There has been a recent study mentioned in the national press about the effect of barefoot running on runners’ joints. As usual the press have been quite selective in their quoting from this source. The study, entitled “The Effect of Running Shoes on Lower Extremity Joint Torques“, is very specific, followed a small number (68) of runners and looked only at joint torques during running in the subjects. Indeed the authors of the study conceded that there were limitations in the findings.
Whilst the research produced very interesting findings for anyone who runs or is considering running barefoot, it is highly recommended that readers of the newspaper articles take a look at the research paper itself (linked above), and draw their own conclusions. Of further interest is the fact that according to Runners’ World, Dr Kerrigan has since moved on from her career in academia and is launching a new shoe company; she gives a very interesting interview with Runner’s World on the subject of running shoes and running barefoot, it’s well worth a read.
My advice on barefoot running, as ever, is if you try it, start easy and keep a close eye on your adaptations to running without shoes. I happen to believe there are great benefits to be had, but there are risks involved; we are all different and we will all have different results.