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Sunday, June 6, 2010

A New Anti-Barefoot Running Conspiracy?

Before I get into my paranoia-filled conspiracy theory, I have to reiterate my stance on barefoot running versus shoes:  I believe barefoot running is not for everyone, though most runners could probably benefit from some barefoot training.  Also, shoes aren't inherently bad.  Some people are able to run with near-perfect form in shoes even if they have a 20mm heel-to-toe drop, 3 inches of EVA and gel-padded sole, and encase the foot like an iron boot.  Essentially, shoes are not inherently evil.

I use Google Alerts.  Google scours the Interwebs for predetermined phrases.  The result- I get a daily digest of the instances when certain phrases are published to the 'Web.  It's a method to keep tabs on all things barefoot.  

Over the last few days, a slew (about 20-40) posts have been appearing.  Some appear on brand-new blogs.  Others appear on running store websites (that do not carry minimalist shoes.)  Some appear on random sites unrelated to running or exercise.  

In almost every instance, the post appears to be cut-and-pasted with a few select words changed.  Presumably, this is to increase exposure so the site is not penalized.  I am pretty sure this is an attempt at search engine optimization.  Web techies, is this correct?

Anyway, this is one example of the phrase:

Getting out for a run is a sensible way to get physically fit mainly because it requires very minimal requirements in terms of of amenities and also equipment. The sole facility required will be some open room and the only gear which is required is generally some good jogging shoes. Nonetheless, lately there has been plenty of press consideration directed at the concept of running barefoot. To begin with this could seem to be odd due to the hard roads that people run on. A very small group of runners use barefoot running, yet they make some amazing claims for the rewards for it.

A number of the gains said range from the a far more face to face with the environment feelings, a smaller amount injuries, a lot more muscle mass power and improved function. In addition they believe present day jogging shoes are usually the cause of most of the overuse injuires that are seen in runners. There is, nonetheless not merely one piece of proof that running shoes contribute to injuries and there is additionally no research evidence that barefoot running is actually much better or worse than working out in shoes. There is some research that has researched the actual variations among without footwear and shod jogging, but none of this research has demonstrated any particular one is better than the other, though many in the without shoes groups read it that way.

There is most likely nothing wrong with barefoot running so long that it’s performed moderately as part of a balanced running strategy and time is put in adapting to this slowly and gradually. Too much of a quick transition within any kind of part of the exercise program is likely to result in injury.
So now my conspiracy theory... since it is unlikely so many people over a variety of backgrounds would post this, could this be some sort of "plant" from a known anti-barefoot entity?  Why is the working changed slightly in almost every instance?  It's not necessarily inflammatory like many previous anti-barefoot posts, which is probably more effective at dissuading people from trying barefoot running.  

Am I just too paranoid?


  1. Interesting....I do feel bad when I shop at running stores since I'm no longer buying shoes and I value small independent businesses (used to spend $300/year at least). Instead, I make a point to spend a bit more on tops and winter running gear. I used to just run in old T-shirts. Now I feel I should support them with technical clothes. I probably look better anyway:)

  2. I personally think the article is pretty fair. The study by Lieberman shows that stress is reduced, but there is nothing saying that it is better, just different.

    I actually like how it mentions barefoot running, but doesn't make it out to be the end all for running. I also like how it mentions building up to it.

    Yes, barefoot running is great and has been awesome for me, but it may not be for everyone. This article tries to look at the broad spectrum.

    On another note, I think I am on to why it is being posted all over the internet. Advertisers pay people to write blogs and link key words to their site. For example, look at this: All the links go to the same place. By slightly changing the blog the guy is getting paid each time per repost. (I used to write for a company that did this) By marketing like this the company boosts their Google search rank and promotes their website.

    So, for the most part, don't read into this article too much. It is just some guy trying to get paid by linking to a site. For the most part his writing isn't bad for the lack of care that goes into most of these posts.

  3. The June/July 2010 issue of Men's Journal has a decent article on the hoopla surrounding barefoot running. Their upshot: they frame the argument as this - "The argument is not about barefoot versus shoe running; it's about technique." If anyone is spreading malicious posts around the internet, it might be the author of; he's adamant about stopping people from running without shoes. Not sure why it would matter.

  4. AStroturfing is almost as old as the internet.

  5. I think as far as content being the same, it's because sites steal other site's content all the time! I, too have noticed some of the anti-barefoot articles. Perhaps the shoe companies are planting the info. out there b/c they're nervous? (Just adding to your paranoia lol)

  6. It must be the Russians. It's always the Russians!

  7. Jason,

    Nike ninjas abound. Proceed with caution. Good post.

    The Vapor

  8. Two articles from the Wall Street Journal you may like about how companies/unions engage in stealth opposition.