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Can sneaker-free running actually help and prevent painful foot injuries? Research suggests that the super-structured running shoes we’ve been conditioned to rely upon may not be as beneficial as previously thought.
Daniel Lieberman, who is a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University, points out to Wired that historically, sneakers aren’t a necessary component for running. “People have been running barefoot for millions of years and it has only been since 1972 that people have been wearing shoes with thick, synthetic heels,” says Lieberman.
Footwear that replicates walking barefoot, like Vibram’s FiveFingers, echo this sneaker-free running philosophy. Check out the rest of the Wired article—and some shoes that play off of this research—below.