At least that’s what the headline to this piece should have been.
If I had a penny for every meta-study that attempts to draw conclusions on other studies regarding barefoot running and the difference between shod and barefoot humans I’d have £57.23. But seriously when are we going to see an end to these pointless meta-studies?
It’s hard enough to run a real study on the benefits/pitfalls of walking/running without shoes. So a study that has to pick and choose from other studies to try and cobble together unrelated aspects that tried to prove/disprove some specific aspect of this subject is shear madness. Almost all studies I’ve read (and I’ve read a lot) fail before they start. The transition time to adapt your body to a completely different running gait is long and I’ve yet to see a long term study that takes this into account. What usually happens is they take a bunch of either habitually shod or unshod runners and make half of them run in the opposite manner. Then after about two weeks they draw their conclusions. This is completely flawed science and an absolute failure to understand the adaptations needed.
Actual studies worth their weight in gold focus only on a specific aspect of running and even then they are cautious in drawing any conclusions, usually with a heavily caveated summary. Of course these are then picked up by the press with attention click-bate grabbing headlines that distort the conclusions or lack of conclusions the study pointed to. Most readers will not seek out the full text of the study and simply blindly believe the press article was accurate in summarising the research – they never do. Selling newspapers, or clicks or screen views trumps accurate reporting. Money talks; science walks.