Who Runs Barefoot?

Staff Writer
A new study holds the answer.

Where does the barefoot/minimalist running movement stand, you ask? A recent study of more than 800 runners published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research may not hold many concrete answers, but certainly provides some interesting clues.

Seventy-five percent of runners are at least somewhat interested in barefoot or minimalist running. But while interest is high, the number actually hitting the pavement sans shoes is much lower, with just 22 percent having given barefoot a go.

Why the discrepancy? Runners who hadn’t breached the barefoot or minimalist movement cited fear of injury as their primary reason for avoiding the trend. But, (not so) surprisingly, the majority of barefoot runners also stated that they went barefoot in the name of injury prevention. As Runner’s World aptly put it, “sounds about right.”

More interesting, perhaps: Men, younger runners and those who consider themselves to be “elite” are the most likely to strip their shoes. Funny, sounds like switching to barefoot running might just go hand-in-hand with a touch of hubris.

If you're a reckless man, youth or the cream of the running crop hoping to get your feet dirty, check out our article on How to Switch to Barefoot Running. Or, if you're into the more cautious approach, here, Expert Advice on Who Should Use Minimalist Shoes.