Runners thinking of switching to “barefoot” running shoes should think twice about it. Because the shoes have no cushioning, running in them can increase stress on bones in the feet and boost the risk of injury, according to a new study from Brigham Young University.
The ultra-thin shoes fit your feet like a glove (with individual toe compartments) and are meant to mimic barefoot movement, which is supposed to be a more natural, healthier way to run, though there’s little solid evidence supporting that notion.
The study looked at 36 experienced runners, half of whom switched to the minimalist shoes over 10 weeks, while the others continued with regular running shoes. Even though they switched over gradually, following manufacturers’ advice, the runners in the new shoes showed evidence of increased inflammation in bones, and two had stress fractures.