Barefoot running has become more popular over the past few years. As Sports medicine Podiatrist and having experience in running we do not recommend barefoot running to beginner runners or runners who are restarting an exercise program after a layoff. The reason is that there could be an increase risk of injury at a time when their body is not quite ready for the extra stress it will place on the feet. Also keep in mind that running barefoot increases your risk for stepping on foreign objects such as glass.
For more experienced runners barefoot running can be a reasonable way to train as long as it is on a safe surface. Runners who are more experienced in distance running, younger, of normal body weight, and are frequently barefoot while walking are more likely to tolerate barefoot running. Certain areas of the body appear to have decreased stress in response to barefoot running while others have increased stress. One of the differences between barefoot running and traditional running shoes is that you land more on your forefoot with barefoot running. Landing on the forefoot creates decreased stress to the knee however there is increased stress to the ankle, Achilles, and metatarsals.
As the years go on more studies will enable us to look at the risks and benefits of barefoot running and new running techniques. For more on training for the Cooper River bridge run please refer to our Bridge run foot injury prevention series blog at carolinafootspecialists.net