The following is an excerpt from my soon-to-be-printed barefoot running book:
Do I Have To Run Barefoot?
While I would recommend barefoot running for all runners, it is not necessary to run barefoot full-time. In fact, running in minimalist or even reduced running shoes will net many of the same benefits of barefoot running. Research is still being conducted to determine what exactly causes the benefits of barefoot running, but many speculate the relaxed, midfoot gait is primarily responsible for the positive effects of barefoot running. Based on anecdotal evidence, minimalist shoe running is a much healthier alternative to traditional cushioned motion-control running shoes. In essence, minimalist shoes help the foot work as it was intended to work. The more minimal the shoe, the greater the benefit. If you do not intend on going barefoot full-time, this book can still help you become a better runner.
I recommend all runners learn to run barefoot prior to adding minimalist shoes into your training routine. Learning to run barefoot first will allow you to learn good form and strengthen your feet, legs, and other anatomy to help prevent injuries. It is possible to learn to run in minimalist shoes first, but the lack of tactile sensation with the ground will interfere with the process.
© 2010 Jason Robillard. All rights reserved.