Yesterday on Twitter I re-tweeted a link to a very interesting article syndicated on the Guardian and written by Ross Tucker of The Science of Sport. The Science of Sport is an interesting website in itself (I’ve added it to the links on the right), but the article rightly highlights the current lack of:
“…conclusive evidence that either proves or disproves the benefits of shoes or barefoot running”.
That’s interesting in itself because I assumed (always a dangerous thing) it had been proved otherwise, but it seems the mass of ‘evidence’ currently available relates to either the knowledge that barefoot running (or running properly in minimalist shoes) reduces the load and impact on landing and foot-strikes…and that all other proof is at best anecdotal.
Yes we can say that less load equals less landing impact and – therefore – less damage results, but until scientific study confirms it, logic can not fill the void and just saying something doesn’t make it true.
Personally, the amount of anecdotal evidence I’ve seen and read suggests to me that there is something to it. Indeed, I wouldn’t have started TBB if I didn’t have a long and hard, rational, think about this evidence beforehand! But it does serve to remember that the race isn’t run between barefoot and running shoes, even if the barefoot movement’s momentum is now unstoppable.
But a mind is best kept open, and I hope to provide that in my view as much as anyone else. Also, crucially, when we’re dealing with people’s health, evangelising isn’t exactly desirable. Reasoned optimism and enthusiasm can be shared while newcomers can feel their own way if inclined.
So, if you have five minutes, read the original post by Tucker here. If you have five minutes more, be sure to check out (and go fullscreen) on his presentation at the end of it. There’s no audio, but it makes for very interesting viewing.