Category Archives: Research

New Barefoot and Minimalist Running Research

Two new papers have been ePublished ahead of printing in the Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise journal out of Dr. Daniel Lieberman’s lab at Harvard University.

Effects of Footwear and Strike Type on Running Economy concludes:

“Minimally shod runners are modestly but significantly more economical than traditionally shod runners regardless of strike type, after controlling for shoe mass and stride frequency. The likely cause of this difference is more elastic energy storage and release in the lower extremity during minimal shoe running.”

Foot Strike and Injury Rates in Endurance Runners: a retrospective study concludes:

“…Runners who habitually rearfoot strike have significantly higher rates of repetitive stress injury than those who mostly forefoot strike… One hypothesis, which requires further research, is that the absence of a marked impact peak in the ground reaction force during a forefoot strike compared to a rearfoot strike may contribute to lower rates of injuries in habitual forefoot strikers.”

Essentially, these two papers suggest that forefoot strikers have fewer injuries than heel strikers and that no matter your foot strike pattern, if you run in minimal shoes, your running is more efficient with improved running economy.

I’m taking away from these two conclusions that forefoot strikers who run in minimal shoes are more efficient and have fewer injuries compared to heel strikers who run in conventional shoes. Sounds to me like ingredients included in a recipe for maximized efficiency and minimized injury…

Speaking of running news, stay tuned for some EXCITING developments in the coaching related area. Announcements are coming soon!

Calgary Herald Article on Barefoot Running

It’s not often that the local paper picks up a story on being barefoot. This week, the Calgary Herald’s Trent Edwards wrote an article about “The bare facts on shoeless running.”

Trent talks to Christopher McDougall about his opinions on barefoot running and shoes, Eric Orton about coaching barefoot running, and Dr. Reed Ferber from the University of Calgary about his upcoming research on barefoot running.

CMAJ Articles on Barefoot Running

The Canadian Medical Association Journal recently published two articles about barefoot running. The articles look at both sides of the issues and basically conclude that there is no research currently available that says running with high-heeled cushioned shoes or running with a barefoot style is beneficial or detrimental and agree that more research is needed.

Here are the articles (with links):

The rise of barefoot running

Low-tech running shoes in high demand

My favorite quote out of the two articles is one by Dr. Daniel Lieberman, “The key thing is not being barefoot, but using a barefoot style, and not colliding into the ground with your heels.”

Highly Anticipated Lieberman Research Released

Dr. Daniel Lieberman from Harvard University has released his second Nature paper concerning human evolution and the way humans run. The latest paper, entitled “Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners“, concludes that forefoot or midfoot strike gaits, which are more common when running barefoot or with minimal footwear, may protect runners from impact-related injuries now common to runners.

Dr. Lieberman has launched a Running Barefoot website as well that explains more of his research. There is also a video, released by Nature, that features an interview with Dr. Lieberman and some of his research.

I’ve been waiting for this research for a long time and can’t wait to spend many happy hours reviewing it.