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Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

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  #1  
Old 1st May 2012, 07:35 PM
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Default Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

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For those who are interested, an article I wrote, Barefoot Versus Shod Running: Which is Best?, was just published in the May 2012 issue of Podiatry Today Magazine.

Here are the illustrations and figure legends that I submitted with the manuscript.

Quote:
Figure 1: Ancient Greek vase from 530 BC depicting barefoot race at the Panathenic Games.

Figure 2: The world’s oldest shoes, made of woven sagebrush, found in Fort Rock Cave, Oregon, have been radiocarbon dated as being 10,000 years old.

Figure 3: Early dual-density Tiger X-Caliber GT running shoe from Onitsuka Tiger (now Asics) introduced in 1982 with medial midsole bar to reduce rearfoot pronation.

Figure 4. Vibram FiveFingers minimalist shoe to simulate barefoot running.

Figure 5: Footstrike position during barefoot running involves pre-activating the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles to land on the forefoot with the ankle plantarflexed, to avoid heel strike.

Figure 6. Meb Keflezighi taking 2nd place finish for USA at 2004 Athens Olympic Marathon in 2:11:39 showing the heel-striking running form that is present in 75-89% of runners.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

Here is a "trading card" of the great Ethiopian barefoot runner, Abebe Bikila, showing how pretty the bottoms of your feet will look with barefoot running.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 08:58 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

Excellent article Kevin. I am personally very much over the entire barefoot discussion for the moment because I find that almost everyone who advocates barefoot running does so intimating that it is somehow a treatment for foot and just about every other human malady and none quote actual facts. I get emails weekly from colleagues asking questions about the subject. Lately several pointed to a website where they advocate barefoot or minimal for children because shod is evil as you know. It's important that people such as yourself have taken an interest in writing factually and honestly about the subject. Much appreciated and keep up the good work!
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Old 3rd May 2012, 10:13 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

Thanks for the kind comment, David.

Here is a photo of "Barefoot Caveman", Glen Raines, who, I think, has the right idea if one wanted to truly be more like our ancestors, and run barefoot.

Glen is the one wearing the latest style of Nike loincloth.
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Old 4th May 2012, 12:11 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

That is a informative & balanced article there Kevin.

I recently wrote an article on a similar topic (out of recent frustrating material circulating) - albeit from a different perspective.

I feel performance (i.e. in racing) is important for this topic (despite what some feel within the Barefoot movement) as it ultimately reflects efficiency/economy. On this issue you wrote...

Quote:
With research indicating that barefoot running is more metabolically efficient than shod running, running barefoot should theoretically be faster than running shod since any mass added to the foot increases the oxygen cost of running. However, as mentioned earlier, since nearly all elite runners race in shoes and not barefoot, the increased metabolic efficiency of barefoot running doesn’t seem to equate to faster racing speeds for elite runners. These facts then lead to the following question: why aren’t more elite athletes racing without shoes if barefoot running is more metabolically efficient than shod running?

One possible answer is that faster running speeds, such as those that occur during race situations, will generate significantly higher peak vertical and peak shearing forces on the plantar foot with each foot strike.42-47 The increased ground reaction force that occurs at racing speeds over surfaces of various temperatures, surface contours and textures may deter the elite athlete from risking injury to his or her foot by running barefoot. Another possibility is that the shorter stride lengths forced by barefoot running may limit running velocity sufficiently to limit racing speeds. Another intriguing possibility is that elite runners choose to race in shoes since the running shoe companies that often sponsor elite running athletes offer significant monetary incentive for these elite athletes to race in their shoes rather than racing barefoot.
Could another possible answer be what I have recently seen labelled as the "cost of cushioning" hypothesis? In its context...

Quote:
Now as far as footwear is concerned, shoe weight can have an effect on economy and subsequent performances... but there are conditions. As already stated in the “Footwear” section of this site, research has indicated that barefoot running on the harder surface can be more costly (i.e. cost more energy to run at the same speed) compared to running with shoes. It is believed that this is because you have to use the leg muscles more to absorb the landing shock. However, tests have also revealed that each 100 grams (3.5 oz) of weight added to running shoes increases the cost of running (cost more energy to run at the same speed) by about 1 percent:

- (Franz, Jason R.; Wierzbinski, Corbyn M.; Kram, Rodger. Metabolic Cost of Running Barefoot versus Shod: Is Lighter Better? Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Post Acceptance, 2 March 2012).

- (Morgan DW, Martin PE, Krahenbuhl GS. Factors Affecting Running Economy. Sports Medicine 1989; 7:310-330).

This equates to about 1 minute in a marathon and about 12-15 seconds over 10km. Thus, as the shoe becomes lighter, the cost was less; however, when the shoe was very light, the cost started going up again because very light shoes have limited shock-absorbing characteristics, so the muscles start having to work more (like with barefoot running on harder surfaces). Hence, it would appear that some element of cushioning is needed when running on harder surfaces as far as economy is concerned (known as the "cost of cushioning" hypothesis).
Would this (as well as shearing forces) be another probable case - particularly whilst running at speed within race situations?
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Old 4th May 2012, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

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Originally Posted by BEN-HUR View Post
That is a informative & balanced article there Kevin.

I recently wrote an article on a similar topic (out of recent frustrating material circulating) - albeit from a different perspective.

I feel performance (i.e. in racing) is important for this topic (despite what some feel within the Barefoot movement) as it ultimately reflects efficiency/economy. On this issue you wrote...



Could another possible answer be what I have recently seen labelled as the "cost of cushioning" hypothesis? In its context...



Would this (as well as shearing forces) be another probable case - particularly whilst running at speed within race situations?
That paper came out directly after I submitted my manuscript to Podiatry Today magazine, otherwise, I would have changed the wording of the manuscript. I definitely think this "cost of cushioning" hypothesis is a good one.
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Old 5th May 2012, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

Special thanks to Craig Payne for this little gem that hits the nail directly on the head.
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Old 6th May 2012, 06:22 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

Here's a good article on Roger Kram's study that showed that most runners ran more efficiently in lightweight racing flats than barefoot.

Making the Case for Running Shoes

Quote:
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Mar 2. [Epub ahead of print]

Metabolic Cost of Running Barefoot versus Shod: Is Lighter Better?

Franz JR, Wierzbinski CM, Kram R.


Source

Locomotion Lab, Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado.


Abstract

PURPOSE:

Based on mass alone, one might intuit that running barefoot would exact a lower metabolic cost than running in shoes. Numerous studies have shown that adding mass to shoes increases submaximal oxygen uptake (V˙2) by about 1% per 100 grams per shoe. However, only two of the seven studies on the topic have found a statistically significant difference in (V˙2) between barefoot and shod running. The lack of difference found in these studies suggests that factors other than shoe mass (e.g. barefoot running experience, foot-strike pattern, shoe construction) may play important roles in determining the metabolic cost of barefoot vs. shod running. Our goal was to quantify the metabolic effects of adding mass to the feet and compare oxygen uptake and metabolic power during barefoot vs. shod running while controlling for barefoot running experience, foot-strike pattern and footwear.

METHODS:

12 males with substantial barefoot running experience ran at 3.35 m/s with a mid-foot strike pattern on a motorized treadmill, both barefoot and in lightweight cushioned shoes (∼150 g/shoe). In additional trials, we attached small lead strips to each foot/shoe (∼150, ∼300, ∼450 g). For each condition, we measured subjects' rates of oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production and calculated metabolic power.

RESULTS:

V˙2 increased by approximately 1% for each 100 g added per foot, whether barefoot or shod (p<0.001). However, barefoot and shod running did not significantly differ in V˙2 or metabolic power. A consequence of these two findings was that for footwear conditions of equal mass, shod running had ∼3-4% lower V˙2 and metabolic power demand than barefoot running (p<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

Running barefoot offers no metabolic advantage over running in lightweight, cushioned shoes.
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Old 6th May 2012, 08:36 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

Here are more articles on the Kram study showing running shoes to be more economical than running barefoot. It seems the media is hot on this new research.

End of 'Toe Shoes'? Study Finds Barefoot Running Less Efficient Than Wearing Shoes

The Energy Cost of Barefoot Running

Barefoot vs. Running Shoes: Which is (Surprisingly) More Efficient?

CU-Boulder Study: Barefoot Running Less Efficient Than Wearing Light-Weight Shoes

Is Barefoot Running Better? Not So Fast, Says New Study
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Old 6th May 2012, 08:40 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

It's just modulation of leg stiffness to match the surface stiffness- surface too stiff, i.e. barefoot (no cushioning from shoes), the leg has to increase eccentric muscle work to control the increased hip and knee flexion. We were talking about this a couple of years ago now.
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Old 6th May 2012, 08:57 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

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It's just modulation of leg stiffness to match the surface stiffness- surface too stiff, i.e. barefoot (no cushioning from shoes), the leg has to increase eccentric muscle work to control the increased hip and knee flexion. We were talking about this a couple of years ago now.
My guess is that, with lighweight shoes, the gastroc-soleus isn't being preactivated as early during running versus barefoot running and that is where the majority of the metabolic cost savings comes from during running in lightweight shoes. However, one problem with Kram's study was that the runners actually weren't running barefoot, but running in non-slip socks on the treadmill, so the socks, with their inherent slight movements relative to the foot the feet during running, may have affected the results of the study.
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Old 6th May 2012, 09:04 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

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My guess is that, with lighweight shoes, the gastroc-soleus isn't being preactivated as early during running versus barefoot running and that is where the majority of the metabolic cost savings comes from during running in lightweight shoes. However, one problem with Kram's study was that the runners actually weren't running barefoot, but running in non-slip socks on the treadmill, so the socks, with their inherent slight movements relative to the foot the feet during running, may have affected the results of the study.
What was the strike pattern barefoot versus shod?
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Old 6th May 2012, 09:09 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

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What was the strike pattern barefoot versus shod?
I don't understand your question, Dr. Spooner.
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Old 6th May 2012, 09:50 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

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I don't understand your question, Dr. Spooner.
Well, given your assertion that metabolic cost is increased in barefoot versus shod running due to pre-activiation of calf muscles during barefoot running, this assumption should be dependent upon there being differences in the strike position in the shod versus barefoot conditions.. Was there any differences?
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Old 6th May 2012, 10:00 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

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Well, given your assertion that metabolic cost is increased in barefoot versus shod running due to pre-activiation of calf muscles during barefoot running, this assumption should be dependent upon there being differences in the strike position in the shod versus barefoot conditions.. Was there any differences?
They didn't measure footstrike percentage once data collection was begun in the barefoot vs shod trials. The best way to measure gastrocnemius-soleus preactivation before footstrike is not by footstrike percentage, but by EMG.
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Old 6th May 2012, 10:02 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

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They didn't measure footstrike percentage once data collection was begun in the barefoot vs shod trials.
So, if foot-strike was unaltered woud we expect to see any difference in calf muscle pre-activation? Of course, increase metabolic cost could just be due to shorter step length observed with the typical barefoot + forefoot strike running gait.
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Old 6th May 2012, 10:10 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

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So, if foot-strike was unaltered woud we expect to see any difference in calf muscle pre-activation? Of course, increase metabolic cost could just be due to shorter step length observed with the typical barefoot + forefoot strike running gait.
We don't know if foot strike was unaltered since it wasn't measured. Even if we knew that foot strike was exactly the same on the plantar foot on force plate versus plantar shoe sole on force plate, comparing barefoot to shoe condition, does this necessarily mean that gastroc-soleus activation levels were identical? I don't think so. EMG would still be the gold standard to determine whether gastroc-soleus muscle activity was changed, not foot strike percentage.
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Old 6th May 2012, 10:32 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

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Originally Posted by Kevin Kirby View Post
We don't know if foot strike was unaltered since it wasn't measured. .
And that's the key, we don't know if it was altered either. Thus my contention is as good as yours, Kevin.
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Old 7th May 2012, 11:33 AM
Leah Claydon Leah Claydon is offline
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

Then along came "the mid-foot strike shoe". Oh joy.

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Old 7th May 2012, 09:18 PM
Mark Dave Smith Mark Dave Smith is offline
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

I would be very interested to see how plantar forefoot fat pads hold up long term to barefoot running. Would transverse shearing forces going through these structures increase without supportive footwear? And would long term barefoot forefoot striking running lead to increased fat pad migration? I haven't met anyone coming through my clinic yet who is keen on this style of running, but i'm thinking about having some special stickers made up for them.
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Old 10th May 2012, 08:27 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

Here is Shigeki Tanaka, a 19 y/o Hiroshima survivor, who in 1951 (60+ years ago!!) won the Boston Marathon in split-toe, thin soled running shoes from Onitsuka Tiger (now Asics).

Oh, I forgot, minimalist shoes are a "new thing"........
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Old 11th May 2012, 06:08 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

Here is a pdf copy of my article in Podiatry Today for those interested.

Kirby KA: Barefoot versus shod running: Which is Best?, Podiatry Today, 25(5):54-60, 2012.
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File Type: pdf Barefoot Versus Shod Running. Which is Best.pdf (4.91 MB, 19 views)
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Old 2nd June 2012, 02:52 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot vs Shod Running: New Article in Podiatry Today Magazine

Just got back from my debate with Irene Davis, PhD, on "Barefoot vs Shod Running" at the Annual American College of Sports Medicine Meeting in San Francisco. We each had 10 minutes of lecture then answered questions from the audience for 30 minutes. We had about 250-300 in attendance and I think we both got our points across. We had plenty of good comments after the debate so maybe Irene and I will do it again some other day.

I don't think that much will be decided by these debates but certainly most who attend do seem to find it all fairly informational and entertaining. I guess that is what it is all about.
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