I pondered this a bit more. It occurs to me that, with one exception that I can recall, no one in the upper echelons of the running world, which is increasingly dominated by runners from areas of the world where people grow up walking and running barefoot, runs barefoot. They all train and run in shoes made by guess who? Nike, ASICS, Adidas, etc. I know, I know, they get sweet contracts but they would run in shoes, contracts or no contracts, quite simply because well designed shoes enable them to perform better and handle the rigors of training required to do so.
If it works for them, how would it be different for recreational runners?
I would be interested to hear back in a year or so from those of you experimenting with barefoot running as to how you fared. I am not putting the idea down, but I confess to being skeptical as to whether or not most of you will be able to tolerate it if you are engaged in a serious running program.
The exception, BTW, was Abebe Bikele at the 1960 Rome Olympics. On second thought, Zola Budd also ran barefoot.
Still a miniscule percentage.