Is there one right way to run?
So, some runners and scientists began to speculate a few years ago that maybe modern running shoes are themselves the problem. Their theory was buttressed by an influential study published in 2010 in Nature, in which Harvard scientists examined the running style of some lifelong barefoot runners who also happened to be from Kenya. Those runners were part of the Kalenjin tribe, who have a long and storied history of elite distance running. Some of the fastest marathoners in the world have been Kalenjin, and many of them grew up running without shoes.
Interestingly, when the Harvard scientists had the Kalenjin runners stride over a pressure-sensing pad, they found that, as a group, they almost all struck the ground near the front of their foot. Some were so-called midfoot strikers, meaning that their toes and heels struck the ground almost simultaneously, but many were forefoot strikers, meaning that they landed near the ball of their foot. Almost none landed first on their heels.
What the finding seemed to imply was that runners who hadn’t grown up wearing shoes deployed a noticeably different running style than people who had always worn shoes. When the researchers had the 38 Daasanach tribespeople run unshod along a track fitted, as in the Harvard study, with a pressure plate, they found that these traditionally barefoot adults almost all landed first with their heels, especially when they were asked to
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