Article in 'Pages' contributed by Barefoot TJ, Oct 29, 2013. Current view count: 52947.

Is Barefoot and Minimalist Running Supported by Research?

By Jason Robillard

Is barefoot and minimalist shoe running supported by empirical evidence? In other words, do we have science on our side? This is a question that springs up quite often. Barefoot running skeptics ask the question. The barefoot-curious ask the question. Even some of us that have been doing this for awhile ask the question.

The answer is… sort of.

The holy grail of research would be some sort of large, representative-sampled double-blind longitudinal experiment that compared the injury rates and/or efficiency of barefoot runners and shod runners over a long period of time. As of May 2012, this research has not been conducted.

Instead, we have a lot of small studies that hint toward the benefits of barefoot and minimalist shoe running. That leaves us in a strange position when people ask if this is legit.

Anecdotal evidence certainly supports the premise, but anecdotal evidence tends to be selective in nature. For example, we only hear from the people that have successfully transitioned to barefoot or minimalism. We have no idea how many people tried and failed. Because of this serious limitation, we can’t use anecdotal evidence as the lone rationale for barefoot and minimalist shoe running.

So what about the research that hints at the benefits? [Edit by TJ: Many of these research articles are a rundown a few of us collected at "that other place" a few years back, and some of them have been added recently.]

Peer-reviewed research/articles
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