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The barefoot debate: can minimalist shoes reduce running-related injuries?

Running has evolved throughout history from a necessary form of locomotion to an athletic and recreational pursuit. During this transition, our barefoot ancestors developed footwear. By the late 1970s, running popularity surged, and footwear manufacturers developed the running shoe. Despite new shoe technology and expert advice, runners still face high injury rates, which have yet to decline. Recently, "minimalist" running, marked by a soft forefoot strike and shorter, quicker strides, has become increasingly popular within the running community. Biomechanical studies have suggested that these features of barefoot-style running may lead to a reduction in injury rates. After conducting more outcomes-based research, minimalist footwear and gait retraining may serve as new methods to reduce injuries within the running population.

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