The amount of benefits of the barefoot running technique are endless. For instance, the most effective way to tackle learning forefoot running is by barefoot running. This does not mean you must convert fully to barefoot running; it just means that running barefoot 5 minutes or more per day, is enough to properly prepare you for forefoot running in minimalist footwear.
Benefits of the Barefoot Running Technique
The benefits of barefoot running also unleashes a multitude of health-related improvements. Below lists the shod running related-injuries running barefoot was found to alleviate:
Hip Running Injuries – If you are worried that running without shoes will hurt your hips, think again! Barefoot running actually reduces hip internal rotation and torque.
Shin Injuries – For many runners, shin splints just wont go away! Running barefoot helps position the foot in a way that removes stress and strain from the tibialis anterior.
Foot Weakness – If don’t have strong feet, you will after ditching your shoes! Loads of research supports that barefoot running, walking, even doing household chores barefooted strengthens the foot’s intrinsic musculature.
Low Back Pain – Many runners who grew up running barefoot, such as Ethiopian runners, allow their torso to sway back and forth. Torso rotation is part of the barefoot running technique and is essential for deflecting impact loads from the back.
Sciatic Nerve Pain – Stimulating the bottoms of the feet via barefooting essentially ‘wakes up’ under-active nerves, not only in the feet, but in the back, too. By running barefoot, you correct dysfunctional neural pathways between the feet and the back which may alleviate sciatic nerve problems.
Proprioception Disorder – Here is another major problem in most shod runners. Their feet have lots the ability to feel the ground and as a result, the communication between the feet and the lower leg joints become extremely frayed. Gaining better proprioception is the healthiest part of going bare.
Foot Pain After Running – You will be stunned to find out how going barefoot is a direct route to accelerate recovery after a long run.
Chronic Foot Discomfort – Once your feet are weak, they are unable to tolerable normal weight-bearing loads, thereby causing persistent pain. To strengthen your feet, make sure you walk barefoot on uneven surfaces as this will guarantee to strengthen every aspect of your foot!
Earthing – The great thing about going barefoot is that it helps drain free-radicals into the earth and replaces them with free-electrons which helps reduce inflammation.
Boosts Brain Power – In addition to strengthening the feet and lower legs, running barefoot also strengthens the mind by boosting brain power. A new study found a remarkable breakthrough in that running barefoot led to better cognitive performance than shod running. Another study also found a relationship between barefoot activity and heightened cognition (learning) in children.
Stronger Glutes and Hips – According to senior physiotherapist Dr Senthil Venugopal, walking backwards while barefoot, especially on rougher surfaces, helps build stronger butt and hip muscles.
Running barefoot for minutes a day is really important in keeping your feet strong and your forefoot running form in-check.
Running barefoot also protects the joints far better than any running shoe. For instance, barefoot running improves:
- Dynamic Ankle Strength
- Mechanical Efficiency of the Knees and Ankles
- Propagation of Shock Waves on the Leg
- Abnormal Pronation
- Foot Weakness Caused by Modern Running Shoes
- Bone Strength
Tips on how to run barefoot with a forefoot strike:
- How to Use Your Feet when Running Barefoot
- To Get the Most out of Barefoot Running, Start Early!
- To Prevent Heel Strike, Avoid Running Barefoot on Soft Surfaces!
- Always Remember, Bare is Always Better
- Why Softer Surfaces are a No-No
To fully understand the exact mechanisms that allow barefoot runners to avoid higher rates and magnitudes of impact loading, they fully maximize impact moderating behavior (see video below).
Dont want to run barefoot all the time? Running in barefoot like shoes has similar effects on foot health and biomechanics as barefoot running. Here are the best shoes that feel barefoot.
Just when you think going barefoot couldn’t get any better, here are more reasons going barefoot is incredibly important for your well-being.
More From Run Forefoot:
Why Forefoot Running is Better – Learn why forefoot running is helpful to performance and injury prevention.
Heel Strike vs Forefoot Strike – An engineer’s perspective on the differences between forefoot running and heel strike running.
Why You Keep Getting Injured– Here I list all the injuries that are linked to heel strike running.
Shoe Reviews – My reviews on the best barefoot running shoes for forefoot running.
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.