Is Barefoot Running The Best Way To Go?

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jun. 5, 2013
  • Updated Jun. 5, 2013 at 12:15 PM UTC

New studies are casting doubt on the trend.

The New York Times’ Gretchen Reynolds recently blogged about whether or not barefoot running is really all that it’s cracked up to be. Apparently, there is a series of new studies that indicate this may be the case.

The Journal of Applied Physiology looked into whether or not landing near the front of your foot (what tends to happen when one runs barefoot or in minimalist footwear) is physiologically efficient.

Researchers from the University of Amherst recruited 37 experienced runners  — 19 heel strikers and 18 who tend to land near the front of the foot.

All the volunteers were equipped with neutral running flats and put on a treadmill while being told to run as they normally do.

On the treadmill, they ran at three different speeds: easy, middle, and fast.

Throughout those runs, the researchers studied the oxygen uptake, heart rates and how carbohydrates were providing energy to the runners.

As a separate experiment, the same group was asked to switch styles.


Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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