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vibram five fingers shop Five Benefits of Barefoot Running The idea of running down the street on a highly cushioned pair of sneakers may evoke thoughts of comfort, and running on clouds. However, many runners tend to disagree. Proponents of barefoot running claim that running in very minimal sneakers, or no shoes at all, is more natural than running in conventional, overly cushioned and highly supportive sneakers. Further, these advocates claim that there are numerous benefits to running without conventional sneakers. The scientific research surrounding the benefits of running barefoot, or in minimal shoes, has been inconclusive. Below are five potential benefits of barefoot running. Research shows that barefoot runners, or those running in minimal shoes, are more likely to land on their mid to forefoot sole, as compared to runners in conventional sneakers, who typically land on their heels. Fore and midfoot strike running gaits were believed to have been more common when humans ran barefoot or in minimal shoes, before the invention of conventional running sneakers. Further, studies show that landing on the mid to forefoot causes a runner to have shorter, faster strides, which result in a quicker turnover, and therefore, a faster pace. Barefoot running and barefoot shoes allow a runner to receive sensory feedback more readily than runners with conventional sneakers, and as a result, improves agility and equilibrium, and allows immediate form correction. Going barefoot activates the smaller muscles in the feet, ankles, legs, and hips that are responsible for better balance and coordination. Increased sensory feedback may help in injury prevention, as the runner is more aware of their surrounds, and may be more likely to avoid things such as holes in the pavement or roots in a trail. Wearing conventional running shoes weakens the muscles of the feet in a similar fashion that consistently wearing an arm brace, or a cast, weakens the muscles of the arm. Conventional sneakers tend to be stiff and overly supportive, thus not allowing adequate movement of the foot. Running barefoot, or in minimal shoes, allows a runner's feet to move and flex as nature intended, thus increasing the strength of the feet. Further, one study shows running barefoot or in minimal shoes requires greater activation of the calf muscles, compared to running with conventional sneakers. Barefoot running is quite possibly the best way for a person to run. Our bodies have taken hundreds of thousands, if not multiple millions of years to evolve a gait that enables us to run with ease. Until comparatively recently footwear wasn't an option, so as a result our musculature and bone structure is designed to run barefoot. Barefoot running can be considered to be much kinder to the knees and sole of the foot. It is quite possibly a way in which to run that will help to prevent injury. However, as with all things, it is wise to check with an expert if there is any intention of doing many miles of barefoot running for long periods of time. It is much better to run barefoot. I've been doing it for four years now, and I have had no adverse effects from it. By running barefoot, it is impossible to land in such a way that your knees absorb the impact. Instead, you land so that your calves absorb the impact. You will be surprised when you start running barefoot how sore your calf muscles are afterward. Besides, it is much better to absorb impact with a muscle than a joint. The soles of my feet have toughened up considerably, but I do not have nasty calluses like most would think. All I can say is that if you have never tried running barefoot, give it a try. Start on a smooth surface, and work up from there. Your feet toughen up very quickly. Before you know it, you'll be able to run barefoot for miles on any surface. This year, I've run about five hundred miles barefoot, almost all of it on concrete.