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Re: Performance Effects of Barefoot Running

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  • Re: Performance Effects of Barefoot Running

    Dear Biomechanician:
    What you talked about barefoot running is correct but only from the point of
    view of additional weight. Thats one aspect, what about impact forces with
    the ground. By using the the softer shoe you are reducing the bearing
    pressure on the fingers and keeping it less fatigued and giving the runner
    a chance to run longer and efficiently..He is carrying a little more weight
    in his feet but it is better for him from safety aspect aswell , which is
    paramount in any sports.
    Prof S.Pal
    Jadavpur University
    Kolkata-32, India

    On Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 9:11 AM, Kevin A. Kirby wrote:

    > As the barefoot running debate continues as to whether it is a less
    > injury-producing form of running, one factor that seems to be overlooked by
    > many is the potential performance effect of barefoot running. Previous
    > research studies seem to all agree that wearing shoes or adding mass to the
    > feet increases the energy cost of running (Catlin, 1979; Burkett, 1985;
    > Divert, 2008) with steady state oxygen consumption increasing with either
    > shoes or mass added to the feet. It seems intuitive that running unshod
    > will reduce the work required to swing an added mass at the end of the lower
    > extremity with each forward recovery phase of running. With reduced
    > metabolic work per mile run, then running barefoot should, metabolically, be
    > faster than running in shoes.
    > However, for anyone that has followed international running competitions,
    > it is obvious that there are very few elite runners who choose to race
    > barefoot and no world running records have been set in the past few decades
    > while running barefoot, even though barefoot running should theoretically be
    > the fastest and lightest way to run. In other words, barefoot runners are
    > virtually absent when the finishing tape is broken, with the notable
    > exception being Abebe Bikila who won the Rome Olympic Marathon now 50 years
    > ago in 1960, but who also ran 7 seconds faster per mile to win the Olympic
    > Marathon and set a world marathon record in 1964 in Tokyo.....wearing shoes!
    > My question for this group, then, if all the studies show that barefoot
    > running is more metabolically efficient than running shod, then why aren’t
    > more elite runners shedding their shoes to race? Is there some other
    > physiological or biomechanical factor that makes wearing a lightweight
    > running shoes (that we called racing flats back in the 1970s and not
    > “minimalist shoes”) faster than barefoot? Are the elite runners simply
    > afraid that they may injure themselves while racing barefoot? Or are they
    > simply afraid that they lose valuable sponsorship money from corporate shoe
    > companies who are eager to have their shoes being worn by the winner of an
    > important racing events?
    > Kevin
    > ************************************************** **************************
    > Kevin A. Kirby, DPM
    > Clinical Associate Professor
    > Department of Applied Biomechanics
    > California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University
    > Private Practice:
    > 107 Scripps Drive, Suite 200
    > Sacramento, CA 95825 USA
    > Voice: (916) 925-8111 Fax: (916) 925-8136
    > ************************************************** **************************
    > References:
    > 1. Catlin MJ, Dressendorfer RH: Effect of shoe weight on the energy cost
    > of running. Medicine and Science in Sports. 11: 80, 1979.
    > 2. Burkett LN, Kohrt M, Buchbinder R: Effects of shoes and foot orthotics
    > on VO2 and selected frontal plane kinematics. Med Sci Sports Exer,
    > 17:158-163, 1985.
    > 3. Divert C, Mornieux G, Freychat P, Baly L, Mayer F, Belli A:
    > Barefoot-shod running differences: shoe or mass effect? Int J Sports Med,
    > 29 (6):512-518, 2008.
    > ---------------------------------------------------------------
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    Prof. Dr. Subrata Pal
    Emeritus Professor, Biomed. Engg.
    Jadavpur University, Kolkata - 700032