How to improve running form? Well, it’s easier than you think and I may sound like a broken record, but going barefoot will help you control your forefoot strike more automatically than wearing cushioned running shoes. However, for most barefoot running seems impractical, so another easy alternative to improve your forefoot strike is running in barefoot inspired running shoes.
How to Improve Running Form
Experts found that runners who preferred the standard running shoe actually benefited more biomechanically from barefoot shoes.
- Because injury rates are consistently high, experts are unable to make any definitive recommendations regarding the role of ‘shoe technology’ in preventing injury, at this point.
In the complicated realm of running-related injuries, nothing seems to work, except for going barefoot, or run in shoes that mock being barefoot.
Under-Heel Cushioning Leads to Trouble
Current research shows that a cushioned heeled running shoe, worn by most joggers, promote heel strike with foot strike position occurring in front of the knee, leading to peak impact forces the body cannot absorb.
In addition to causing heel strike, a cushioned heeled running shoe has been found to increase ground contact time which may allow more time to increase braking and the amount of compressive forces to act on the knee-joint.
In contrast, other studies have shown that runners in flat running shoes take smaller steps when running and had reduced heel strike potential.
- barefoot running shoes also reduce ankle stiffness and increase ankle range of motion
- barefoot running shoes allow natural foot motions, optimizing shock absorption in the foot
- one study found that barefoot running shoes reduced knee angular motion compared to the standard running shoe during treadmill running
Many researchers and healthcare professionals are embracing the idea of using barefoot running shoes to help injured runners improve their biomechanics.
- researchers are now questioning the efficacy of stability elements and excessive cushioning in a running shoe given the lack of evidence supporting that cushioned footwear prevents injury in runners
Matter of fact, cushioned heeled running shoes should come with a cautionary disclaimer that they impair running form and increase force production, or “run with caution”.
More on the Dangers of Heel Striking:
Heel Pain – Find out how landing on your heel during running deforms the heel pad, causing heel pain.
Stress Fractures -Heel strike running generates bone breaking repetitive stress shocks that crack your bones.
Sore Back – Researchers have linked heel strike running to lower back pain. Learn how the lower back takes a beating every time you come down hard on your heels while you run.
The Biggest Problem with Heel Striking – Find out the #1 problem that plaques a heel strike runner.
Lieberman et al., 2010. Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners. Nature, 463:531-35.
BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.