Barefoot running has been on everyone’s radar since recent studies have shown it may help prevent running injuries. “Barefoot running allows the muscles and bone structure of the feet, ankle, and lower legs to work in a more natural way,” explains Kyle Kepler, head coach of the University of Utah’s Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field programs.
While running in sneakers usually causes your heel to strike the pavement first, barefoot running causes your mid- or fore-foot to land first, which Harvard researchers believe causes a less abrupt impact than landing heel first. A January study published in Nature found that heel-strikers have a higher risk of impact-related foot injuries like plantar fasciitis.
If you’d like to try barefoot running or stripped-down barefoot-like shoes, you’ll have to make a few adjustments to your normal workout routine to help you get used to running without the solid cushioning of a traditional running sneaker. Kepler recommends the following five tips.