It may be counterintuitive (and hard to digest for parents like myself who always have to tell our kids to wear shoes when playing outside) but going barefoot may actually be better for you.
Here's a New York Times article by Amy Cortese about the controversial movement of running barefoot (or barely barefoot anyhow, as these runners still wear thin rubber running shoes like the ones shown to the left):
Recent research suggests that for all their high-tech features, modern running shoes may not actually do much to improve a runner’s performance or prevent injuries. Some runners are convinced that they are better off with shoes that are little more than thin gloves for the feet — or with no shoes at all.
Plenty of medical experts disagree with this notion. The result has been a raging debate in running circles, pitting a quirky band of barefoot runners and researchers against the running-shoe and sports-medicine establishments.
Naturally, Nike and other large shoe manufacturers aren't amused:
The shoe industry giants defend their products, saying they help athletes perform better and protect feet from stress and strain — not to mention the modern world’s concrete and broken glass.
But for all the technological advances promoted by the industry — the roll bars, the computer chips and the memory foam — experts say the injury rate among runners is virtually unchanged since the 1970s, when the modern running shoe was introduced. Some ailments, like those involving the knee and Achilles’ tendon, have increased.
Link (Photo: Jodi Hilton for The New York Times)