More fuel for the debate:
Making the Case for Running Shoes
By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS, Columnist
For the past few years, proponents of barefoot running have argued that modern athletic shoes compromise natural running form. But now a first-of-its-kind study suggests that, in the right circumstances, running shoes make running physiologically easier than going barefoot.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder, began by recruiting 12 well-trained male runners with extensive barefoot running experience. “It was important to find people who are used to running barefoot,” says Rodger Kram, a professor of integrative physiology, who oversaw the study, which was published online in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
“A novice barefoot runner moves very differently than someone who’s used to running barefoot,” Dr. Kram says. “We wanted to look at runners who knew what they were doing, whether they were wearing shoes or not.”
Specifically, he and his colleagues hoped to determine whether wearing shoes was metabolically more costly than going unshod. In other words, does wearing shoes require more energy than going barefoot?