There has been much debate in recent years over whether running sans shoes is good or bad for the body. Now, researchers at Indiana University and Purdue University report that it may depend on the runner.
Firstly, those who are thinking about ditching their running shoes may want to slow things down and ease into the transition to prevent injury.
"If you transition to barefoot running slowly and run correctly, so you build up to it, you could decrease the risk of injury over the long term," said lead researcher Stuart Warden.
Barefoot running may be a viable option for athletes who wear traditional shoes and endure repeated or chronic injuries. However, if running with shoes is working just fine, then there may be no need to change a routine.
Additionally, the study authors note that running in shoes encourages the foot to hit the ground heel-first, whereas it naturally lands on the ball to avoid painful heel pressure when footwear is not present.
Individuals who are susceptible to bunions may exacerbate the condition with barefoot running, since it involves repeated impact on the forefoot, a motion that has been associated with the development of bunions.