Barefoot running: biomechanics and implications for running injuries

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2012 Sep-Oct;11(5):244-50. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31826c9bb9.


Despite the technological developments in modern running footwear, up to 79% of runners today get injured in a given year. As we evolved barefoot, examining this mode of running is insightful. Barefoot running encourages a forefoot strike pattern that is associated with a reduction in impact loading and stride length. Studies have shown a reduction in injuries to shod forefoot strikers as compared with rearfoot strikers. In addition to a forefoot strike pattern, barefoot running also affords the runner increased sensory feedback from the foot-ground contact, as well as increased energy storage in the arch. Minimal footwear is being used to mimic barefoot running, but it is not clear whether it truly does. The purpose of this article is to review current and past research on shod and barefoot/minimal footwear running and their implications for running injuries. Clearly more research is needed, and areas for future study are suggested.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Foot Injuries / etiology
  • Foot Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Forefoot, Human / injuries
  • Forefoot, Human / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Running / injuries*
  • Running / physiology*
  • Shoes / adverse effects*
  • Stress, Mechanical