Barefoot Supremacy…challenged!!

The Globe & Mail featured an article in its Health & Fitness section by Alex Hutchinson on Monday, March 19, 2012. As its title (repeated above) suggests, Alex presented a sketchy summary of research done by a group at the U. of Colorado’s Locomotion Lab. He basically states that the research showed a 3 to 4% reduction in energy consumption when the test subject runners wore minimalist shoes (the Nike Mayflys) vs. barefoot.

The lead researcher (Dr. Rodger Kram) comments that “if I could run faster barefoot, I’d do it. As a 50 year old runner (who mostly runs in snow- & rock-covered trails around Boulder, Col.), I need all the help I can get”.

As a 58 (almost 59) year old barefoot runner & coach, I can tell Dr. Kram that it’s never too late to shed the shoes – no matter what the conditions. I also question whether the test subjects in his study were experienced, full-time bare-footers with extensive barefoot racing experience and off-road drill experience. If this were the case, the barefoot running would translate into progressively, quieter, lighter, more efficient and, YES, faster running than in shoes of any type. I have been proving this in the ‘field’ repeatedly over the past 12 years.

As with any type of research, one must take in ALL the parameters of the study before coming to conclusions. That’s why (as an Exercise Physiologist & former research scientist) I prefer to let my clients be the canvas…

Coach Jeff


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