The Supporting Science


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A comparison of forefoot stiffness in running andrunning shoe bending stiffness

By: Mark Oleson, Daniel Adler, Peter Goldsmith

Abstract
This study characterizes the stiffness of the human forefoot during running. The forefoot stiffness, defined as the ratio of ground reaction moment to angular deflection of the metatarsophalangeal joint, is measured for subjects running barefoot. Article here

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^^The naked foot explained from the homunculus perspective.  ********************************************************************** 

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The basics: Getting Started with Barefoot Running

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 Barefoot Running & Beyond (Dr Ben Pearl)


The barefoot running movement has spawned a cascade of trends in the running shoe industry. The progression has been towards minimalist shoes the ever since Chris McDougall's seminal book "Born to Run". Prior to the sensation of “Born to Run” Vin Lanana has been using barefoot
running in training his runners at Stanford. He believed that incorporating barefoot running in training resulted in better times. When marketing executives from Nike visited him at the Stanford track they conceptualized a minimalist shoe; a shoe that simulate some of the elements of barefoot running yet provide some protection on the feet. needed to grasp and release on a variety of surfaces such as dirt, grass, road, concrete, and gravel.  .. continued...




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FootStrike Patterns, by Dr Daniel Lieberman

"Humans have engaged in endurance running for millions of years, but the modern running shoe was not invented until the 1970s. For most of human evolutionary history, runners were either barefoot or wore minimal footwear such as sandals or moccasins with smaller heels and little cushioning relative to modern running shoes. We wondered how runners coped with the impact caused by the foot colliding with the ground before the invention of the modern shoe. Here we show that habitually barefoot endurance runners often land on the fore-foot (fore-foot strike) before bringing down the heel, but they sometimes land with a flat foot (mid-foot strike) or, less often, on the heel (rear-foot strike). In contrast, habitually shod runners mostly rear-foot strike, facilitated by the elevated and cushioned heel of the modern running shoe. Kinematic and kinetic analyses show that even on hard surfaces, barefoot runners who fore-foot strike generate smaller collision forces than shod rear-foot strikers. This difference results primarily from a more plantarflexed foot at landing and more ankle compliance during impact, decreasing the effective mass of the body that collides with the ground. Fore-foot- and mid-foot-strike gaits were probably more common when humans ran barefoot or in minimal shoes, and may protect the feet and lower limbs from some of the impact-related injuries now experienced by a high percentage of runners."  Full article