Barefoot in the Park

New York Post—November 4, 2011

When Kristopher Wood leaves his Red Hook, Brooklyn, apartment to head to the starting line of tomorrow’s marathon, he’ll have one less piece of equipment to worry about — his sneakers.

Wood, a 35-year-old programmer, is running the entire 26.2 miles completely barefoot.

Wood is part of a growing number of New Yorkers who’ve said bon voyage to their sneakers and embraced the idea that running barefoot promotes proper form, thereby preventing most injuries that plague long-distance runners.

He ditched his running shoes about a year ago because his knees began to bother him.

After a recent 19-mile barefoot run through the city, Wood didn’t need to ice his body or stretch out thoroughly. “The knees feel great. I feel a complete difference,” he swears.

Though running barefoot is increasingly popular in the running community, there are experts who say sole-to-pavement jogging is playing with fire.

“Some people say the caveman is a perfect example of how walking barefoot is safe and not harmful to the body,” says Dr. Rock Positano, director of non-surgical foot and ankle service at Hospital for Special Surgery.

“What they don’t mention is that the average caveman didn’t live past age 20. It’s not a very good comparison.”

Running a marathon barefoot is a “nightmare in the making,” he says. “The feet will be screaming for mercy — [as will] the shins, knees, hips and back.”

Read the full story at nypost.com.

 

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