"Anyone else on here running barefoot?"
Rather than running, I'd be more interested if anyone is backpacking barefoot. Anyone?
My profile pic is me on my first try, summer of 2011. ~4 miles from the car, I decided to take my shoes off. Unbeknownst to me, 3/4 of this consisted of broken granite and gravel. The granite, and other rock I've found, is not the problem. It's the gravel...at least for me. I have since done another ~3 miles at the beginning of a trip (lots of gravel again) and many miles day hiking a familiar local trail with a variety of surfaces minus much gravel. The latter trail is where I realized I could run again, sans shoes, after a long hiatus.
I don't say this to try to be cool but rather as a genuine observation. I find that going barefoot is liberating in ways I can not articulate well. It makes me feel more youthful and lets my natural agility expand, fly. It feels good on my feet....soothing. I find it meditative, focusing on what my feet are feeling and how they move. My feet are able to wrap around the terrain, whatever it may be, naturally for grip. There's also mounting evidence of the benefits of being grounded to the earth, literally (check out the book "Earthing"). I believe it's one of many reasons I feel alive, good, when I'm barefoot. Everyone knows how good it feels to go barefoot on the beach and dip our feet in the ocean. There's no more conductive spot...so I believe there's more to it than what may be generated in the mind.
Also, I've been interested in Anthropology and primitive technology most of my life, and have studied it fairly strongly the last decade. Most of the natives in the west were unshod the bulk of the time....and, in every old photograph I have seen showing their feet, their forefeet are noticeably wider. Their feet and ankles in general are better formed and more muscular than contemporary feet...presumably from their feet being free as opposed to being entrapped in modern shoes. Genetics may have played a role here but it goes to reason their feet looked they way they did due to the exercise they got. I have noticed changes in my feet structure as well...but they are no where close to those who had gone natural all their lives.
The real drag of going barefoot for me is broken glass, dog crap, and vanity chemicals/weed killers.....oh, and gravel. When my feet are strong enough to deal with gravel, they'll be tough SOBs!