This article was brought to my attention by my friends at the Natural Running Store and I, like them, was very surprised by the results. It’s been assumed for the last few years that barefoot running is more efficient than running in shoes because of the naturalness running barefoot. Some will tell you though that while they feel lighter and more free running bare that they also feel a lot of muscle soreness in the lower legs than they ever have. That extra muscle effort means a lot things are happening inside the body that most people don’t take into account. One of those things that is effected is the use of oxygen. When the muscles are working harder they are using more oxygen which means there is room for the idea that running without shoes makes you less oxygen efficient than when in shoes but where is that line? At what weight is the shoe too heavy? Is there an adaptation period that barefoot running takes in order for you to move past this oxygen inefficiency and if so how long is that period? To be completely honest these are questions I’ve had in the back of mind for a long time but since I don’t have a research lab, a lot of money, or ideas on the best ways to test this I have only been able to sit around and speculate. Thankfully I’m not the only person wondering these things and that is where this article from Runner’s World comes in. It appears the studies to answer these questions are being done and as always they seem to be presenting some interesting results that many of us may not have expected.
My friends at the Natural Running Store posted on Facebook that this is “an authentic “holy crap” moment for them and I agree. I love running bare and have done so as part of my training for over half of my life but I’ve also very much enjoyed running in minimal shoes so studies like this really appeal to me. I have no idea where this all ends or where it will settle but I’m very intrigued to find out. Enjoy the article and please share your thoughts. I’m really looking forward to hearing what you think about this one.