how padding can be evil

I swear I'm going to fork the 30 bucks for the online article from Nature that discusses this but for now I will just cite the book Born to Run and my own experience in this matter. In the book McDougall describes research detailing how the padding in our running shows doesn't actually absorb any of the force of the impact with the ground, that all such force is transferred through the heel and into/across the rest of the body just as if the padding wasn't there. In actual fact the only thing cushioning does is deaden our sensitivity to impact the force of impact and in some cases padding has even been shown to augment the transfer of these mechanical energies. In essence the padding keeps us from feeling what is happening and as far as the forces at work padding does nothing to diminish them.

One of the things I'm finding true lately of the barefoot style is that it is actually more efficient. Now that I've rebuilt my arches my feet and legs are doing the work of managing the force of impact when running. And just as Mcdougall describes I'm finding that the arch combined with the smooth stride of the Tarahumara stores much of the power of impact with the ground into the springs and coils that are the sinewy tendons, muscles, and bones that are in my arches and legs. The result as my leg moves out from under me and behind me is this wonderful feeling of flying as these 'coils, springs' and tendons release their stored energy and propel me forward with an ease, speed, and efficiency I've never experienced before (in traditional running shoes).

update: I just bought the journal article. It's awesome. More on my findings later. But for now I'll just share a video I found that to me does a great job of explaining it all:

update2: links to the online journal nature here ; two articles by 'barefoot' Leiberman at Harvard here and here.


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