The marathon is a tough event; it is 26.2 miles of hard running. It is hard on the body, especially the feet which is why all marathon runners pay so much attention to what is on their feet. They spend a lot of time getting the right shoe and a lot of money is involved in running shoes. Back at the 1960 Rome Olympics, the Ethiopian, Abebe Bikala arrived for the marathon and there were no shoes left in the teams kit that would fit him, so he ran the marathon barefoot and won the gold medal. This is widely hailed as a remarkable achievement. In recent years there has been a group of runners who are suggesting the running shoes are not all they are claimed to be and are advocating that running should be done barefoot, just like nature intended. After all, we were not born with shoes and historical humans had to run great distances without shoes to survive as animals had to be hunted on foot over great distances. Running shoes are really only a relatively recent invention. Those who advocate the barefoot approach to running like to point to the achievements of Abebe Bikala as further justification that we do not need running shoes. There are certainly many other arguments both for and against barefoot running, with very little scientific evidence supporting it. While Abebe Bikala getting the gold medal at the Rome Olympics barefoot certainly suggest that it can be done, what those who like to tout his achievements as evidence often leave out that he subsequently went on to win the gold medal and set a world record in the marathon at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games. Abebe Bikala was able to set the world record this time wearing running shoes; in other words he could actually run faster when he was wearing running shoes. We may well have evolved to run barefoot, but we also evolved in an environment before concrete and hard surfaces came along. While the achievement of him were remarkable, using him as evidence that it is better does not stack up to scrutiny.