Today some of the world’s most successful long distance runners have won medals running barefoot. Many of these successful athletes have spent their entire lives developing and building up their foot and leg muscles, ligaments, and their balance from running without any footwear on.  With so any different types of running shoes available to wear, is running barefoot a better alternative? Will you suffer a foot and ankle injury by doing so? This article explores the pros and cons.

Pros and Cons

Lately, many shoe manufacturers have created a range of minimalistic running shoes to strike a balance between barefoot and ordinary footwear. The minimalistic footwear range is designed with the intention of reinforcing a runner’s foot and leg muscles, whilst also improving their gait and reducing foot trauma and future foot and ankle injuries when they run over hard terrain. The experience of running in minimalistic footwear has been likened to almost running barefoot but with slightly extra support and padding on the arch and sole of the person’s foot.

Strengthening Foot muscles

Although reports have stated that an individual may improve their balance, gait and also strengthen their muscles wearing minimalistic footwear, you should still research the pros and cons further. Interestingly, there’s still no scientific evidence that proves minimalistic running reduces injuries from occurring.

Actually, since the middle and the front of the foot experiences the most impact from wearing minimalistic shoes, this means that the back of a person’s foot experiences the least impact. Because of this it can lead to an individual experiencing trauma to their metatarsals, consequently heightening the probability of future stress fractures or ankle cartilage injuries. Overall, you should try and weigh up the pros and cons of running barefoot or wearing minimalistic footwear based on your lifestyle and the condition that your feet and ankles are in.


The one major concern with wearing minimalistic footwear or running completely barefoot is an individual developing a stress fracture or experiencing any type of foot and ankle injury. Many people are not used to running barefoot or in minimalistic footwear and so have not had time to properly strengthen and condition their ligaments and connecting leg muscles. This can leave many people susceptible to future injuries.

We see many UK patients who have injured their feet and ankles or sustained ankle fractures whilst running or going about their everyday lives. So, if you have injured your foot or ankle or you are experiencing foot and ankle discomfort, then contact our friendly team of orthopaedic professionals today for a high quality diagnosis and treatment plan.