While it’s pretty common sight to see runners on the beach barefoot, a growing trend among CrossFit athletes and runners today is running barefoot or in minimal on the roads and tracks to achieve better mechanics with the feet and reduce ankle, knee and hip injuries.
Another reason why this trend is taking hold is that recent studies are showing that your efficiency as a runner increases when you run barefoot by nearly 5%.
Other reasons why athletes, that incorporate running in their routines, are tossing their traditional thick soled running footwear include the desire to cultivate a natural running motion and bolster the foot tendons, ligaments and muscles. We can see those models on fitness & health expo events since 2012.
By taking out the lift of the heels from running sneakers, the Achilles tendon and the calf muscles stretch and become longer, reducing injuries like pulls in the calf or tendinitis in the Achilles. Those problems are caused by the short and tight tissues that can be strengthened by running barefoot or in Barefoot CrossFit Sneakers.
Improved balance is another benefit that many are seeing from running barefoot or wearing the barefoot type footwear. Because you no longer have the thick soled shoes to support your feet and legs, the more modest sized muscles in your feet, legs, ankles and hips are activated to help with better balance. Your coordination and balance improve because of your ability to become grounded and feel the environment.
The toes spread and your foot expands while it connects with an increasingly larger base that is supportive of all your body’s movements.
While it may sound odd, the barefoot running trend has spread and many of the big name manufacturers are now putting out a minimalist shoe that offers a rubber sole for protection from the pavement, but little else. Some even offer a basic glove for the foot, calling it a shoe, with spots for each of the toes, just like a glove.
There are definite advantages to running barefoot, but there’s something to be said for model that keep your feet warm too when you’re running. Many runners are finding a happy medium with Barefoot CrossFit model, that allow them to test the waters and ease into the trend with a familiar looking a model that simply weighs significantly less than today’s typical running sneaker.