Pros and Cons of Training with No Shoes
Running barefoot is a trend that has grown over recent years. Advocates suggest that there are a number of benefits to running without shoes, including a lower chance of injury and a more natural gait while running. However, there are a number of potential downsides to training with no shoes on too. If you're a track runner who is thinking about training barefoot, it's important to understand both the pros and cons of doing so before you make your decision.
If you decide to train without shoes, you could benefit in several ways. Some experts say that wearing shoes can have a negative effect, which going barefoot can help to correct.
Strengthen Muscles, Tendons and Ligaments
One possible benefit of running with no shoes is that it could strengthen muscles, tendons and ligaments. These could be weakened by wearing shoes, and running barefoot potentially allows your feet to operate as they should. As well as improving your strength, you could improve your balance and coordination.
There's a chance that running without shoes could help to reduce injuries. Achilles pain can be a big problem for a lot of runners, but running barefoot might help. Without the heel lift that most running shoes have, you give your Achilles tendon and calf muscles the chance to stretch and lengthen. Reducing tightness can help you to avoid problems such as tendonitis and pulling your calf muscle.
Develop a More Natural Running Technique
Running without shoes could help you to run more naturally and efficiently. One thing it might do is encourage you to land on your forefoot rather than your heel. This is a more effective way to run naturally because it helps to keep your steps smooth and flowing. It also gives your arches the chance to absorb more shock and protect your feet and the rest of your body too.
Not all experts agree on the benefits of running without shoes. There are also several reasons you might not want to run barefoot.
Lack of Foot Protection
One of the reasons that you might not want to run without shoes is the lack of protection for your feet. Although running on a track might be a little safer than other surfaces, you can still be at risk of injuring your feet. You never know what could be on the ground, and the hard surface of the track probably won't do your feet any favors, either.
Chance of Increased Pain in Some Areas
Even though running barefoot could possibly help with some types of pain, it could also increase pain in the exact same areas. If you're not used to running barefoot, problems with your calf muscles or Achilles tendon could become evident due to them being overworked. Plantar pain is another potential problem and could even increase the risk of plantar fasciitis for some. This could happen due to the lack of support from the sole of a shoe.
Training without shoes could be good for you, but there are possible downsides too. If you're considering it, weigh up the pros and cons first.