One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to get out and enjoy the world is to go for a run. Going for a run through a park, on an easy hiking trail, or just around town is a great way to get in some exercise and relieve some stress. The one problem some people have with running is the cost of shoes. It is not uncommon for runners to pay well over a hundred dollars for a good pair of shoes. However, more and more people are beginning to see this as a waste of money.
Barefoot running is not a new concept. For years, people have run barefoot both in training and in actual races. In fact, in the 1960 summer Olympics, Ethiopian Abebe Bikila ran the marathon barefoot and won with a world record time. However, it is not until more recently that this trend has gained popularity largely thanks to studies that have shown barefoot running to actually be more beneficial than running with shoes on.
A study released by Harvard Medical School this past January reports that after examining the running style of three groups of runners; one group that had always run barefoot, one group that had always worn shoes, and one group that had recently stopped wearing shoes, the barefoot runners clearly had the safer running style. According to the researchers, when wearing shoes, the heal strikes the ground first causing damaging impact to the body. However, while running barefoot people tend to land on the ball of the foot first with a springy forward step, reducing impact on the body.
Running barefoot through soft grass on a warm day has always been a very freeing experience, and as it turns out, running sans shoes benefits more than just the soul. So, next time you are in the mall trying to decide which hundred dollar pair of running shoes to buy, save some money instead. For a truly unique experience that can benefit your health and running style, simply get out there, kick off your shoes and go for a run.