When it comes to running – or even walking—barefoot is never better. 

Lately, you may have seen different tv shows or even public figures wearing a pair of the “five fingers” style barefoot shoes or seen advertisements for barefoot-like shoes from big brands. While the “free” or “bare” shoe has a clear cult-ish following, as a doctor, I do not recommend it. 

Here’s the thing: we want to believe that we are part of raw nature, and are wild and untamed. We are not.

There is no doubt that our common ancestors ran and walked barefoot on the open savannahs of Africa. There are even indigenous populations, including traditional cultures of South America, which still run and walk barefoot.

That still doesn’t mean that I recommend it.

If you’re feeling one with nature, by all means, go on a weekend excursion to Sequoia National Park or Mount Baldy, but don’t start running around barefoot, please. All contemporary research suggests that our feet fare better when they are protected by supportive footwear. Especially when we run.

A study conducted by Sarah Ride, a professor of exercise science at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT was published in the journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (http://1.usa.gov/1syKo4U).  This study demonstrates bone injuries to the test-group of runners who began logging miles in the barefoot-type shoe.