The following excerpt is from my barefoot running book- “The Barefoot Running Guide“
A fad is defined as a temporary fashion, notion, or manner of conduct that is enthusiastically followed by a group. Until very recently, barefoot running was an obscure practice followed only by a tiny group of dedicated individuals. Several events have worked to change this. First, the peer-reviewed research began to make headlines as it became increasingly clear that the modern running shoe was not meeting the needs of all runners. The advances in technology may have a negative impact on the health of runners. This has led some members of the medical and running community to question the logic of the modern running shoe. This skepticism made a relatively small impact on the running community.
The second major event was the release of the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. McDougall presents a convincing argument in support of minimalist shoes and barefoot running. The popularity of the book as spawned an enthusiasm that creates the perception of this movement being a fad. Personally, I do not believe this movement is a fad. I do not think barefoot running will ever surpass the popularity of shod running. However, I do believe this movement will pressure shoe manufacturers to critically examine the research and development of their current shoes. I believe there will be a slow movement away from the supportive and cushion technology so prevalent today. There will be some that run barefoot a majority of the time. The “fun factor” alone will assure that. The majority of runners will opt for the more conservative approach and switch to more minimal shoes. Barefoot running is not a fad. Rather, it is a movement that will eventually help all of us become healthier runners.
There will always be some skeptics that question to logic of the barefoot/minimalist movement. There are many runners that have no history of injury using cushioned, supportive shoes. Those runners should continue running as they have previously. If you are one of these runners, occasional barefoot running may be a healthy supplement to your normal training routine. Unless you are interested in barefoot running for the enjoyment factor, there is no need to completely abandon your shoes. You will get some benefits of barefoot running even from a single unshod mile each week. If you are one of these runners, read through my guide. There are various sections that will be useful to you, even if you decide to forgo barefoot or minimalist shoe running.