Finance junior Richard Stanley walks barefoot on the indoor track at the Maverick Activities Center. Running barefoot provides health benefits.

Humans were meant to run barefoot.

Shoes are made necessary by man, not nature, nursing sophomore Kim Pham said, because they were born naked.

Barefoot running improves form, finance junior Richard Stanley said.

It’s something Stanley has been participating in for four years.

This running style was popularized by Daniel Lieberman’s journal in Nature in 2010 regarding the topic, kinesiology professor Mark Ricard said. Lieberman discussed how the evolutionary man ran.

“The early man couldn’t go to a Nike store, so he ran barefoot,” Ricard said.

Barefoot running is more efficient versus running with shoes, Stanley said. It improves running posture and helps fight pronation, which is when the foot rolls while running, he said.

“I run barefoot because it helps with the running form and helps deter heel striking,” Stanley said.

Heel striking is when the heel hits the ground first rather than the forefoot, he said. Heel striking isn’t bad — just a newer way of running that was developed after shoes were introduced to running.

To catch her dog, nursing sophomore Kimberly Tran said she runs barefoot, but doesn’t actively participate in the activity.

“It depends on the weather outside, but I would consider doing it,” Tran said.

Running barefoot is a better option because shoes tend to collect bacteria, which develops a distinct odor, Tran said. However, Tran believes shoes became a necessity with running because of diseases.

Vibram FiveFingers are shoes that separate the toes, similar to a glove.

Vibrams weren’t originally created for running, but are now used for that purpose, Stanley said. They can help transition from running with traditional running shoes to running barefoot, he said.

Barefoot running causes blisters to develop, which eventually turn into calluses. This makes the foot sturdier later on, he said.

Muscles contract after running barefoot consistently, making the foot smaller, Stanley said.

“I’ve actually gone down a whole shoe size because of it,” he said.

When the foot hits the ground, a shock wave is sent to the bone tissue that is two to three times as much as the person’s body weight, Ricard said. There are two effects to this: It strengthens the bone due to the vibration and wears down the knee and joint tissue eventually resulting in arthritis.


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