For lo these many decades of several-times-per-week running, I have favored the "land on the front of your feet" policy. This is the way you naturally run if you're sprinting -- up on the balls of the feet -- and it is the way that has always felt most comfortable to me. But it is at odds with prevailing "heel-strike" practice, and it makes me wonder about standard running shoes, with their enormous multi-inch layers of padding at the back, under the heel, where I need it least. My shoes typically wear out when the area at the front of the shoe, under the balls of my feet, is all abraded away, and the big, thick rear cushions still look new.

Now, science weighs in to say that I've been doing it right all along! Or, more specifically Nature weighs in, with a report today here saying that fore-foot running, which also turns out to be the way people naturally run if they're barefoot, is fundamentally much easier on your joints and bones and therefore easier to bear over the years. There's a six-minute video on the topic here, which has a variety of "actual scientific" stress-diagrams, like the ones below, showing how the decelerative shock of landing is buffered and spread out over time by fore-foot landings.

Observe the sharp, vertical impact spike from a heel landing (straight-up line with two red circles):

Heel2.png

Versus the more gradual curve of impact when absorbed by the fronts of the feet (and the chain of muscles, tendons, etc that also momentarily disperse the shock):

ForeFront.png


If science nature says so, I'm convinced! Perhaps this is why, although I've had all sorts of other maladies over the years -- most often Achilles-tendon related -- I've never (yet) had a knee problem. Now it turns out that "I've been running scientifically all my life," and didn't even know it. Check it out. (All this in the "let's not think about politics for a minute" spirit.)