There’s a lot of controversy about barefoot running, says Dr. Johanna Youner, board-certified podiatric surgeon and a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Barefoot running, or running using a minimalist shoe, may be beneficial for some people, but it changes the foot’s biomechanics, so it may not be appropriate for heavier runners. The optimal running footwear depends upon the runner’s physiology and biomechanics. Walking barefoot also changes whic muscles are used and can cause injuries. Additionally, the foot’s natural padding changes with age. Pain should be your guide—if it hurts to walk or run barefoot, try traditional shoes with padding.