Injury Rates with Barefoot Running: Editorial by Matt Fitzgerald
Here is an article which I would consider to be worth a read: The Barefoot Running Injury Epidemic
This article definitely is not in support of the barefoot or minimalist running trend. What is provided here is somewhat anecdotal accounts for dismissing barefoot running as a means of injury prevention. This is, in many ways, not too dissimilar to the anecdotal evidence people use for supporting barefoot running. It still remains that a topic lacking of evidence to this degree is yet to be "Decided".
With that said, I believe this article raises quite a few good perspectives. Namely, is with the means in which people who take up barefoot running may predispose them self for injury. It appears that many adopters of this trend, will retain their previous mileage and running style, while simply switching to minimal or lack of shoegear.
What many people may not be comprehending from the published book "Born to Run" as well as some preliminary scientific literature, is the notion that forefoot/midfoot striking and associated postural and gait differences is what may permit people to run barefoot without significant risk of injury. What is assumed by many, is that the simple state of being barefoot is what mandates these suspected beneficial improvement over shod running.
In this editorial, the author compares the ability to run barefoot without corrective shoegear, with that of a fighter pilot's ability to operate without corrective eyewear.
The romantic vision of an Edenic primitive humanity in which everyone ran like Kenenisa Bekele is complete hokum. Endurance running was very likely only ever a specialization of the few, exactly as it is today.
Hence, “If we can say that everyone is built to run barefoot we can say that everyone is built to fly a fighter jet without glasses,” says Pribut. “We don’t all have 20/20 vision.”
But most of us do have 20/20 vision with glasses. Similarly, says Pribut, “There are more people who can run because of shoes than can’t run because of shoes.”
In other words, the right shoe can help some of those who were not born to run, run anyway, and those who were born to run a little, run a little more.
While the barefoot/minimalist running dispute remains a battle of opinion at this point. I still stand behind the notion that popular opinion will often lead many people's choices. As with any instance of people trusting public opinion, there will always be the potential for downfall. A complete lack of shoegear in addition to increased mileage in recreational runners is quite possible to end in tears for many.
"A wise man makes his own decisions; an ignorant man follows public opinion" -Chinese Proverb via twitter.com/allgreatquotes