A recent trend in the running world is a return to basics: running barefoot. With the trend sparked largely by the publication of Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run, runners across the country have begun to embrace the trend of running without shoes. The book highlights groups of people that ran for thousands of years without the benefits of modern-day shoes. In particular, the Tarahumara people of Mexico’s Cooper Canyons are highlighted. Apparently, thin-soled, canvas shoes have much lower rates of injury than normal jogging shoes. 

So should you ditch the shoes for good? The short answer is “it depends” on who you listen to. One Harvard University professor touted the benefits of barefoot running, claiming he runs through Cambridge at least once a week without shoes.  Other doctors are more skeptical, claiming the number of running-related injuries has increased dramatically as their clients lose the shoes in favor of barefoot running.

Another columnist found a more practical reason standing in her way. She opted against running through streets barefoot, instead trying a local park. However, the number of dogs and homeless people led her to question what she might step in and she’s scaled back her running barefoot.

As with most trends, there is profound disagreement about the benefits of running barefoot. Still, if you’re up for an extreme challenge, this might be just the ticket.

Whatever your choice, running a Spartan Race requires training, so get to it!

Picure credit: CNN,  runmyroute.

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