So there was this study published online on 9 January. Over the last few days, I’ve seen some articles about it, which all say some variation of “barefoot running is garbage”. I do not understand how anyone would have reached that conclusion based on reading the abstract, which look:
Endurance running may have a long evolutionary history in the hominin clade but it was not until very recently that humans ran wearing shoes. Research on modern habitually unshod runners has suggested that they utilize a different biomechanical strategy than runners who wear shoes, namely that barefoot runners typically use a forefoot strike in order to avoid generating the high impact forces that would be experienced if they were to strike the ground with their heels first. This finding suggests that our habitually unshod ancestors may have run in a similar way. However, this research was conducted on a single population and we know little about variation in running form among habitually barefoot people, including the effects of running speed, which has been shown to affect strike patterns in shod runners. Here, we present the results of our investigation into the selection of running foot strike patterns among another modern habitually unshod group, the Daasanach of northern Kenya. Data were collected from 38 consenting adults as they ran along a trackway with a plantar pressure pad placed midway along its length. Subjects ran at self-selected endurance running and sprinting speeds. Our data support the hypothesis that a forefoot strike reduces the magnitude of impact loading, but the majority of subjects instead used a rearfoot strike at endurance running speeds. Their percentages of midfoot and forefoot strikes increased significantly with speed. These results indicate that not all habitually barefoot people prefer running with a forefoot strike, and suggest that other factors such as running speed, training level, substrate mechanical properties, running distance, and running frequency, influence the selection of foot strike patterns.
What that says is that another tribe of barefoot runners uses a heel strike form rather than a forefoot or midfoot strike. What it definitely affirms is that there are more people who run barefoot.
I’m assuming the average MSN/Yahoo reader wouldn’t really ‘get’ a headline that said “Heel Strike Running May Be OK, Despite Recent Trends in the Running Community”. I understand that. But saying that barefoot running is garbage is also garbage.