In 2010, thanks in large part to Christopher’s McDougall‘s Born to Run, barefoot running became the newest running trend. Everywhere I went I heard about the health benefits of running barefoot. I heard it all, from “You’ll never get injured again!” to “You’ll be so fast!”. And research seemed to back up the barefoot running phenomena, yet I remained stubbornly unwilling to try. I was a bit relieved, then, when other research emerged that contradicted the earlier study’s findings, but not before Vibram sold millions of its five-finger minimal running shoes. These later findings resulted in a class-action lawsuit against the company.
This is just one example of companies and other interest groups using purported research to promote an agenda and get into our pocketbooks. We need to examine all the claims we see every day in running magazines, on blogs, and especially those made by marketers that say that we runners must be doing this or that thing or use this or that product if we want to be a healthy high-performing runner.