Researchers in the UK have claimed that traditional plimsolls may encourage a better style of running than specially designed sports trainers.
The study carried out at Northumbria University states that children should be encouraged to wear thin, flexible soles such as plimsolls from a young age to help them develop a natural "barefoot" running style.
Human feet are designed to land on the front part of the foot when running, but modern trainers with cushioned heels make it virtually impossible to do so. Instead they force us to land on the heel, which causes a sharper shock than landing on the front foot and puts more strain on joints like the knee.
Despite the conclusions, the researchers state that adults should stick to the trainers they have become accustomed to, as their bones are unable to adjust to the sudden increase in impact.
Dr Mick Wilkinson, a Sports Scientist at Northumbria University, said: "I would say [to parents] don't go and buy expensive Adidas or Nike big cushioned jobs, just get them a normal pair of flexible, flat shoes. Give them basic footwear. Nothing structured, nothing particularly cushioned...there is a lot of evidence to suggest that the human foot is structured to be able to cope with the forces of running on the midfoot or barefoot. I think if somebody is going to learn to run from the very first principles, let them learn to run using their natural equipment as much as possible.”
Barefoot running is increasing in popularity in the US and UK, but there is no evidence linking barefoot running to reduced injury rates, and shedding your shoes could even raise the risk of harm unless you adopt a change in technique, the researchers say.
Original Source The Telegraph
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