Actually, on second thoughts maybe we should be encouraging them. I do not treat many runners, only 6 in the last 10-12 months. 3 of them were barefoot runners. Thats 50%. Certainly makes a mockery of the claims that podiatrists are worried about barefoot running taking away business.
  21. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    It is approaching that stage, but its the usual damned if I do and damned if I don't.....I get abused for doing it and abused for not doing it. Depending on who had the "last worditis" depends on who I get the abuse from.

    We have a clear rule about patients seeking advice for their own problems due to the legal ramifications of it. I have deleted many a thread on that and get a flurry of abusive emails for things like "podiatrists protecting their own" etc etc ... ironic thing is that when they join here they agree not to post messages about asking advice for their own problems...don't figure that they complain.

    We have a lot of non-podiatrists making valuable contributions to many topics, but at some stage those contributions can cease to add value and become:
    Point taken.

    I will monitor it over the weekend. The last thing I want is for the barefoot running community accusing us of stifling debate, but there is no point in it continuing if nothing of value gets added.
  22. So...you all are unwilling to discuss the merits of barefoot running with an actual barefoot runner who ran successfully before and after injury because that barefoot runner doesn't have a DPM or what you believe is a proper scientific study?

    So...it doesn't matter that, even though there are some barefoot runners who are getting hurt -- I admit that's happening -- there are lots of barefoot runners who have dealt with injury far less since shedding shoes? I'd think somebody here would want to stand up, take notice and understand why that's happening.

    So...all other arguments aside, barefoot running is invalid and ridiculous because Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi don't run their marathons barefoot?


    So...when you get tired of having a reasonable conversation with a barefoot runner, you make unprofessional, unscientific accusations of their mental instability and throw insults around?

    Anything I missed?

    I'm willing to discuss barefoot running with you as someone who DOES IT. I'm willing to discuss what it's like to run on various surfaces without shoes, how the skin of the feet toughens from this practice and answer common misconceptions about running barefoot like "what happens if you step on broken glass?" No, I don't have research behind me and no, I don't have the legal liabilities that you have, but YOU have a barefoot runner right here in front of you. I am friends with several barefoot runners online and in person, some of which have run numerous marathons and longer with nothing on their feet.

    You want to have meaningful conversation? Let's do it, but you have to keep an open mind and stop insulting us.
  23. DrPod

    DrPod Active Member

    I guess if you give someone enough rope, then sooner or later they will eventually hang themselves.
  24. BarefootPT

    BarefootPT Welcome New Poster

    I have been sitting on the sidelines for several years on this site and learning a lot, but that last post from Michael has prompted me to post. I am a physical therapist and a barefoot runner (though mostly in VFF). I started barefoot running after falling for all the hype and now have long period of being injury free which I did not have previously. I am an advocate of barefoot running, but have never used it in the treatment of any runner who has an injury and do not think I will ever do that. I do not preach to them, but if they want my help if they want to do it I will do what I can for them.

    And yes, barefoot running does help some people who have a history of injuries, but I am also treating a number of runners who have got injuries from barefoot running and probably should not be running without running shoes.

    I think the "barefoot running community" have a lot to answer for in the claims they make along with the rhetoric and hype (that I am now embarrassed that I originally fell for). They need to be and should be held accountable for these. I am appalled at how science is being used by "my" community to justify what “we” are doing. I even recently went to a talk at my local running shoe shop given by Barefoot "guru". I had to leave after the first 10 minutes as I could not stand the embarrassment. They could not even get the basic foot anatomy right, let alone understand the basic biomechanics of running.

    Michael, you are just ranting nonsense. Having rational and intelligent conversations with anyone who wants to rant is not possible. You are coming across looking quite silly.

    I have seen people like you in other forums before. I suspect you are here for a fight and you want to get banned. I suspect you want to get banned so you can wear this like a badge of honor. Hopefully Admin and no one else here falls for it.
  25. How is it nonsense that I have successfully run barefoot for several months after an injury (that was admittedly caused by poor training decisions on my part)? It happened.

    How is it nonsense that I personally know a barefoot runner who has completed 70+ marathons with no shoes on his feet and injury free? It happened -- and continues to.

    I can't speak for the whole community and I can't personally justify calling anyone a "guru" about anything, but I can share my personal experiences as a (fully) barefoot runner -- soles to ground.

  26. footface

    footface Active Member

    You're not doing yourself any favours dude. People on here want to discuss the debate about barefoot running from a scientific point of view, not argue with someone who is obsessed by it. If you have something relevant to add (other than ranting on and trying to start arguments) then go ahead, if not then I suggest you zip it.

    Some of us are genuinely interested in the science behind this subject and it's a shame this thread gets taken up with meaningless guff like this. Chill out and listen to the research.

    If barefoot is working for you, happy days. That doesn't mean it will work for everyone, nothing useful is ever proven by a study of one.
  27. You mistake "defending barefoot running from personal insults" with obsession. I just want some straight answers -- which I haven't gotten -- and to offer up the perspectives of a barefoot runner. Left to your own devices, you all paint a very wide brush that running barefoot is bad. Heck, one of you even operates a website that says as much. (I know this with great certainty, actually.) If I'm obsessed with defending barefoot running, that site's creator is just as guilty of being obsessed with vilifying it.

    What do you think I've been trying to do?!?! Sure, I don't have a brand new properly-formed scientific study that proves any benefits to barefoot running, but I do have my own experiences and the experiences of others (that I personally know) to support the concept that there are benefits for many from barefoot running. All I'm getting in return is, "If you don't have science, we don't want to hear it."

    You all have made it very clear that there is NO science behind this. There is NO research, and somehow this thread is now beyond 25 pages long.

    What does the science say? It says no one can prove shod or barefoot running is good or bad. The only "good" science that you accept out there about running compares shoes to shoes, not shoes to barefoot, right? It seems to me that you can't use that science to make any claims about running in bare feet. So I guess you don't have much else to talk about. Am I wrong?

    Okay, now I get to use this: :bang:

    I'm sure it's easy for you all to be biased against barefoot running when the only barefoot runners you see are the ones who've been hurt. I don't deny that there are people who are getting hurt running barefoot, but really, there are LOTS of us out there who continue on and are quite successful running without shoes. We don't show up in studies because there aren't any. We don't show up in your clinics because we don't get hurt. In fact, we don't all show up online or have blogs about what we're doing because, well, lots of people just don't do that.

    Do these people not exist to you because you can't scientifically quantify them?

    I'm done going around and around trying to get some clear answers from you all. I don't feel like it's too much for the professionals here to share some of your thoughts on what I'm saying; all I'm getting in return is, "Dude, stop ranting. You're embarrassing yourself." Funny, I don't feel embarrassed. I'm just disappointed that I'm seeing the same things that you've accused others of: dodging questions, making personal attacks and making assertions that aren't based on science.
  28. By the way, arguing that a study is bad doesn't prove anything about anything else. If you disagree with Lieberman's research, fine, but that doesn't mean it sheds a negative light on barefoot running. I'm seeing that sentiment pop up a lot.
  29. footface

    footface Active Member

    You are mistaking me for a podiatrist, I'm a runner. I come on here because I like to hear a more scientific argument for and against.

    I don't disagree with Lieberman's research, but I think you have to try and look at things sensibly and that study (as most studies do) has flaws. I actually do barefoot running myself as a small part of my training because I do think it helps me a bit, that doesn't mean I have to go out and shout at everybody and force them all to "see the light" and get rid of their shoes. I have a mate who is an elite athlete, wins races regularly and I've never known him to get injured, he has never run barefoot in his life and doesn't need to. Would you try and preach to him?

    There's no point coming on a site like this and spouting off a load of anecdotal evidence, because scientist's aren't interested in anecdotal evidence.
  30. Not once have I said to anyone here, "You should run barefoot" or "Podiatrists, you should tell your patients to run barefoot."

    My whole point is to ask that everyone here keep an open mind and not make all of YOUR accusations of barefoot running on YOUR anecdotal evidence (i.e. barefoot zealots who imply Lieberman and McDougall are barefoot gods OR those who come into your clinics injured). There's a much bigger picture out there and you shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water.

    You know, if he's found a program that works well for him -- and it sounds like he has -- I'd say let it be. As they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    But the barefoot running movement isn't just about elite athletes. In fact, the whole sport of running isn't just about elite athletes. There are LOTS of everyday runners out there who get hurt time after time. There are athletes out there that are tired of buying expensive shoes several times a year. There are other runners who just want to get back to a more natural, grounded way of living and working out. For all of them barefoot running might be worth a try.
  31. JB1973

    JB1973 Active Member

    Michael (and anyone else), if you look through all this thread (and its a fair bit of reading!) the overridding messages from the majority of podiatrists are:

    barefoot running can be useful for some- for peats sake some of us do it/did it- but there is no evidence to support leiberman or mcdougalls claims that some people are giving as science.

    there is also scant evidence that bells and whistles trainers are any better but the "shod community" dont seem to have the same zealotry as the "barefoot community"

    please please folks if you want to come on and have a chat about stuff, dont resort to petty arguments. there is some right good stuff on this thread but i'm starting to get a little tired of it as kevin, craig, simon etc are just repeating repeating repeating.

    How is it nonsense that I personally know a barefoot runner who has completed 70+ marathons with no shoes on his feet and injury free? It happened -- and continues to.
    its not nonsense- well done. but as a healthcare professional who is advising patients regarding injury prevention/rehab or whatever we have to be very careful as to what we advocate. There does seem to be some evidence to suggest barefoot running can be detrimental (ie stress fractures etc) so i am potentially leaving myself open to problems. you have no such comeback ( and on the subject of repeating i'm sure this has been said ten times this thread).

    i kinda dont want to read anything else you have to say - and thats not me dodging questions or issues- its just i dont think the conversation wil be rational.

    running is magic (did a 10k today in a PB - no barefooters in sight incidently), why cant we all just enjoy it in whatever form- or is that just too much to ask.
  32. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Simon, there is a variable that I don't think that you and Kevin are considering. For the elite runner, running is their job, yet the amount of prize money they get for winning races or placing high is far from enough to financially sustain them. The elite runner often is able to remain financially viable through contracts with shoe companies. The shoe companies, sponsor these athletes in exchange for their product endorsements.

    What the elite runner wears or doesn't wear on their feet is influenced more by economics than by bio mechanics. Given, the elite runner might want to eat, they will probably be wearing shoes for the cameras. Given they are wearing shoes, what are they wearing? Take Michael Johnson famous for his 200M and 400M accomplishments and probably just as famous for his Nike shoes made of Gold Zytel. Zytel is a super light, super strong material developed by Dupont.

    Michael Johnson's shoes weighed 30 grams. You can label these shoes however you'd like, racing flats, racing spikes, minimal shoes, barefoot shoes! All I know is that Michael Johnsons shoes weighed less than my socks. I would imagine the only way to get his shoes to weigh less, would be to tattoo the Nike Swoosh logo on the side of his BARE FOOT.

    When Kevin says he's waiting for an elite athlete to break world records running barefoot, the shoe contracts might prevent that from ever happening but I would say that shoes weighing 1 oz is close enough for me.

    Looking at the shoes road racers are wearing, you can also label them as racing flats, minimal shoes or barefoot shoes. My point is that given the elite runner must wear shoes to honor their contracts with shoe companies, they will wear light shoes not unlike what is being called "bare foot shoes".

    A point I made earlier with examples is that when you take the cameras and shoe marketing away, how does the elite athlete train when money isn't involved? Chances are, you might find them running barefoot part of the time.

    A senior shoe designer from New Balance, Chris Wawrousek said the following on the New Balance web site when talking about NB new minimal shoes. Tony and Kyle are Anton Krupica and Kyle Scaggs, they are two of NB's poster athletes, the 100 is the MT 100, an ultralight trail running shoe. “Well, the 100 started out as this shoe that we wanted to make specifically for Tony and Kyle and really aim it at racing. As so often happens, in the broader market it was almost too early for us to come out with something quite so extreme. As a designer, it was disappointing, because the feedback we were getting from Tony and Kyle was very specific – things like the drop in the last. But these were things that the broader consumer base wasn't really ready for."

    What is interesting is that the shoe companies have done such a great job marketing heavier shoes with heal lifts that now their own designers are struggling with what the consumer is expecting vs what they would like to design going forward and what they might believe is the "best" running shoe.

  33. I had some BMX wheels made out of this in 1983
    In a track based sprint event such as the 200m or 400m, what advantage might a spiked running shoe have over a barefoot running?

    Something to do with the spikes perchance? You could always grow your toe-nails like a cheetah, but these probably wouldn't help too much on tartan; maybe on cinder?
  34. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Given the popularity of this thread based on almost 800 posts and over 55,000 views, this is a chart buster for the Podiatry Arena. Both the Podiatry community and the running community are very interested in this hot topic. Like it or not, I would expect the barefoot/minimal shoe discussion to go on for years to come.

    Before even considering killing this thread, I would think about it's popularity on this forum and the importance of the barefoot and minimal movement has on the podiatry community.

    If these movements are truly fads, they will die soon enough and this thread will die with it. If it remains an important subject, this discussion will simply reappear under other threads.

    Like many internet forums, we need to sort through a lot of posts filled with people blowing smoke. When you find that occasional diamond that has great value, it makes sorting through all of the meaningless words worthwhile.

    My advice to those who are no longer finding the posts in this thread as having value, simply stop reading and contributing to this thread.

    Dana, SNMP (Senior Non-Medical Professional)
  35. It's whether the mission statement of this forum is being met or not that is key. We could have 500 barefoot runners all contributing here, upping the hit rate daily. However, if zero podiatrists were contributing would this thread still have a place here?

    This would appear apt :sinking: Great ship; but fit for purpose? When was the last time two or more podiatrists actually discussed anything between themselves in this thread, rather than a podiatrist answering a lay-man?
  36. And THAT'S not even really happening, either.
  37. No, and that's the point. Thanks for your support.
  38. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Simon, good point. I would say if the podiatrists stop responding here, the debate would end and the thread would die it's own death.

    Dana, SNMP
  39. Yep. Providing the primary goal of this site is still recognised. So I guess that this is once again, good bye Dana. Let me have your size and address and I'll send those gussets to you. I really do think that putting your foot into a gusset will be just like heaven for you.
  40. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Simon, thinking about it, in the US, for the last 10 or 15 yrs, the stores have been selling "Aqua socks". They are rubber soled shoes with nylon uppers priced similarly to your gussets. Thank you for your offer but if I want a cheap alternative to VFF, I can just go pick up a pair of aqua socks for $8 from my local department store. Money is not an issue for me so can buy whatever shoes I want. I really don't need to worry about cheap substitutes.

    I did a search on aqua socks and I laughed when I found the barefoot community has already been trying them out! Some people love them, some say their feet move around in them too much. For those in favor, their thoughts are in line with yours.

    Last week when I was doing my 20 mile trail run in VFF, I was thinking about some of the new lines of shoes coming out from Merrell and New Balance. They are minimal shoes with minimal heel to toe drop, light and flexible. Both shoe lines will actually have Vibram soles. The differentiating factor between these shoes and VFF is the fact that they don't have separate pockets for each toe that allows them to spread and move independently.

    While I was running up and down the trails I could feel my toes spreading and providing stability to my forefoot as I was landing on the ground. I could feel my toes grabbing into the dirt and sand as I was climbing hills. You can question the effectiveness of allowing your toes to participate in the process of running, they may contribute, maybe not. I guess an official study will need to be conducted on toe effectiveness in running to know for sure. Regardless, it is a great feeling to have your toes be able to spread and grab on as you run along.

    With respect to wearing the new Merrell's, New Balance, Gussets, Aqua Socks, I think I'll stick with the toe shoes to remind me that I do have toes at the ends of those clumps of meat.

    I like to use the analogy of wearing big down mittens on your hands as being similar to wearing traditional running shoes vs wearing thin, leather gloves as being VFF. If you want to actually have use of your hands or feet, drop the mittens in favor of gloves and traditional running shoes in favor of VFF.

    Dana, SNMP
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