The Barefoot Running Revolution
More and more people are taking up barefoot running. In this infographic, we chart the history of the barefoot phenomenon and show you how going barefoot make you a better runner.
The problem with traditional running shoes
- Every year 65-80% of all runners suffer an injury: 1) 5.34 times more likely to suffer an injury while running than cycling; 2) 1.25 times more likely to have an injury in an expensive running shoe; 3) This is $2.36 billion industry has
achieved no reduction in running injuries.
- US athletic shoes market - $2.36 billion.
- US casual shoes market - $12.6 billion.
- US footwear market - $24 billion.
- Barefoot running can trace its roots back to man's genesis in Africa.
- 1951, Boston - Shigeki Tanaka wins marathon wearing sock-shoe, it features a separated big toe.
- 1960, Rome - Abebe Bikila sets a marathon world record barefoot.
- 1962, Belgrade - Bruce Tulloh wins the 5000m. European Championship barefoot.
- 1930s -The New England running Shoe surfaces as first racing flats.
- 1985 - Zola Budd Pieterse wins the Cross Country World Championships, she trains and runs barefoot.
- 1997 - Ken Bob launches the barefoot running website runningbarefoot.com.
- 2004 - Nike Free launches first mainstream minimalist shoe.
- 2006 - Release of Vibram FiveFingers.
- 2009-2011 - celebrities like Scarlett Johansson, Google's Sergey Brin and Matthew McConaughey are spotted wearing Vibram FiveFingers.
- 2009 - "Born to Run" enthralls the running world, sells over 120.000 copies.
The shoe companies react
- Shoe price: 1) Fila Skele-Toes - $50; 2) Saucony Hattori - $80; 3) Adidas adiPURE - $90; 4) Brooks PureProject - $90; 5) Nike Free - $90; 6) Vibram FiveFingers - $100; 7) Altra - $100; 8) New Balance Minimus - $100;
9) Vivo Barefoot - $120; 10) Merrell Glove - $110; 11) Skora Base - $125.
The science of barefoot
- Running shoes result in heel first landings 75-80% of the time: 1) When running in traditional running shoes, you land heel first. This underutilized the small ligaments of the foot and weakens them; 2) Shock transfer to thigh and
pelvis; 3) Achilles tendon is elongated, causing stress; 4) Heel-first impact; 5) Inactivated small ligaments.
- Running barefoot reduces force of heel impact up to 3x: 1) running barefoot results in the front of the foot coming into contact with the ground first. This activates the small tendons of the foot, followed by the Achilles tendon,
distributing the impact evenly; 2) Strengthens ankles and foreleg muscles; 3) Reduces puncture trauma to heel; 4) Activates small ligaments of the foot; 4) Foot flexes naturally.
- Heel-strike landing: 1) Unnatural posture; 2) Stressful impacts; 3) Inefficient stride.
- Barefoot landing: 1) Aligned posture; 2) Balanced landing; 3) Efficient cadence (rhythm).
What is a barefoot shoe?
- A barefoot shoe is defined by its heel-to-toe drop. This drop is the difference between heel height and forefoot height. The lower the drop, the easier it is to land on your midfoot.
- Traditional running shoes - 12mm drop.
- Minimalist running shoes - 8mm-1mm drop.
- Barefoot running shoes - 0mm drop.
- Chris McDougall: Barefoot Visionary - Harvard graduate and author of "Born to Run". The man who made barefoot mainstream.
- Professor Daniel Lieberman: Barefoot Professor - Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard. Academic heavyweight behind the science of barefoot.
- Roy M. Wallack: Barefoot Journalist - LA Times fitness columnist and author of "Run for Life" and "Be a Better Runner".
- Jason Robillard: barefoot Entrepreneur - Author of "The Barefoot Running Back" and barefootrunninguniversity.com.
- Ken Bob: Barefoot Fnatic - Founder of The Running Barefoot website. Ran barefoot for over 50 days. A true barefoot legend.
- Caballo Blanco: Barefoot Wildman - Lives with Tarahumara Indians in Northern Mexico. The main character in "Born to Run".
The barefoot trend soars
- Google Insights compares search volumes patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties. The graph below shows the number of searches for the term "barefoot running" relative to the total number of
google searches over time (flowchart).
* The numbers on this chart do not represent absolute search volume numbers because data from Google Insights is normalized and presented on a scale from 0-100.
Sources: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1934148209013677; http://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/NEISSQuery/home.aspx; http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7280/full/nature08723.html; http://runningtimes.com/
Article.aspx?ArticleID=22417; http://www.google.com/insights/search; http://therunningbarefoot.com; http://www.barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu/2009_EvolutionHumanEnduranceRunning; http://www.barefootrunning.fas.
harvard.edu/Nature2004_EnduranceRunningtheEvolutionHomo.pdf; http://www.wired.com/wiredscience.2009/07/barefoot; http://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Hidden-Superathletes-Greatest/dp/0307266303;http://www.amazon.com/
Barefoot-Running-1-Michael-Sandler/dp/0984382208; http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2010/01/27/running-barefoot-is-better-researchers-find; http://runningtimes.com/Print.aspx?articleID=16929 | The options or
assertions contained herein do not necessarily reflect those of RunningShoes.com. This infographic is based on the best-selling book "Born to Run".