Barefoot running and walking: the pros and cons based on current evidence
Rome, K; Hancock, D; Poratt, D
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In response to the recent debate on barefoot running and walking of children published in the New Zealand Herald1 we have put together an argument relating to the pros and cons based on current evidence. There is very limited evidence specifically relating to barefoot running and walking in children. One study from Germany reported that the increased prevalence of flatfoot and hallux valgus (bunions) in modern societies may be the consequence of inadequate footwear in childhood.2 The German study postulated that barefoot walking represents the best condition for the development of a healthy foot. Walking and running on different types of surfaces such as grass, sand, and artificial running tracks may indeed enhance healthy foot development. However, the problem of barefoot walking on hard surfaces such as pavements may alter the biomechanics of walking and running. This may lead to potential arthritic changes and consequently a reduction in foot function.