There are many reasons to try running barefoot for the first time – here our seven most favourite!
1. MOTHER NATURE
One of the greatest reasons to decide to run without shoes on is the feeling of becoming one with nature.
Running in grass, or sand, ultimately helps you experience nature more fully. This is something that you can never do properly with shoes on.
Barefoot running brings a connection with the ground beneath your feet like no other thing on earth does.
Put simply – it feels great!
2. LAND NATURALLY
When you run with shoes on, you actually place a greater stress on your foot.
This means your heel will land first, with a harder strike.
The best way to run, according to experts, is to land on the middle or the front of your foot.
A study has found that people who run with shoes hit the ground with the weight of all their leg. This means it is nearly triple the impact of running without shoes.
There is a lower impact when you run barefoot. This is because you naturally run in a way which distributes the weight more evenly over the entire foot
3. IMPROVED POSTURE
Ultimately, you will get a better posture from running without shoes.
This will impact on your health overall.
Improved posture means fewer problems, later down the line, for your back and spine.
4. FEEL FREE
Feeling free is often the number one reason that barefoot runners cite, for their decision to run shoeless.
You know how kicking off your shoes at home is liberating? Well, it is just the same when you are outside.
Being free of the constraints of socks is a good feeling for many, barefoot running just takes it one step further.
The air is cooling as you run and your senses grow more alert.
It also helps with mindfulness.
You will find you become more aware of where you are, your physical position and your immediate surroundings.
5. LOVE YOUR KNEES!
When you run in shoes, there is a tendency to place a greater weight upon the ankle.
This, in turn, can lead to a higher chance of twists and sprains.
It is also not just the ankle which has more stress placed on it. It is the kneecap as well. Knee pain is a common ailment for many runners (in shoes).
This is less likely to occur when running barefoot. One reason for this is because you take lighter strides when you run without shoes and therefore, place less pressure on your knees, ankles and other joints.
6. STRENGTHEN YOUR FEET!
Did you realise that shoe wearing is actually weakening your feet?
This is obviously even worse when the shoes you have on do not fit correctly.
Getting a perfect fit is difficult, for many people.
Wearing poor fitting shoes can actively damage the foot, stunting its growth and in some cases, squashing it.
It can also cause pain and other podiatry conditions.
The muscles grow weaker and the chances of an ankle injury is more likely. And it can actually shorten your tendons.
And this is just for walking in!
As running is even more high impact, it is important to be kind to your feet.
Running barefoot helps to strengthen the muscles in the foot and puts it back into a natural shape.
7. SAVE YOUR MONEY!
If you’ve ever added up how much you have spent on running or training shoes, then you will know this could be a sobering figure!
Brand names don’t come cheap. And they aren’t necessarily better for your feet either.
If you are contemplating running as a pastime, hobby or fitness activity, think twice before rushing out to buy expensive sports shoes.
You don’t actually need them!
Barefoot running may be beneficial for some people. People desiring to transition to barefoot running should start slowly, gradually increase time spent barefoot, and use proper mechanics.