Barefoot Versus Running Shoes

  1. Running in shoes takes less energy than running barefoot.
  2. The heavier your shoes are, the less efficiently you run.
  3. Running barefoot "offers no metabolic advantage over running in lightweight, cushioned shoes."

Alex Hutchinson

The topic is a very cool and thought-provoking new study, from Rodger Kram’s lab at the University of Colorado, just published online in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (whose official conclusion is Headline Number 3). While there are plenty of subtleties in the study, the basic idea is very simple. They took a group of runners and measured their efficiency (by measuring how much oxygen they consumed at a given pace) while adding progressively larger weights to their feet. They did this both with and without shoes on.

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