Research among non-industrial societies suggests that body kinematics adopted during running vary between groups according to the cultural importance of running. Among groups in which running is common and an important part of cultural identity, runners tend to adopt what exercise scientists and coaches consider to be good technique for avoiding injury and maximising performance. In contrast, among groups in which running is not particularly culturally important, people tend to adopt suboptimal technique. This paper begins by describing key elements of good running technique, including landing with a forefoot or midfoot strike pattern and leg oriented roughly vertically. Next, we review evidence from non-industrial societies that cultural attitudes about running associate with variation in running techniques. Then, we present new data from Tsimane forager–horticulturalists in Bolivia. Our findings suggest that running is neither a common activity among the Tsimane nor is it considered an important part of cultural identity. We also demonstrate that when Tsimane do run, they tend to use suboptimal technique, specifically landing with a rearfoot strike pattern and leg protracted ahead of the knee (called overstriding). Finally, we discuss processes by which culture might influence variation in running techniques among non-industrial societies, including self-optimisation and social learning.