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Barefoot Running Debate

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  #1  
Old 21st January 2010, 11:08 AM
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Default Barefoot Running Debate

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I was recently asked by the editor of Runner's World, Amby Burfoot, to be part of a debate on barefoot running. "Barefoot" Ken Bob Saxton, who hosts a website devoted to barefoot running represented the other side of the debate. The Barefoot Running Debate was recently published in the February 2010 issue of Runner's World magazine. The debate has already generated some interesting comments on the Runner's World website which I find to be both amusing and interesting. Overall, I enjoyed the debate and liked Ken Bob's side of the story about his own personal experience with running in shoes versus running barefoot. In addition, a thread on chi running and pose running from last year here on Podiatry Arena has some comments related to this discussion.

I encourage those of you who have strong opinions on either side of this debate to contribute to the comments on the Runner's World forum since I think it will be an interesting fad/trend to watch over the coming years. As a runner of 40 years, and seeing how running shoe designs have changed over the last four decades, I am very interested to see how this interest in barefoot running affects the shoe designs within the running shoe industry and the running shoe industry as a whole.
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Old 22nd January 2010, 10:01 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

Here is some more thoughts on barefoot running from the CEO of Brooks shoes and others.

http://talk.brooksrunning.com/2010/0...ceo-jim-weber/

http://www.brooksrunning.com/media/F..._whitepage.pdf
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Old 26th January 2010, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

Here are the thoughts on barefoot running (or natural running as they prefer to call it) on the blog of Newton Running Shoes:

http://www.therunningfront.com/natur...nning-defined/

Ian
  #4  
Old 26th January 2010, 12:46 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

The barefoot running debate is an excellent example of why clinicians, in particular MD's shouls stick to clinical paractice. For those of you vexed by this issue, have a look at the most recent, and oft quoted in the press piece of "science" at
http://www.pmrjournal.org/article/S1...367-7/fulltext

It pretty much sums up the unshod argument, and guess what? The lead author has developed and is flogging a "barefoot running shoe". Ayyyeee

Here are a couple of observations:

1. This has all been done, and slammed, before
2. You cannot compare shod and unshod joint force data. At all. (I’ll give a link at the end that explains why).
3. The title of the journal says it all. I’ve never read anything in it before. If this study was any good it would have been in Journal of Biomechanics.
4. This sort of research, which gets a lot of media attention, is the number one reason why people with MD next to their name should stick to clinical practice and leave the research to people who know what they’re doing.

Here are the reasons you cannot do this study:

- Whenever you add any padding, regardless of the density, you need to apply a calibration factor to the centre of pressure coordinates. If you don’t do this, all of your inverse dynamic data is wrong. This study did not do that, therefore their numbers are wrong.


Even if the study did correct for the padding height, there are still a number of other fatal errors
- (From any force plate calibration guide) Deformation of the pad causes change in the foot-force plate interface plane. THERE IS NO SOLUTION IN TERMS OF CENTRE OF PRESSURE COORDINATES
*Consequently, the better the shoe is at doing its job and cushioning the foot the more incorrect the data will be. Think of your foot in the shoe going into pronation, and how this will cause a lever arm that is dispersed throughout the sole of the shoe.
- If you could create some sort of correction factor for the soft padding, you would still need to correct for the differences in height and density throughout the shoe. This would be next to impossible
- If you created some sort of super algorithm which could do all this, you would still need to calculate the shear forces at the foot – insole interface as these would not be accurately measured by the force plates.

DIRECT PROBLEMS WITH THE STUDY
- I love their statement in the discussion that they are using the most advanced techniques to model the biomechanics of running. They’re using a 20+ year old model which is really outdated.
- Their statement about cushioning not reducing force at midstance: Who gives a rat's ? this is where the elastic energy storage and propulsion comes from – you don’t want reduced midstance force or your running efficiency will suffer.
- The filtering of the force plate data is suited towards reducing the ground contact force: wearing shoes dampens the impact force, reducing the impulse. However, a second order low-pass Butterworth filter at 30Hz will have the same effect on the unshod ground reaction force data. It causes the force curve to look more like a soft wave than the rapid impulse that it is. It’s also next to impossible to get the data timed correctly. A Butterworth filter also adds in the “amazing anti-gravity force plate effect!”, which results in the force plate telling you that there is a massive vacuum sucking it into the air before the ground contact occurs. I watched a whole presentation in Mech Eng one day saying how this ruined otherwise good musculoskeletal models.

Here’s a link to a great force plate calibration set of pages:

http://www.kwon3d.com/theory/grf/pad.html

I think that about covers it for now, if anyone has any more questions let me know and I’ll get stuck into it some more.

Have a good one,

Cheers

Simon



Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Kirby View Post
I was recently asked by the editor of Runner's World, Amby Burfoot, to be part of a debate on barefoot running. "Barefoot" Ken Bob Saxton, who hosts a website devoted to barefoot running represented the other side of the debate. The Barefoot Running Debate was recently published in the February 2010 issue of Runner's World magazine. The debate has already generated some interesting comments on the Runner's World website which I find to be both amusing and interesting. Overall, I enjoyed the debate and liked Ken Bob's side of the story about his own personal experience with running in shoes versus running barefoot. In addition, a thread on chi running and pose running from last year here on Podiatry Arena has some comments related to this discussion.

I encourage those of you who have strong opinions on either side of this debate to contribute to the comments on the Runner's World forum since I think it will be an interesting fad/trend to watch over the coming years. As a runner of 40 years, and seeing how running shoe designs have changed over the last four decades, I am very interested to see how this interest in barefoot running affects the shoe designs within the running shoe industry and the running shoe industry as a whole.
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Old 26th January 2010, 12:54 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

Hi Simon,

Thanks for your invaluable opinion on this hot topic. You may be interested in the thread from the last week or so discussing said paper:

The effect of Running Shoes on Lower Extremity Joint Torques

Ian
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  #6  
Old 26th January 2010, 01:14 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

thanks Ian. Behind the times as usual! Been reading the postings this morning with great interest. Just got back from Costa Rica where email is one of those new fangled things!

Off to toronto next week to lecture at the BioPed conference on barefoot running! Should be interesting. I am with Craig, in that I am not against barefoot running as a part of a structured, safe training program, just against fanatacism of any kind. Same with Chi and pose.. it of course will work for some people, but just as generic orthose prescription will not work for everyone, nor will these techniques. Very illogical. I think Chris Mc Donanld actually got it right. Barefoot runnig is fantastic providing you are a 5'2, 50 kg Tanahamara Indian who has been doing it since birth.

I am well on my way to my stated gaol of becoming an irascible old bastard!
best
S
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Hi Simon,

Thanks for your invaluable opinion on this hot topic. You may be interested in the thread from the last week or so discussing said paper:

The effect of Running Shoes on Lower Extremity Joint Torques

Ian
  #7  
Old 26th January 2010, 03:00 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

This was in my email this morning from 'Chief Runner', Mike G at Road Runner sports:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg roadrunner.JPG (73.3 KB, 2806 views)
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  #8  
Old 26th January 2010, 04:19 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by toomoon View Post
The barefoot running debate is an excellent example of why clinicians, in particular MD's shouls stick to clinical paractice. For those of you vexed by this issue, have a look at the most recent, and oft quoted in the press piece of "science" at
http://www.pmrjournal.org/article/S1...367-7/fulltext

It pretty much sums up the unshod argument, and guess what? The lead author has developed and is flogging a "barefoot running shoe". Ayyyeee
Simon:

Good to see you contributing again. I just wrote a short article a few days ago titled "Barefoot Running: Growing Trend or Passing Fad?" for the April 2010 issue of Podiatry Today. Certainly, I share your frustration with the whole barefoot running issue, especially the medical professionals who are promoting "barefoot running shoes" and "minimalist shoes" and making claims through their "research" to help them sell shoe designs that they have a financial interest in.

By the way, in the 1970's, I was running about 70-100 miles per week, and racing as a distance runner in cross-country, track, road races and marathons. Back in that "post-Frank Shorter" era, we called the shoes which were very lightweight with a minimum of sole thickness "racing flats". Now, the barefoot running community calls these same shoes, 35 years later, "minimalist shoes". "Nothing new under the sun" is all I can say to this nonsense.

As you probably know, the Onitsuka Tiger Marathon Trainer was the prototype of the lightweight racing flat for that era. It was probably about 5-6 ounces in weight (same weight as the "minimalist" Vibram Fivefingers five-toed shoe) . In addition, many of my competitors ran in the Marathon Trainer during cross-country meets, track meets and road races here in Northern California during my early racing years.

I ran my first marathon at the age of 17 in 1974 called the Ocean to Bay Marathon, which went from Half Moon Bay to Belmont, California, over King's mountain with a 1,500 foot elevation gain during the first half of the race. I took first in the "junior division" at that race and, for winning the junior division, I won a pair of Jayhawks shoes, also from Onitsuka Tiger. These Jayhawks were a fantastic racing flat, had a golden yellow upper, were lightweight and I ran most of my races and next marathon the next year (13th place,2:39:38, at the age of 18, on May 11, 1975 at the Avenue of the Giants Marathon) in that shoe. The next racing flat that I raced in (during the late 1970's when I ran for the UC Davis Aggies) was the Nike Elite, which had a "waffle tread", a blue nylon upper and a yellow "swoosh" on the side. I remember toeing the line in a three way cross country meet at UC Davis during my Junior year in 1977, looking across at all the shoes of my teammates and competitors and seeing 2/3rds of them wearing Nike Elites. It was the most popular racing flat of that era.

I could go on and on about my love for good running shoes, but this is probably only interesting to the older runners, like myself. One of best things about running was, and still is, that running shoes are the only "necessary equipment" we need to run, train and race as a distance runner. I thought you, and maybe a few others that are reading along, would be interested in my early memories of the fabulous shoes from Onitsuka Tiger, before they became Asics.

Maybe, Simon, you could provide some photos and weights for these early Tiger shoes....I think this information may come in handy when the barefoot runners start to tout their "new idea" of running in "minimalist shoes" to simulate barefoot running.
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Old 26th January 2010, 04:38 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

Quote:
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I could go on and on about my love for good running shoes, but this is probably only interesting to the older runners, like myself.
Kevin,

You go on as much as possible - I love this stuff - I have a bit of a geeky fascination with the history of running shoes (and athletes in general). Being born in 1978 I have to use the internet and the stories of slightly 'older' runners such as yourself (no offence intended of course) to feed my obsession.

Ian
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Old 26th January 2010, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

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Simon:

Maybe, Simon, you could provide some photos and weights for these early Tiger shoes....I think this information may come in handy when the barefoot runners start to tout their "new idea" of running in "minimalist shoes" to simulate barefoot running.
if I can figure out how to attch photos.. I am onto it!

stand by..
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Old 26th January 2010, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Kevin,

You go on as much as possible - I love this stuff - I have a bit of a geeky fascination with the history of running shoes (and athletes in general). Being born in 1978 I have to use the internet and the stories of slightly 'older' runners such as yourself (no offence intended of course) to feed my obsession.

Ian
Ian:

I am an old runner....I'll be turning 53 this Saturday! YIKES!!
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Old 26th January 2010, 07:17 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

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if I can figure out how to attch photos.. I am onto it!
Simon:

There is a "manage attachments" button in the "additional options" section below the "reply to thread" section that should allow you to display photos in jpg format. However, I still haven't figured out how to post multiple photos in one thread.

By the way, Simon.....to help ease your mind.....you already are an irascible old bastard.
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Old 26th January 2010, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

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Simon:

There is a "manage attachments" button in the "additional options" section below the "reply to thread" section that should allow you to display photos in jpg format. However, I still haven't figured out how to post multiple photos in one thread.

By the way, Simon.....to help ease your mind.....you already are an irascible old bastard.
very cheeky from a man of your senior years..

happy birthday old friend..!!
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Old 26th January 2010, 07:38 PM
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very cheeky from a man of your senior years..

happy birthday old friend..!!
I know you're not too far behind me in age.....and I'm as irascible as ever.....thanks for the BD wishes.....when we getting together to play and sing again??
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Old 26th January 2010, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

Thanks to all for the posts, very timely for me as i've been asked to provide input on the whole barefoot running debate by the local paper, so i'm looking forward to seeing what they publish
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Old 26th January 2010, 09:41 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

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I know you're not too far behind me in age.....and I'm as irascible as ever.....thanks for the BD wishes.....when we getting together to play and sing again??
very soon I hope... we must make sure we have maximum exposure though so we can iritate as many people as possible..
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Old 26th January 2010, 09:47 PM
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very soon I hope... we must make sure we have maximum exposure though so we can iritate as many people as possible..
Yeah...we do get on now when we hang out together...don't we?! I must again remind you that in the USA vs Australia joke competition at Biomechanics Summer School in 2004, the USA won.
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Old 27th January 2010, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

Bit late notice I know, but I'm watching the BBC News and one of their main stories this evening is on Barefoot running - seems they may have picked up on the latest 'research'. For those in the UK get on BBC1 asap as its on now.

Will try to get a link up once its on the BBC site

Ian
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Old 27th January 2010, 12:38 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

This is the research that inspired the story it seems:

Jungers, W.L. (2010). Biomechanics: Barefoot running strikes back. Nature. 463, 433-434.

Anyone have full access?
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Old 27th January 2010, 01:57 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

This is all the BBC website has so far:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8483766.stm
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Old 27th January 2010, 03:10 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

Science Daily have this report on the research:
Barefoot Running: How Humans Ran Comfortably and Safely Before the Invention of Shoes
Quote:
New research is casting doubt on the old adage, "All you need to run is a pair of shoes."

Scientists have found that those who run barefoot, or in minimal footwear, tend to avoid "heel-striking," and instead land on the ball of the foot or the middle of the foot. In so doing, these runners use the architecture of the foot and leg and some clever Newtonian physics to avoid hurtful and potentially damaging impacts, equivalent to two to three times body weight, that shod heel-strikers repeatedly experience.

"People who don't wear shoes when they run have an astonishingly different strike," says Daniel E. Lieberman, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and co-author of a paper appearing this week in the journal Nature. "By landing on the middle or front of the foot, barefoot runners have almost no impact collision, much less than most shod runners generate when they heel-strike. Most people today think barefoot running is dangerous and hurts, but actually you can run barefoot on the world's hardest surfaces without the slightest discomfort and pain. All you need is a few calluses to avoid roughing up the skin of the foot. Further, it might be less injurious than the way some people run in shoes."

Working with populations of runners in the United States and Kenya, Lieberman and his colleagues at Harvard, the University of Glasgow, and Moi University looked at the running gaits of three groups: those who had always run barefoot, those who had always worn shoes, and those who had converted to barefoot running from shod running. The researchers found a striking pattern.

Most shod runners -- more than 75 percent of Americans -- heel-strike, experiencing a very large and sudden collision force about 1,000 times per mile run. People who run barefoot, however, tend to land with a springy step towards the middle or front of the foot.

"Heel-striking is painful when barefoot or in minimal shoes because it causes a large collisional force each time a foot lands on the ground," says co-author Madhusudhan Venkadesan, a postdoctoral researcher in applied mathematics and human evolutionary biology at Harvard. "Barefoot runners point their toes more at landing, avoiding this collision by decreasing the effective mass of the foot that comes to a sudden stop when you land, and by having a more compliant, or springy, leg."

The differences between shod and unshod running have evolutionary underpinnings. For example, says Lieberman, our early Australopith ancestors had less developed arches in their feet. Homo sapiens, by contrast, has evolved a strong, large arch that we use as a spring when running.

"Our feet were made in part for running," Lieberman says. But as he and his co-authors write in Nature: "Humans have engaged in endurance running for millions of years, but the modern running shoe was not invented until the 1970s. For most of human evolutionary history, runners were either barefoot or wore minimal footwear such as sandals or moccasins with smaller heels and little cushioning."

For modern humans who have grown up wearing shoes, barefoot or minimal shoe running is something to be eased into, warns Lieberman. Modern running shoes are designed to make heel-striking easy and comfortable. The padded heel cushions the force of the impact, making heel-striking less punishing....
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Old 27th January 2010, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

here is another link to a letter from Nature journal. "Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners."

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7280/abs/nature08723.html

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Old 27th January 2010, 03:49 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

Quote:
here is another link to a letter from Nature journal. "Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners."

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7280/abs/nature08723.html

cheers
JB
Thats not a working link dude

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ture08723.html

This made the front cover
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Last edited by Griff : 27th January 2010 at 04:29 PM. Reason: Added hyperlink + picture
  #24  
Old 27th January 2010, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

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Science Daily have this report on the research:
Barefoot Running: How Humans Ran Comfortably and Safely Before the Invention of Shoes
Full article
I just wish....that for once....these "science" writers got their facts straight!! What a joke!!
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Old 27th January 2010, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

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I just wish....that for once....these "science" writers got their facts straight!! What a joke!!
I use Science Daily a lot, but they just reproduce press release with very little editorial investigation or checking of the research's validity etc.
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Old 27th January 2010, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

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Originally Posted by Craig Payne View Post
I use Science Daily a lot, but they just reproduce press release with very little editorial investigation or checking of the research's validity etc.
Do ya think..... at any point in time, someone is going to fess and say.." yeah we all agree.. footwear does not do much for cushioning.. but that is not what is important.. it is shock transfer and joint/ muscle loading that is the issue... and footwar absolutely influences that in a positive way"
I just do not get it... must be dumb AND irascible
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Old 27th January 2010, 06:50 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

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Do ya think..... at any point in time, someone is going to fess and say.." yeah we all agree.. footwear does not do much for cushioning.. but that is not what is important.. it is shock transfer and joint/ muscle loading that is the issue... and footwar absolutely influences that in a positive way"
I just do not get it... must be dumb AND irascible
Simon and Craig:

We have known....I guess now for at least the last two decades....that modifying the surface that runners land on will modify their central nervous system (CNS) response to landing on that surface. Research has shown that individuals running in softer soled shoes often makes them contact the ground with more impact force and having these same individuals run in harder soled shoes often makes them contact the ground with less impact force. This seemingly paradoxical research finding is most likely caused by the CNS making nearly instantaneous adjustments in the landing strategy in the trained runner/individual, depending on the shoe or surface they are running on.

Tom McMahon's early research, which I believe is now 35 years old, shows how surfaces can be tuned to improve running speed by matching the stiffness of the running surface to the stiffness of the runner's lower extremity. Harvard's tuned indoor track constructed 33 years ago was the end result of his research which allowed runners to run a mile about 5 seconds faster than on a normal track. He also showed how the human bipedal running animal will make various kinematic adaptations during both the support and forward recovery phases of running when running on very soft surfaces (e.g. pillows, sand) versus running on very hard surfaces (e.g. concrete and asphalt).

Why then, now, 20 - 35 years later, is this such big news that runners will change their landing strategy during running when barefoot than in shoes to try to minimize the impact peaks of running without shoes on. I just wish some of these science writers would do their research on the existing running and running shoe research to see that unless the researcher is considering the central nervous compensations for barefoot versus shoe running, and the resultant changes in internal joint loading magnitudes and temporal patterns, they are only looking at half the picture in regarding the biomechanical differences between barefoot and shod running. It is a travesty....and science writing at it's worst...as far as I'm concerned!
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Old 27th January 2010, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

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Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Thats not a working link dude

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ture08723.html

This made the front cover
So, does anyone have a subscription to this or a copy of the article???

Thanks,
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  #29  
Old 27th January 2010, 10:52 PM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

Here is a video clip from Nature on the research:

  #30  
Old 28th January 2010, 12:06 AM
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Default Re: Barefoot Running Debate

Hi Simon!
I have a pair of retro Onitsuka Tiger running shoes... how close are these to the 70's versions?
Not planning to run in them...

Kevin- waffle sole? You are almost talking about an era where those soles were actually made using a waffle iron... pre lives?

Cheers
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