It's a topic of endless debate among runners. Is there a best way to run, so that you use the least energy and go the fastest? And does it help to run barefoot or in minimalist shoes? Most of the scientific research is just inadequate to answer these questions, said Iain Hunter, a biomechanics researcher at Brigham Young University.
Some studies have indicated that the fastest middle-distance runners - those racing between about half a mile and a mile - land on the midfoot or forefoot. But for these runners, economy - using the least amount of energy - is not an issue, because the race is so short. When people sprint or run very fast for short distances, they naturally change stride, landing more toward the front of the foot. But that does not mean running that way is better for longer distances.