Should You RUN Barefoot?

For many of us, running is an inseparable part of our lives—we need it. When we run, we improve our health, relieve stress, achieve personal goals, compete, raise money, and most of all have fun.


On any given weekend, check out a running event in any city across the globe and you’ll be inspired by runners spanning ages, speeds, motivations, and goals—each with their own stories. It’s easy to understand how everything about running is actively studied, critiqued, debated, and running shoes are no different.


At Lead Sports Podiatry, inspiring everyone to run and be active is our reason for being here. Doing what’s right for our patients is vital to our success as a clinic. Whilst the debate has recently died down in recent times many people still question whether running barefoot is better.


We are all unique and we all move differently. People strive to run faster, longer, healthier, more efficiently, and injury-free mile after mile, and they’ve traditionally looked to their footwear or lack thereof to be a crucial part of that.


At one end of the spectrum, we know there are runners who are poorly conditioned athletes, always injured or breaking down, lacking strength and endurance. Running intermittently, with large gaps in there sessions, sometimes weeks without a run, there running technique resembles something out of the walking dead! Yep I said it Zombie like. We hear repeatedly that a more stable running shoe was a crucial factor in them being able to run.


At the other end of the spectrum there are the biomechanically blessed with great running technique,  well-conditioned in strength and endurance, they run regularly, even competitively,  they complete running strength work and know there ins and out of there training program and load management. But still these people more often than not STILL wear some level of shoe, some prefer a light weight thin running shoe often described a minimalist or barefoot shoe, often rotating a number of different shoe categories based on their sessions.


The vast majority of runners fall somewhere in between these two types of people and that’s why a one size all approach to what running shoe you should wear will never be ideal. The real focus should firstly be on how you run and train, and then finding the right shoe that addresses your needs. Whilst barefoot running may be beneficial for short periods as a part of a larger training program we strongly believe that we have evolved to wear footwear and that’s what we should do.


Let’s call a spade a spade. We prescribe shoes of differing designs and characteristics on a daily basis. We use them as a tool to enhance peoples function, change their biomechanics and treat pain in the body. We base our suggestions on our patient’s unique needs BUT we also understand there limitations more than anyone, as much as we would like them to… Shoes don’t work miracles and there often only one part of a very complex puzzle of understanding the human body.


What you should run in requires a degree of thought and we strongly believe if you value your running that you should seek out the right information from trusted sources and become educated on this topic. Our ultimate goal is to keep you running for the long haul and give you transparent, research driven information so you are well informed for all your running needs.