As a trainer with a background in running one of the questions I get the most is “what’s your opinion on barefoot running?” My answer is generally “Whatever you enjoy more, whatever’s going to get you out the door and running”. I do make sure to point out that if you’re making the change from regular shoes to minimalist shoes or barefoot that you will need to do it very slowly and intelligently or you almost definitely WILL get hurt. Personally I’ve always liked lightweight, cushiony trainers for the majority of my runs and racing flats or spikes for anything fast. If the person is interested in the specifics and scientific aspects of barefoot running I generally point them to Science of the sport a site run by two South African physiologists who have written many detailed articles about the topic.
Yesterday a friend of mine, and former training partner published an interesting study review on the runners world site . This article does focus on runners who are already mid/fore foot strikers but it reinforces my belief that overall you’re going to run faster and harder in shoes.
If you like the article check out Alex’s book. I read it and really liked it. Alex is legitimately one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. When were training together he was working for the NSA trying to transport matter or something ridiculous like that. He would leave work, do a track session and then go right back. Now he works in something that he’s always loved, which I can appreciate.