When Preston Curtis gets ready to run, there's one thing he doesn't do. Lace up his shoes!
Curtis says, "When i run barefoot, my feet feel really good. They actually feel like they're getting a massage."
He is one of a growing group of runners pounding the pavement without the support of traditional running sneakers.
Jeff Dengate with Runner's World magazine says the sport has a loud and passionate following.
He says, "The idea behind it is it's the way we were sort of born to run, and it's a natural way of running."
Some runners choose to go completely barefoot, while others slip on so-called "minimalist" shoes.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says ditching the extra cushioning causes most runners to switch up their step.
Dr. Holly Johnson says, "Typically, the barefoot runner lands with the front of the foot or the middle of the foot hitting the ground first, whereas the runner with shoes on will strike the ground with their heel first."
Many runners believe barefoot running actually helps prevent injury, even though they're exposed to problems other runners don't face.
"i've only had three tiny shards of glass get in my foot, and they've really caused no problem."
Still, Dr. Johnson says those who go barefoot are not immune from the injuries that strike traditional runners.
So if you'd like to kick off your shoes, don't hit the ground running. Ease into the style slowly.
Curtis started with a walk around the neighborhood, and hasn't looked back!
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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