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The Barefoot Pointer Thread

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by BEN-HUR, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

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    Yes, another barefoot related thread. Yet this one is intended to serve the purpose of providing some educated & experienced views on its application - i.e. the practical side of things. After all, there is a misconception out there that the general field of Podiatry has a so deemed "negative" view of the concept/application; which I feel is incorrect... albeit, the field of Podiatry does (& should) have "negative" feelings towards some of the nonsensical reasoning/logic expounded for the promotion of barefoot running. This has been touched on in the other threads (one of which is now closed); however, this thread is intended to be of a more practical purpose.

    For starters, I came across the following video from Skye (HowToRunBarefoot's channel). Let's face it, stepping on stuff is of major concern when running barefoot (despite what some barefoot exponents feel) & thought that there must be info. a wee bit more thorough than the following...

    Barefoot Running: Top 10 Most Disgusting Things To Step In:

    Contrary to the title - despite there not being 10 pointers given & Skye not actually running... the following 5 are something to think about...

    1/ "Rock in foot"... "stop, dust it off... it works great".
    2/ "Wet soggy paper".
    3/ "Dead animals" ... despite the first two, I did laugh at this one :D.
    4/ "Poop (little giggle)".
    5/ "Pay attention"... "like cars". This said whilst walking in the middle of the road making a barefoot running video :eek:.

    I'll admit, Sky is cute but I just think this forum can do at least a tad better (particularly with all we've been through :rolleyes:)
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  2. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  3. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Here are some interesting Barefoot views from Frank Shorter (1972 Olympic Marathon Champion).

    He mentions an interesting test they did in the 70's using a... "friction - coefficient pad". The two people who tested the lowest on this system was Frank Shorter & Lasse Virén (four time Olympic Gold Medallist over the 5000 & 10000m in '72 & '76). I always thought Lasse ran with a smooth & light cadence/form whilst watching his races.

    I also agree with the difficulty of changing form/biomechanics beyond a certain stage of development. Once those neural pathways are laid down which are not conducive to efficient running, these have to be broken & new ones set & directed. I feel Barefoot running as a training tool can help in achieve this... although the progression rate & attainment will differ from person to person. Hence why running from a young age is certainly helpful... starting running with un-inhibiting footwear is helpful (both of which laying down conducive neural pathways for efficient running for that particular individual)... these coupled with thin air & a supportive group like training environment - is it any wonder why the East Africans have so much depth in distance running (putting aside the distractions of the Western lifestyle & novelty games such as Cricket & Rugby League).

    I should also say that Skye does have some helpful pointers. In this next video Skye talks about caring for the foot that has endured the elements... she also refers to a name that might be familiar to some on this forum. Can't say for sure but I have heard the name pop up in Podiatry circles (coincidence ???).

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  4. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Renowned running coach & researcher Dr Jack Daniels also has some pointers in going barefoot...

    The following link has a more in depth video (i.e. efficiency relation to surface)... Barefoot Running, Thirsty Thursday.

    Take home message... more adequate research needed... on a variety of surfaces. There is obviously no magic bullet or a one shoe fits all (no pun intended) mentality on this topic.

    The following issues to keep in mind on the efficiency side of things...

    I do feel barefoot running is certainly an appropriate training tool as it quickly entrenches / reinforces efficient gait and technique. It also helps gain added strength to the lower limb as well as potentially increase metabolic cost (due to greater muscle involvement) - all of which are good training incentives and subsequently conducive for better performance later (i.e. in a race). However, I don't feel barefoot running is all that conducive in a race environment (where performance / speed is usually the chief goal) due to the varied terrain, of which we have no choice over (i.e. harsh road surfaces, unforgiving/hard surfaces, broken glass etc...) as well as the higher metabolic cost that is involved (i.e. higher energy consumption due to greater muscle activity) when performed on hard surfaces.

    Research done via a treadmill has revealed barefoot running to be more costly (i.e. cost more energy to run at the same speed) compared to running with shoes on the harder surface. It is believed that this was because the treadmill was hard (similar to that of the road) and thus you have to use the leg muscles more to absorb the landing shock.

    On the other hand, tests have also revealed that each 100 grams of weight added to running shoes increases the cost of running (cost more energy to run at the same speed) by about 1 percent. “Increasing the weight of a shoe increases oxygen consumption at moderate running speeds by approximately 1% for each 100 grams of added weight”; 100 grams = 3.5 oz. (Morgan DW, Martin PE, Krahenbuhl GS. Factors Affecting Running Economy. Sports Medicine 1989; 7:310-330). This equates to about 1 minute in a marathon and about 12-15 seconds over 10km. Jack Daniels has also carried out tests which have also measured energy expenditure wearing shoes of different weight (again tests performed on a treadmill). As the shoe was lighter, the cost was less, but when the shoe was very light, the cost started going up again because very light shoes have limited shock-absorbing characteristics, so the muscles start having to work more (like with barefoot running on the treadmill).

    Then there are some people who would be quite inefficient running barefoot to any degree due to their poor structural integrity. Hence, there are quite a few variable factors to consider which some (if not many) proponents of the barefoot brigade have failed to consider when directing their views to the public.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  5. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Re: The Barefoot/Minimalist Pointer Thread

    Here is another view about the barefoot issue from renowned running enthusiast... Hal Higdon (runner, author)...

    Source: TrainingPeaks - Q&A with Hal Higdon.
  6. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Here is what I feel is a fairly balanced write-up on the issues involving barefoot running & minimalist running shoes... Should I run barefoot?

    I found the following a funny encounter...


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