Do running shoes actually do more harm than good?

I just read the book "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall, which has been a bestseller and suggests that running shoes may actually do more damage than good to runners. Is this true? Should I be considering switching to shoes with very little cushioning like the Vibram five or even running barefoot?
Asked by lopo5

3 answers

Top answer
I am currently reading the same book and it makes for interesting reading. The Tarahumara are noted historically for their long distance running as were the Apache who also occupied the area around the Sierra Madres. Switching from traditional running shoes to 4 Fingers or Vibram rubber soles will without question cause injury. I have seen this happen with several patients at our Clinic. Making the move to 5 Fingers should be gradual and progressive as our musculoskeletal system will take time to adapt to the new demand placed upon it. I can say from experience that running in 5 fingers is a tremendously liberating experience and my running experience has improved. The problem we have is that all our lives we have worn shoes and we have become accustomed to it, if had never worn them then we would probably have avoided a whole catalogue of problems and injuries. I would recommend in conjunction with Vibram that you work with a Corrective Exercise Specialist to work on balancing out your musculoskeletal system otherwise you may never get the chance to enjoy the freedom of barefoot running without injury


I suppose that running on sand would be a good way to start off gradually?
Do you like vibram five finger shoes, now it is very popular and has many fans, if you like it, don't wait but choose it.
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yes they can do if you have flat feet yes i ues the vibram five yes there good but dont run berefood because you may cut you feet on ground why run any way we dont need it to be fit i have been working out for over 20year now and i never run any were my resting heart rat is 47bpm this with only doing weight in gym cv suck but the Vibram five are good to work out in the gym because there good for swiss ball work and dead lift
I have not read that particular book although I have read an article about it's controversial topic matter . I am a half marathon runner and know that without my very expensive running shoes that my 40 year old arches and achilles would take a severe battering . the main issue is the musculoskeletal imbalances from always wearing shoes to not . I have massaged many people over the years with orthopaedic issues , it takes the body a lot of time and specialist care to correct imbalances , so I do not recommend everyone changing to Vibram . That said , I love running bare foot on a beach as the soft sand gives support under the arches and it's a great leg workout alongside a fab underfoot pedicure .
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