Light and quiet March 31 2015, 0 Comments
In our running group we have a smattering of people who run in barefoot shoes, and the rest in more standard running shoes. It is noticeable that the barefoot-shoe runners seem quieter than the others, and I speculate that this is a question of style.
No matter what style you run, the peak impact when you land is about two-and-a-half times your body weight. However, the way that we arrive at this peak is different, depending on how we land. Here, for instance, you will see heel-strike running with shoes, and barefoot. In both cases you will see that there is a sudden, steep rise in the impact force as the heel lands, indicating a sudden, hard landing. With a barefoot running landing front-foot first, the impact climb, albeit to the same level, is more gradual. This means that the weight also arrives on the ground more gradually, and could explain the lighter sound when running.
A further video looks at a runner running shod and barefoot without any pre-training. It discusses that the style adopted is completely different, with the runner landing on the front foot when bafefoot, and the heel when wearing shoes. The suggestion is that extra padding in the heel of shoes is sufficient in itself to cause a change in style to a heel-strike.