10 Reasons Why Barefoot Running is Good for You

Whether you are new to running or have been doing so for quite some time now, you’ve probably heard of barefoot running. This trend is growing in popularity, with more people learning about the different barefoot shoes benefits to start with before they make the transition to going completely barefoot.

barefoot running

The question is: Is barefoot running good for you? And what about barefoot shoes? How are barefoot shoes good for you?

Read on to learn all about the different benefits of barefoot running.

Why Should People Run Barefoot?

Irene S. Davis, Ph.D., the director of Spaulding National Running Center and professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, believes that we have over-supported our feet. She believes that when traditional shoes support muscles, they won’t need to work as hard, which results in them getting weak.

Davis also says that our bodies instinctively know how to adjust when making the transition to running in barefoot shoes or without any shoes at all. Barefoot runners will shorten their strides to reduce the impact on their lower bodies. Furthermore, they will automatically flex their ankles, knees, and hips for a soft landing on hard surfaces.

The calves and feet will need to work harder for the shorter stride and different foot strikes. It takes time to strengthen such muscles, so it is best to start slowly and opt for barefoot shoes. Similar to barefoot running, there are a host of barefoot shoe benefits to taking advantage of!

What are the Health Benefits of Running Barefoot?

Now that you know the difference between barefoot running vs. shoes, it may have you wonder: “can barefoot running be good for you?”

Yes, it can be good for you. Here are the benefits of barefoot running, whether you’re using minimalist shoes or completely shoe-free!

What is the difference between barefoot running vs. running with shoes?

Photo courtesy: https://www.alpineptmissoula.com

Stop Heel Striking

If you’re running without shoes or with minimalist shoes for everyday use, you will land on the balls of your feet. This would create much less impact when your feet strike the ground.

Stronger Legs

Once you make the transition from traditional shoes to minimalist shoes or barefoot running, you’ll notice that your feet and lower legs become sore, then stronger.

This improves your natural gait, making you become an even better runner. With stronger muscles, you can run longer and faster!

Improved Balance

Stronger feet mean improved balance. When you have more strength in your feet and the small muscles around your ankles, they react for balance quicker. If those muscles are weak, it results in more imbalance, needing activation of the larger muscles.

If you ever need to use the bigger muscles for balance as you run, you’ll need to use the Achilles tendon to stabilize your lower muscles, which isn’t a good idea. You will also need to exert a lot more energy.

When combining barefoot running and feet strengthening exercises, you can vastly improve your balance and stability to prevent injuries and have better strides.

Better Connection with Nature

Barefoot walking or running can provide mental health benefits not many people know of, particularly earthing (or grounding). Earthing refers to walking or running barefoot, connected to conductive systems transferring the Earth’s electrons from the ground to our bodies.

Studies show that barefoot running and walking helped bodies equilibrate with the Earth’s electric potential, giving them antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. This can help reduce stress, sleeping issues, and chronic diseases!

Earthing can help calm your mind and body, having you more inclined to exercise outside more, whether for a run or walk. This is also linked to barefoot walking benefits for weight loss!

Better Blood Circulation

A study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that barefoot running could improve blood circulation. The activity is connected with the dormant muscles stimulated as we run barefoot. When the muscles are activated, blood will flow better, allowing oxygen transfer, which prevents the risk of heart diseases.

Improve Working Memory

Studies show how running barefoot may increase working memory positively compared to running with traditional shoes.

Help Lessen Pain

Through barefoot running and walking, you reduce stress and prevent fractures. It also helps runners with recovery, keeping them away from any more risk.

One study shows that runners that have chronic plantar fasciitis and use minimalist shoes experienced reduced plantar foot pain compared to those using traditional shoes.

Better Comfort

Yes, barefoot running can feel more comfortable compared to using shoes! This is because you are more grounded with the Earth and since your feet are using a more natural gait and stride. Over time, you will find freedom more liberating.

Better Landing and Posture

As mentioned, people that wear traditional running shoes should would land on their heels first, placing even more stress on their feet. Running barefoot allows you to lessen the stress on the feet, as you can land on the front or middle of your feet.

With improved contact between your feet and ground, you get better feedback if you need to correct your posture. This allows you to feel less stiff as you run, improving your overall running posture.

Weight Loss

All types of exercises would help with weight loss, and the same goes for walking or running without shoes! You get to burn a lot of calories by running and walking barefoot. When combined with a good diet, you get to tone your body as you shed pounds. The barefoot walking benefits for weight loss are immense, mainly because you get to strengthen your lower body muscles better. With stronger muscles, you can tone your lower body further

Are Barefoot Shoes Good for Running?

With all this in mind, you’re probably wondering about investing in barefoot shoes to get started on your journey. But how are barefoot shoes good for you?

Barefoot or minimalist shoes further strengthening your feet over time, as well as improves your landing, thanks to their unique design and construction compared to traditional shoes.

While these types of shoes offer many benefits, you have to make sure you choose the best one made for your feet and individual needs. There are a lot of minimalist shoes available and if you’re finding a pair that’s best suited for your feet and running needs, you can refer to our guide page to understand how to evaluate shoes and narrow down your choices. We recommend using the comparison page to compare different brands and styles to find the most suitable minimalist shoes to get you started with barefoot running.

Wrapping It Up

Hopefully, you learned more about the barefoot running and minimalist shoes benefits from this article! Keep this information in mind to improve your runs and overall health as you change to go barefoot. Good luck and have fun!