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What do we mean by 'Barefoot' Running? / Minimist Running Vs Barefoot

ON JANUARY 23RD, 2012 WRITTEN BY RUNNING SCHOOL FOUNDER MIKE ANTONIADES

Taken from The Running School Blog - www.runningschool.co.uk/blog/

We are getting bombarded with the "Barefoot” marketing message left right and centre and I don’t know about you, but I am confused! I am confused by the marketing messages and the descriptions that manufacturers give their "New Barefoot Running shoes” there even I am saying it. (I normally call them Trainers, because that is what we do in them, Train).

I have heard them called Barefoot Shoes, Minimalist Shoes even – wait for it "Minimalist Barefoot Running Shoes” , even called "Sock-Like Sneakers” , or Glove Shoes and just in case like me, you get confused there are even whole websites dedicated to explaining what is what and why they are called "Barefoot-Minimalist-Invisible-Sock-like-Glove Shoes”.

Ok I made the last one up!

I started writing this article to help me make some sense of what is really out there and to try to clarify the options that runners have in terms of the types of shoes available on the market. I have nothing against the shoes, although I haven’t tried them ALL so I may change my mind on that one. I have worn a few variations of minimalist shoes and some of them are very good. We all have personal preferences and chose our trainers based on logic, need, and fashion or just because we like the colour!

But I think many marketing people are hijacking the "Barefoot” name to describe their NEW, NEW shoe offering and quite frankly they are beginning to stretch the marketing message to its limits!

So after extensive research with the Oxford Dictionary and a look at some of these marketing messages here is a simple, layman’s definition of what Barefoot and "Minimalist Footwear” really means.

What does Barefoot mean?

Barefoot means BAREFOOT! No shoes, No Thick Trainers, No Minimalist shoes, No Thick Rubber Socks, No Socks, No Water Shoes and no Flippers! Barefoot means Barefoot! and just so there are no misinterpretations, misunderstandings or hijacking of the word, here is the Oxford dictionary explanation: "wearing nothing on the feet”