U.S. researchers published a new study in the journal Nature that indicates runners who run barefoot put less stress on the body than regular shoes.
"People who don't wear shoes when they run have an astonishingly different stride," said Daniel Lieberman, Harvard University researcher, in a statement. "By landing on the middle or front of the foot, barefoot runners have almost no impact collision, much less than most shod runners generate when they heel-strike," DailyTech informs.
According to National Geographic, the new study used high-speed video and a bathroom scale-like device called a force plate to digitally dissect the moment-by-moment stresses on the feet of 63 runners as they ran barefoot.
The research revealed that running barefoot changes the way a person's feet hit the ground.
Runners in shoes tend to land on their heels, so sports shoe makers have spent years designing footwear with gels, foams, or air pockets in the heels to reduce the shock of impact.
But barefoot runners more often land on the forefoot, near the base of the toes. This causes a smaller part of the foot to come to a sudden stop when the foot first lands, allowing the natural spring-like motion of the foot and leg to absorb any further shock.