By Richard A. Lovett; Alice Reich (for Runner's World)
The Harvard evolutionary biologist whose work helped inspire the barefoot running movement talks about his own marathoning and what runners should take from science.
Harvard professor Daniel Lieberman is an evolutionary biologist whose 2004 study on human evolution, “Endurance running and the evolution of Homo,” caught international attention by arguing that among the animal kingdom, humans are supremely adapted distance runners. The study made the cover of the prestigious journal Nature under the title “Born to Run” and subsequently led to Lieberman’s being a major figure in Christopher McDougall’s bestselling book of the same title. Lieberman, a barefoot running aficionado, has also been strongly...
Alexandra Raisman of the U.S. competing on the balance beam in the gymnastic women's team final at the London Olympic Games. Photo: Jamie Squire, Getty Images
The Importance of Proprioception
As barefooters, I think we’re all pretty much aware of the importance of proprioception, the awareness of our body position which comes from our sense of touch and our perceived motions. It is sometimes called our “sixth sense”.
Unsurprisingly, shoes limit our proprioceptive sense and that can lead to falls and other difficulties.
And you might just bite off your foot.
Dr. Steven Robbins of McGill University is one of the pioneers in studying how footwear has affected proprioception. In...