Researchers at England’s Northumbria University analyzed the gait and oxygen uptake of 18 recreational and elite runners performing a series running tasks both barefoot and shod.Dr. Michael Wilkinson, lead researcher and avid barefoot runner determined the following in their study:- a significant saving in energy from taking off running shoes- mechanical differences in the foot strike patterns (shod runners did more heel strike, unshod were more midfoot striking)- there were immediate foot strike changes in previously shod  runners who suddenly changed to unshod foot strike- there is less oxygen use during barefoot running compared to running shod at the same speed. Hence improved running economy.Characteristically, skilled unshod runners have a distinctive running gait utilizing:- mid-foot landing- shorter stride lengths- faster stride rates- reduced ground contact time- lower impact force and loading rates which dampens injury inducing forces- reduced oxygen utilization. The 6% improvement in economy was the same as that previously reported after a nine-week training program for shoe-wearing runners, who also enjoyed a 3% improvement in running performance.Click on the link above for the Science article.

Is Barefoot more economical ?

Oxygen cost of running barefoot vs. running Shod.

This study concluded that at 70% of vVO (2)max pace, barefoot running is more economical than running shod, both overground and on a treadmill.  So, if you have a competent enough foot to run barefoot or in minimalistic footwear, and it is important to note that some people are not purely from an anatomical perspective, you can improve your economy of running and use your energy sources efficiently. But if you are one of those unfortunate ones that has excessive pronation or other functional foot challenges, you will have to settle for the less economical shod running.  That does not mean you will not have as good a workout, it just means that you will be protecting your foot doing so.  Sure, you might not be the fastest one on the track, but you will be able to show up every day having not compromised  your feet.

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Int J Sports Med. 2011 Jun;32(6):401-6. Epub 2011 Apr 6.

Oxygen cost of running barefoot vs. running Shod.

Hanson NJ, Berg K, Deka P, Meendering JR, Ryan C.

Source

Health, Physical Education and Recreation, University of Nebraska at Omaha, United States. njhanson@gmail.com

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the oxygen cost of running barefoot vs. running shod on the treadmill as well as overground. 10 healthy recreational runners, 5 male and 5 female, whose mean age was 23.8±3.39 volunteered to participate in the study. Subjects participated in 4 experimental conditions: 1) barefoot on treadmill, 2) shod on treadmill, 3) barefoot overground, and 4) shod overground. For each condition, subjects ran for 6 min at 70% vVO (2)max pace while VO (2), heart rate (HR), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were assessed. A 2 × 2 (shoe condition x surface) repeated measures ANOVA revealed that running with shoes showed significantly higher VO (2) values on both the treadmill and the overground track (p<0.05). HR and RPE were significantly higher in the shod condition as well (p<0.02 and p<0.01, respectively). For the overground and treadmill conditions, recorded VO (2) while running shod was 5.7% and 2.0% higher than running barefoot. It was concluded that at 70% of vVO (2)max pace, barefoot running is more economical than running shod, both overground and on a treadmill.

Going to try a new pair of shoes at the running store ? You better read this first. Shoe stores, shoe manufacturers, pay attention !

Stiffness adaptations in shod running.

Source : J Appl Biomech. 2005 Nov;21(4):311-21.

Physiology Laboratory, PPEH Unit, University of Saint-Etiene, France.

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What The Gait Guys have to say about this article:

How long do you run in the shoes at the store before you decide whether they are a good match or feel for you ? This study suggests that if you take less than 4 minutes in a pair, you are not getting the accurate feel of the shoes.  Your “running stiffness” takes at least 4 minutes to adapt and alter to a given shoes materials.  Each shoe will likely feel different.  Don’t be fooled by the EVA’s softness, or the sock liner’s plushness. They might be there to offset what this study found, that being…… shoe stiffness increased significantly during the first 4 minutes but beyond the 4th minute, shoe properties remained stable.

How many stores or shoe companies are telling you this one !? 

Well, we are telling you right here and right now…….. first impressions are not always the best ones. 

  • “We don’t know where our first impressions come from or precisely what they mean, so we don’t always appreciate their fragility.”  – Malcom Gladwell

* Read the study’s conclusion below…… and think (and feel) before you buy. Read your favorite internet blogger’s shoe reviews with an educated eye, and an open mind.  What they feel and report could very likely be the exact opposite of what you feel because their anatomy and running style could be very different from your own.

We are, without a doubt…… from all angles…….. The Gait Guys

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Abstract

When mechanical parameters of running are measured, runners have to be accustomed to testing conditions. Nevertheless, habituated runners could still show slight evolutions of their patterns at the beginning of each new running bout. This study investigated runners’ stiffness adjustments during shoe and barefoot running and stiffness evolutions of shoes. Twenty-two runners performed two 4-minute bouts at 3.61 m.s-1 shod and barefoot after a 4-min warm-up period. Vertical and leg stiffness decreased during the shoe condition but remained stable in the barefoot condition, p < 0.001. Moreover, an impactor test showed that shoe stiffness increased significantly during the first 4 minutes, p < 0.001. Beyond the 4th minute, shoe properties remained stable. Even if runners were accustomed to the testing condition, as running pattern remained stable during barefoot running, they adjusted their leg and vertical stiffness during shoe running. Moreover, as measurements were taken after a 4-min warm-up period, it could be assumed that shoe properties were stable. Then the stiffness adjustment observed during shoe running might be due to further habituations of the runners to the shod condition. To conclude, it makes sense to run at least 4 minutes before taking measurements in order to avoid runners’ stiffness alteration due to shoe property modifications. However, runners could still adapt to the shoe.

Article link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16498177 , get this article for yourself.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16498177

Here are some excerpts from a talk we did earlier in 2011. Dr. Shawn Allen talks to a private industry group about shoes, shod and unshod ambulation, the research based facts from both old and new studies, and thoughts about the benefits and caveats of going into minimalistic footwear or barefoot.
Thank you for watching our video, please feel free to share it with anyone and everyone. We have lots of other videos here on youtube.
Shawn and Ivo…..The Gait Guys

Shod vs. Unshod : What the Lieberman-Harvard study really said.

Shod vs. Unshod : What the Lieberman-Harvard study really said.

Thanks to OwenAnderson of  Educatedrunner.com for this excellent article.

http://educatedrunner.com/Blog/tabid/633/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/797/BAREFOOT-RUNNING-WHAT-THE-HARVARD-STUDY-REALLY-SAID.aspx

If you are paying attention to everything that is going on, you want to read this well thought out article.  The Gait Guys are digesting this article and we will render our thoughts and opinions shortly.  But, differing points of view, when laid out logically and with sound reason, deserve consideration. This is how the truth is eventually discovered.

Give this article a productive and attentive read.  We will get back to you shortly.

Summary statement seems to be this….. (quoted word from word from the article).

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“Ironically, the popular press has been using the Harvard study as a launching pad for the idea that barefoot running is healthier than shod ambling, even though Lieberman’s paper provided no data at all to test the idea that barefoot running lowers the risk of running injuries!

  Here’s what Lieberman et al actually found:  

(A) Habitually shod runners (groups 1 and 5 from above) who grew up wearing shoes are usually rear-foot strikers (RFS), meaning that their heels make the first impacts with the ground during running, right at the beginning of the stance phase of gait. This is not new information. The strong link between running in shoes and heel-striking has been known for many years.  

(B) Runners who grew up running barefooted or who switched to running barefooted (groups 2, 3, and 4) are generally fore-foot strikers (FFS), meaning that they tend to land initially on the balls of their feet while running, after which their heels drop down to make contact with the ground. Again, this is nothing new – the tight connection between barefoot running and FFS (and also MFS, mid-foot striking) has been general knowledge for years.  

(C) Impact forces transmitted through the foot, ankle, and leg immediately after impact with the ground are about three times greater in shod runners using RFS, compared with barefoot runners with FFS. Some – but not all – previous studies have shown this same relationship, with RFS producing greater impact force during the first portion of stance, compared with MFS and FFS. The sudden rise in force with RFS, immediately after ground contact, is known as the “impact transient.” The disparity in impact transient between barefoot and shod running represents a “foundation” for the belief that barefoot running is “safer” and less injury producing. While this appears to be logical thinking, it is important to know that no study has ever shown that greater impact forces during the first portion of stance magnify the risk of running injury.  

(D) Rates of loading of impact force are actually quite similar between shod RFS runners and barefoot FFS athletes (Figure 2b from the Nature paper). The rate at which impact force is loaded into the leg has also been suggested to be a risk factor for injury, although convincing proof of this notion does not exist.  

(E) During the early stance phase of barefoot FFS running, there is greater knee flexion, greater dorsi-flexion at the ankle, and a 74-percent-greater drop in the center of mass, compared with shod RFS running. “Vertical compliance” is defined as the drop in the runner’s center of mass relative to the vertical force during the impact period of stance, and it is obviously greater in barefoot FFS running, compared with shod RFS. Vertical compliance varies as a function of running-surface hardness, and this is why force-loading rates are similar for barefoot FFS runners over a wide array of running surfaces (the runners adjust compliance according to surface). This is not novel information, however.  

(F) During barefoot FFS ambling, the ground reaction force torques the foot around the ankle (and therefore increases the amount of work carried out by the ankle, compared with shod RFS running). With shod RFS running, the ankle converts little impact energy into rotational energy. Potentially, this could spike the rate of ankle-area injuries (for example in the Achilles tendon and calf) for barefoot runners, although this hypothesis has not been tested.  

And that was pretty much it! The Nature investigation did disclose some interesting information about the effective mass of the foot and shank (which we won’t discuss here), but it offered no other information about the potential links between barefoot running and either injury or performance.   And that’s why it’s too early for you to consider changing from shod to barefoot running, unless such a shift would be a lot of fun for you. 

There’s just no proof that barefoot running will reduce your risk of injury or make you faster.   In fact, it’s important to remember that most injuries in running are caused by an imbalance between the strain and micro-damage experienced by a muscle or connective tissue during training and the tissue’s ability to recover from such stress. This imbalance can occur when training is conducted shod – or barefooted! A weak or overly tight hamstring muscle which has been undone by excessive mileage won’t care if its owner was running barefooted or wearing shoes – it will still feel the pain. ”

Owen Andersson, http://educatedrunner.com/Blog/tabid/633/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/797/BAREFOOT-RUNNING-WHAT-THE-HARVARD-STUDY-REALLY-SAID.aspx

Gum Shoe…. def.

Noun….gumshoe

1. a sneaker or rubber overshoe

2. (slang) A detective or private eye

But in this case……. it quite literally looks like a shoe with gum stuck to the heel and ground ! This pair of pumps is gonna get looks. Pretty amazing what some people think of. Probably courtesy of the guy in the cubical beside you who’s supposed to be doing your mothers taxes but instead is photo-shopping stuff like this to serve his shoe fetish. None the less……a creative mind. We cannot remember where we found this pic……. we would love to give credit to the innovator if he or she is out there…..drop us a line !

By the words of the legendary Rock band Boston………Walk on…..

“Take a look around and tell me what you can see
I guess that all depend on exactly what you want it to be
Is your cup half-full? Is your cup half-empty?

How can you get what you need in the land of plenty?
Everybody gets carried away
Everybody’s trying everyday to remind you
Leave it behind you
What’s it take to see?
What’s it take to believe right from wrong?
Never knowing where you belong
Walk On
Walk On “