The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sport investigated the effects simulated barefoot running has on running economy – a measure of how efficiently a person uses oxygen while running at a given pace. The study took 15 trained male runners in their 20’s and made them do the same exercise test twice, a day apart, in random order where once they wore neutral running shoes and the other wearing simulated barefoot running footwear. Oxygen uptake, stride frequency, heart rate, and foot strike patterns were recorded during the tests.

Researchers then told runners to spend four weeks gradually adding time running in the simulated barefoot running footwear to their training route. Once the four weeks had ended they were asked to come back in and complete the same exercise tests they did before. They found that running efficiency improved significantly in both the standard running shoes as well as the simulated barefoot running footwear. What they also found was that the improvement with the simulated barefoot running footwear was much greater than that of normal running shoes.

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