Barefoot running is a possible alternative or training adjunct to running with shoes. While anecdotal evidence and testimonials proliferate on the Internet and in the media about the possible health benefits of barefoot running, research has not yet adequately shed light on the immediate and long-term effects of this practice.
Barefoot running has been touted as improving strength and balance, while promoting a more natural running style. However, risks of barefoot running include a lack of protection, which may lead to injuries such as puncture wounds, and increased stress on the lower extremities. Research is ongoing in regards to the risks and benefits of barefoot running.
The American Podiatric Medical Association, along with the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, encourages the public to consult a podiatrist with a strong background in sports medicine to make an informed decision on all aspects of their running and training programs.