WSVN -- Allison Bolah has been an avid runner since college and lives for the runner's high.
Allison Bolah: "Running has been the thing that I get really excited about. It's my favorite way for me to stay in shape."
But now Allison is leaving her running shoes behind.
Allison Bolah: "Typically running in shoes I would end up with shin splints."
She runs barefoot in the sand or pounds the pavement in these five finger shoes designed to mimic barefoot running.
Allison Bolah: "I run barefoot now because it feels really, really good. I realized I could go more miles further running barefoot on the beach."
Going shoeless became popular after some studies showed barefoot running improves foot biomechanics and reduces injuries.
Dr. David Westerdahl: "Many runners are interested in barefoot running because it alters the landing zone of the foot, so it helps people who have problems with heel strikes, to shift their weight forward and help them land softer."
But doctors say barefoot running is not for everyone.
Dr. David Westerdahl: "I think it's important to use caution with barefoot running. There's still not a plethera of information that supports it being safer than running in shoes."
Cleveland Clinic sports medicine doctor David Westerdahl is seeing an increase in runners sidelined with injuries from running without shoes.
Dr. David Westerdahl: "We're seeing patients presenting with achilles tendons pain, calf strain, also some evidence of plantar fascists or arch pain."
And he says injuries from stepping on glass or other harmful objects are also an issue. Doctors say if you really want to try barefoot running start slow.
Dr. David Westerdahl: "People who are transitioning to barefoot running should definitely start out on controlled, softer surfaces and they should gradually build up the amount of time they are running barefoot."
Allison knows how important his advice is, she was injured when she did too much barefoot running too fast.
Allison Bolah: "I ran three miles, three days in a row after not running for three months."
She's recovered and is now back to running around on her bare feet, but even she agrees going shoeless is not for everyone, and runners should tread lightly.
Allison Bolah: "It works for me, but it may not work for someone else."
Christine Cruz: "Doctors say most people can run safely and efficiently in shoes. They suggest getting a running coach to help you run the right way and getting shoes that are best for your gait."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. David WesterdahlCleveland Clinic2950 Cleveland Clinic BoulevardWeston, FL 33331(954) 659-5000