Is the Barefoot Running Trend Over?

Barefoot running was all the rage a few years ago but interest in it and the number doing it have dropped of substantially. It was a fad that lasted a few years and was mostly driven by social media commentary. This was a really a temporary trend towards barefoot running that started around 2009 with increased interest in running without running shoes. It was claimed in many books, blogs and magazine articles that barefoot running was more natural, that it was a more economical way to run and that you got less injuries running that was. Many runners tried barefoot running instead of using running shoes and interest in it peaked around 2013. The sales of minimalist or barefoot running shoes also peaked at around that time, reaching almost 10% of the running shoe market.

After that initial interest and peak interest in barefoot running and minimalist running shoes have been steadily declining. Runners lost interest in it. The sales of the minimalist running shoes have been declining steadily since around mid- to late 2013. The claimed benefits for it did not eventuate to most runners that tried it but, of course, those who promoted barefoot running just claim that those runners were doing it wrong. As the scientific evidence accumulated, the benefits were not just there. All of the injury rate studies were showing that the risk of injury was the same if you were running in shoes versus running barefoot and most of the running economy studies were also showing that generally there were no systematic benefits.

While some runners, who are quite vocal, still do their running barefoot the big trend has now been towards the maximalist running shoes with the Hoka One One running shoe being the leader in that category of running shoes. It has now reached the stage where that brand now outsells the entire category if minimalist running shoes which gives a clear indication of the popularity of cushioned running shoes compared to barefoot running. If you have any problems with your running, then you should consult a good sports podiatrist.