Barefoot Running Research

There is an abundance of research surrounding barefoot and minimalist running, to much in fact, for me to cover in this short article. In this article I will I will briefly discuss the work of Dr. Lieberman whose research is currently leading the way in barefoot running research. (See Dr. Lieberman’s Barefoot Running Site at Harvard.edu)

Dr. Daniel Lieberman is Harvard University’s Professor of Human Evolutionary biology. The 2010 publication that has recently brought barefoot running to the attention of the running community is entitled “Foot Strike Patterns and Collision Forces in Habitually barefoot vs. Shod runners.”

What this study was able to determine:

1)      Habitually shod runners have a tendency to heel strike when running

2)      Habitually barefoot runners have a tendency to forefoot strike when running

3)      Runners that transition from shod to unshod will likely also transition from a heel strike pattern to a forefoot strike pattern

4)      The impact force of a heel strike is significantly more than that of a forefoot strike

5)      Running with a forefoot strike requires a small amount less energy (5%) than running with a heel strike.

In the barefoot running community I often have heard people refer to Dr. Lieberman’s study as “research that shows that running barefoot reduces injury rates.” This may very well be true; however, Dr. Leiberman did not study injury rates.

Though Dr. Leiberman’s study was not seeking information on injury rates, if you do the research that Dr. Leiberman did to write his publication you will notice that there are other studies that have taken on the topic, (hint: look at the articles referenced by Leiberman). One such study “Running Related injury Prevention through Barefoot Adaptation” may be of particular interest to those interested in the injury reduction benefits of barefoot running.

Unfortunately many of these articles require a subscription to access, but many of them are in the public domain. I suggest you read Dr. Leiberman’s article, and if he references a paper you are interested in following further, cut and paste it into Google, many times, even if you cannot access the entire article you can still read the abstract.

Do you know of an article concerning barefoot running, minimalist running, or running in general. Please leave a link in the comments so that I, and others in the community can review it.

Dr. Leibermans articles:

Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners

Supplementay information for previous article

Endurance running and the evolution of HOMO(Very Good Article about Humans and endurance Running)

Related Barefoot Running Research:

Barefoot Running. Sportscience (Short and Full of Information)

Biomechanical and physiological comparison of barefoot and two shod conditions in experienced barefoot runners. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness

Shod versus unshod: The emergence of forefoot pathology in modern humans?. The Foot

Running economy and kinematic differences among running with the foot shod, with the foot bare, and with the bare foot equated for weight. International Institute for Sport and Human Performance

Is your prescription of distance running shoes evidence based? British Journal of Sports Medicine

Is your prescription of distance running shoes evidence based? British Journal of Sports Medicine

Effects of shoe cushioning upon ground reaction forces in running. International Journal of Sports Medicine

Effects of Footwear on Measurements of Balance and Gait in Women Between the Ages of 65 and 93 Years. Physical Therapy

More articles coming as I am able to review them. Do you know of an article concerning barefoot running, minimalist running, or running in general. Please leave a link in the comments so that I, and others in the community can review it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s