There has been a recent surge in people who are attempting to run barefoot or in minimalist shoes, such as the Vibram Five Fingers. The Vibram shoes resemble gloves, with an individual pocket for each toe. These shoes were not originally designed for runners, but rather for kayaking and other water sports to protect their feet from sharp rocks. The barefoot running community found that the shoes offer a "barefoot function" of the feet while offering protection.
I have no real argument with the Vibram Five Fingers shoes or those who wish to run barefoot or in minimalist shoes. Many runners do so quite successfully My concern is that they often run while wearing the shoes incorrectly. Barefoot and minimalist running requires a major change in your running gait. Many runners, however, don't take the time to make such a change. That results in injuries ranging from heel pain and Achilles tendonitis to stress fractures.
Barefoot running is not as simple as taking off of your shoes and going. Take the time and get coaching if it is something you wish to pursue. If you experience any pain or swelling along the way, contact Houston Podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan to get you back on the road, with or without shoes, as soon as possible.