Don’t Get Burned!

By Dr. Scott:

While watching my kids when my wife was out, I was trying to calm the beasties before bedtime, and decided to make some cookies. I took the hot cookies out of the oven and said, “Don’t touch. They’re hot!” I will never forget the face of my littlest as she reached for the cookie, realized it was hot and then started to cry.

This simple event reminded me of the barefoot running movement. I am not saying that barefoot runners are like my 3 year old, but I am saying that like my little one, we all see things that appeal to us and our natural instinct is to grab hold of it, whether it be a cookie, a fad, or a shoe. I recently attended an outdoor outfitter sale and noticed a pair of minimalist shoes(the shoes that look like feet). I have seen people running on the beach in these shoes, walking around the mall in these shoes, but I had never tried them on.  I have read research on these minimalist shoes and had a formed opinion already, however I felt the need to try them to solidify those opinions.

I can proudly say that I am a marathoner. I joined that club for the first time back in 2003 in St. George, UT. When I heard several years ago of the minimal running shoes and the book, Born to Run, I was very interested in the claim of the advantages of barefoot and minimalist running. I tried the special shoes and then spent many hours researching and talking to colleagues in the field for sound evidence of the health claims many were throwing around about these minimalist shoes. The medical community was a buzz on the disadvantages of minimalist running; so much so that these shoes were involved in a class action lawsuit for unsubstantiated health claims.

In the podiatry community, one of the more vocal runners against barefoot running was Kevin Kirby, a man I met and heard speak on many occasions.  After the most recent class action lawsuit he stated:

“The barefoot/minimalist shoe advocates and the “alternative running technique” advocates have made a number of claims about foot strike patterns in running over the past five years. Unfortunately, very few, if any, of these claims have any support within the scientific research literature.”

I agree with Dr. Kirby. Even before the lawsuit I was asked numerous times my thoughts on barefoot running. After much professional research and personal interest, I was able to give my educated decision so I can help people find the best shoes for themselves, my family, and me!

I feel bad for those patients who where burned or believed in the health claims that barefoot running would give relief which never came. Barefoot/minimalist running is a fad and a trend that hurts the performance of your feet.

We have recently made cookies again as a family and my 3 year old knows that if she touches the cookies she will be hurt. It took only one time to not hear all the information before acting on impulse to learn what is best for her body. Be like my little one, don’t get burned by following through without asking the proper questions or doing the proper research. Research your options, get expert advice from doctors who have studied the research, and use such avenues to form educated opinions on what is best for your body.

My daughter learned quickly not to touch the hot cookies. I have learned quickly the importance of researching the false claims that can come with advertising to lead consumers to hasty purchases.