Thursday, November 8 2012, 06:07 PM MST
Are Barefoot Shoes A Good Idea?
(KUTV) You've probably seen them at the gym or around town –those form-fitting shoes that leave the wearer feeling almost barefoot. They seem to be gaining popularity. But are they a good idea?
Hay Wan Chiu is an avid runner. He's worn all kinds of shoes, although he prefers to run barefoot.
But that can be tough on the toes, so when the new barefoot running shoes came out he'd thought he'd give them a try.
“It feels like you're running on air like everybody says. And also you've got to be really careful not to overdo it,” Hay Wan Chiu said.
How can a shoe with space for five toes and very little sole, protect a foot and help runners perform more efficiently?
That's what researchers at one podiatry laboratory were asking. So they tested the shoe to see if it gave enough support and protection.
“It creates more flexibility, better balance, more agility, better toe strength. I think it's all around a good thing for feet,” Dr. Whitney says.
But whether you're an experienced runner or a novice you have to slowly transition into barefoot shoes, says Dr. Whitney. “People get into trouble when they run too far, too fast on the wrong surface."
And softer surfaces are better than asphalt or concrete.
But these minimalist shoes aren't for everyone. Those with any type of foot or ankle pain or injury should talk to their doctor first. But for runners like Chiu, they seem to be a pleasant alternative to going shoeless.
Barefoot shoes aren't cheap –a good pair will cost more than $100.
(Copyright 2012 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)