Turns out that running shoes are not only not better than wearing nothing — they could be even worse.
A new study shows that running shoes are a root cause of many running injuries. Apparently, shoes alter the mechanics of your gait so that you land with more impact than necessary, on the heel, so the impact goes in a more or less straight line right up to the spine.
Better to land on the balls of the feet and bend the joints to better absorb the shock. The Tarahumara indians in Mexico regularly run 150 miles at a time while barefoot and have way lower incidences of foot injury than Nike-shod runners. But they run differently, coming down on the balls of their feet in a softer more flexible landing that a running shoe makes rather awkward.
I’ve posted before about my Vibram FiveFingers and the joys of near-barefoot-ness. I cited the NY Mag article called “You Walk Wrong” to appeal to science and reason over the (admittedly) goofy aesthetics of my favorite footwear.
Biomechanics, baby. For this big guy, it’s more than just a trivial deal. I heart my Vibrams!