What is the Science?

Some say that we need shoes for correct posture.
Others say that shoes try to do the job of feet, actually weakening feet and causing a need to wear shoes.
What should you believe?

Section content:


Burden of truth

The burden of proof should really be with running shoes; they are the alteration to our natural state.
So let’s start there; 40 years of innovation – studies should be easy to find.

What is the science for running shoes?

 Err…  erm…
There isn’t any
(yes you did read that right)

Not evidence-based

40 years of research and development in the running shoe industry – not a single study exists to support any claims for running shoes.
Running shoes are sold on their ‘technology’, we all assume that this is evidence-based; it’s not.

What is the science for barefoot running?

There’s actually quite a lot
Which is surprising as there is no money to be made from
dis-proving the validity of running shoes

Heel vs Forefoot landing

Most research has centered around the most fundamental difference; the landing.
Below is the basic case for padded running shoe heels masking impact force.

(heel landing)

2x body weights loaded in 250 milliseconds, completely focused on the heel.

(forefoot landing)

The same 2x body weights, but loaded over almost 3x the time, and spread over the whole foot.

Rather than absorbing the shock of a heel landing, padding in a running shoe’s heel merely converts the energy into a kinetic shock wave.  This travels up the body unfelt, causing injuries.

Barefoot Professor

Daniel E. Lieberman, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, explains the basic science above.