30 Jun '11, 4pm
Should you start running barefoot?
As far as hot-button topics among athletes and medical experts go, barefoot running is as contentious as they come, either improving your performance or increasing the risk of injury. In the wake of Christopher McDougall’s bestselling book, Born To Run , the shoeless craze might come off as just another passing hippie fad. Then again, the athletic shoe wasn’t invented until the 1970s, which means that for most of human evolutionary history, people ran barefoot or with minimal footwear like sandals or moccasins. Does that mean we’re conditioned to pound the pavement au naturel? Well yes and no, says Stuart Warden, director of physical-therapy research at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis , who tackled the subject earlier this month at the American College of Sports Medicine