Why Do People Run Barefoot?

Unless you live under a rock, you've likely heard a thing or two about barefoot running. Maybe you've read some articles about it, or maybe your neighbor runs around in a pair of Vibram Fivefingers (those funky running shoes with the toe pockets).

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What's all the fuss about? Why is it so popular to run barefoot or in minimalist footwear? Here are 15 reasons why some runners have gone barefoot, and why you may want to give it a try yourself.

1. To Quit Hurting Your Knees

Or your hips, your back, your ankles. You've likely heard it a thousand times: "Running is bad for your joints." And it can be, if you run with poor form in shoes that inhibit your natural movement.

More: 4 Ways to Stay Positive Through Injuries

2. To Get Out of a Rut

You may be stuck in a pattern of injury, or you're just sick and tired of the same two-mile run on the hamster wheel. Maybe it's time to liven up the workout by adding some barefoot miles. It certainly won't be boring.

3. To Stop Wasting Energy

If you're a heel-striker, you're over-striding and landing with your foot in front of you. You're slamming the breaks on your forward movement with every stride and wasting valuable energy that could be used toward your miles.

4. To Learn Proper Running Form

Many runners don't realize how important it is to have good form, and cushioned sneakers fool them into thinking there is no need to learn. When you run barefoot or in minimalist footwear, your body usually corrects itself. With careful mileage and some practice, you'll have your mid-strike form down with minimal risk of injury.

More: 4 Tweaks to Run Like the Elites

5. To Stop Nagging Foot Issues

Plantar Fasciitis, bunions, calluses, and over-pronation are all symptoms of feet that have been forced into constrictive or ill-fitting footwear for half a lifetime. Good news—you can still go barefoot. In fact, you may even find relief from your foot issues once you lose the cushioned shoes.

6. To Feel More Connected

Get connected to the ground and the world around you. When you're barefoot, you can feel what's going on underfoot, strengthening your perception and tuning your body into your run.

More: How to Avoid Runner Burnout

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