When I read things like this…

…I roll my eyes. Not because there is anything wrong with the publication; it is just the heat and vitriol that I and others were subjected to over the years by the fan boy haters for pointing out what the overwhelming preponderance of evidence is continuing to show. Their propaganda and rhetoric is still not supported. They were misusing, misquoting, misunderstanding and misinterpreting the research. Here is the most recent systematic review of all the available evidence, this one on the long term effects:

Long-Term Effects of Habitual Barefoot Running and Walking: A Systematic Review.
Holander, Karsten; Heidt, Christoph; van der Zwaard, Babette; Braumann, Klaus-Michael; Zech, Astrid
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: October 31, 2016
Introduction: Barefoot locomotion is widely believed to be beneficial for motor development and biomechanics but are implied to be responsible for foot pathologies and running-related injuries. While most of available studies focused on acute effects of barefoot running and walking little is known regarding the effects of long-term barefoot vs. shod locomotion. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature to evaluate current evidence of habitual barefoot (HB) vs. habitual shod locomotion on foot anthropometrics, biomechanics, motor performance and pathologies.
Methods: Four electronic databases were searched using terms related to habitually barefoot locomotion. Relevant studies were identified based on title, abstract and full text and a forward (citation tracking) and backward (references) search was performed. Risk of bias was assessed, data pooling and meta-analysis (random effects model) performed and finally levels of evidence determined.
Results: Fifteen studies with 8399 participants were included. Limited evidence was found for a reduced ankle dorsiflexion at footstrike (pooled effect size -3.47 (95% CI -5.18 to -1.76)) and a lower pedobarographically measured hallux angle (-1.16 (95% CI -1.64 to -0.68)). HB populations had wider (0.55 (95% CI 0.06 to 1.05) but no shorter (-0.22 (95% CI -0.51 to 0.08)) feet compared to habitual shod populations. No differences in relative injury rates were found, with limited evidence for a different body part distribution of musculoskeletal injuries and more foot pathologies and less foot deformities and defects in HB runners.
Conclusions: Only limited or very limited evidence is found for long-term effects of HB locomotion regarding biomechanics or health-related outcomes. Moreover, no evidence exists on any beneficial effects for motor performance. Future research should include prospective study designs.

Of most note:

No differences in relative injury rates were found

Which I have been harping on about for years (eg here) and:

with limited evidence for a different body part distribution of musculoskeletal injuries

Which supports my mantra of:

different running shes and different running techniques load different tissues differently in different runners

My only thought is still why do and why did so many see so much evidence supporting what they were claiming when there was none and still isn’t? I will just leave that there and get back to my holiday.

As always, I go where the evidence takes me until convinced otherwise …. and the evidence continues to show that there are no systematic benefits of one way to run over another.

Hollander K, Heidt C, van der Zwaard B, Braumann KM, & Zech A (2016). Long-Term Effects of Habitual Barefoot Running and Walking: A Systematic Review. Medicine and science in sports and exercise PMID: 27801744

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2 Responses to When I read things like this…

  1. Blaise Dubois November 3, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    Love a conclusion like : “Moreover, no evidence exists on any beneficial effects for motor performance.” … are we speaking about Barefoot or shod running… answering to that question will tell you the confirmation biais of the authors 🙂

    • Craig Payne November 3, 2016 at 5:41 pm #

      Blaise – I take that to mean that no one has done the studies yet on the motor issues; either in shoe or barefoot. But, yes, not sure why they put that bit in the conclusion.

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