Hegg begins her informative article by addressing the question “why go barefoot?” She explains that traditional running shoes, with cushion in the heel and a different height between the forefoot and heel, make every foot strike the same. Proponents of barefoot running suggests that this over-correction may cause some runner's bodies to be positioned counter to their natural alignment. Barefoot running, when done properly, can allow for an individual stride that is more natural and possibly healthier. Hegg cites studies that claim that over the course of thirty years of running shoe technology, running injuries have not decreased, which has led some people to believe we did not evolve to wear shoes on our feet.
People who are against the barefoot movement don't think that barefoot running has reduced running related injuries at all, and in fact, they feel that removing the cushion from running shoes increases the impact on people's bodies and joints, potentially creating more injuries.
Hegg takes the stance that the truth is somewhere in between the two extremes. She cautions runners who want to switch to minimal or barefoot shoes that they need to go slowly. She mentions that any serious athlete needs to pay attention to correct form and posture, and running is no different. Simply switching your footwear does not mean that your running form is correct and healthy. She states that a transition needs to occur alongside conscientious training, with the runner being very aware of how his or her body is feeling. Hegg also stresses that every body is different, and the transition may take longer for some people.
Hegg explains that once someone has made the decision to run and exercise in non-traditional footwear, they should look at Vibram FiveFingers, which are the leading producers of footwear in this market. All of Vibram's models have separated toes, which provide a more freeing and sensitive feeling of the ground than “barefoot”
In addition to this informational buying guide, Hegg has written a comprehensive review comparing all seven tested pairs of women's barefoot shoes, assigning awards to the standout models in her tests. The full review can be found on OutdoorGearLab's website in addition to individual reviews of each specific model.
OutdoorGearLab, LLC is based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and is a free resource that encourages consumers to make informed purchasing decisions about outdoor equipment, footwear, and apparel. The site, www.outdoorgearlab.com, produces comparison reviews of outdoor gear, each review complemented by a buying advice guide for that category. The review team performs head-to-head tests of equipment in real world settings, and publishes their findings in detailed essays, complete with illustrative photos. Products are scored across a range of weighted metrics, ranked against one another, and awards are given to the most impressive models. Readers can easily find the most suitable product to purchase without investing excessive time in personal research. These reviews assist anyone who participates in outdoor activities such as running, hiking, climbing, yoga, camping, paddleboarding, swimming, and cycling.