Running Shoes Can Stress Joints

They're great at protecting your feet but, according to research published in PM&R: the journal of injury, function and rehabilitation, your average running shoe puts increased stress on knee and hip joints. In fact, running shoes increased knee joint torque by up to 38% compared to walking in high heels, which only added a 26% increase. Both types of footwear were compared to the joint actions of subjects walking and running barefoot.

The Bigger Picture: While running barefoot isn't a terrific idea, especially in a gym or outside during the winter months, making a point of limbering up with stretching exercises is recommended before running, even if it's just on the treadmill. Choosing a more forgiving surface like grass over harder pavement can also help when seasonal and atmospheric conditions are right.
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Paleo Dan
Jan 05, 2010
While for many people, barefooting might not be "a terrific idea", there are a number of minimalist options that mimic barefoot (Vibram FiveFingers being formost in my mind). There are also a number of more traditional show styles that attempt to enforce fore-/mid-foot strike patterns (e.g., Newton Running).

Myself, I run in FiveFingers when in unfamiliar locales (races, travelling, etc) and barefoot in places where I'm comfortable (the streets around home).
Shiv Kiran Nath
Jan 15, 2010
It is important to excercise your leg if you plan to keep running for long. Adding muscles to your calf & thighs helps reduce injury to the leg joints & has a positive effect on stamina.