Is there one right way to run?
For the study, published this month in the journal PLoS One, a group of evolutionary anthropologists turned to the Daasanach, a pastoral tribe living in a remote section of northern Kenya. Unlike some Kenyan tribes, the Daasanach have no tradition of competitive distance running, although they are physically active. They also have no tradition of wearing shoes.
Humans have run barefoot, of course, for millennia, since footwear is quite a recent invention, in evolutionary terms. And modern running shoes, which typically feature well-cushioned heels that are higher than the front of the shoe, are newer still, having been introduced widely in the 1970s.
The thinking behind these shoes’ design was, in part, that they should reduce injuries. When someone runs in a shoe with a built-up heel, he or she generally hits the ground first with the heel. With so much padding beneath that portion of the foot, the thinking went, pounding would be reduced and, voila, runners wouldn’t get hurt.
But, as many researchers and runners have
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