The debate over barefoot running, minimalist shoes, and traditional running shoes has been raging for a few years now. Born to Run kicked up a hornets nest around the issue and pop culture turned it into a new green running movement. I'll admit, after reading the book I was ready to throw away my shoes and drink the chia seeds.
I ended up with a pair of Nike Free running shoes and I love them. My calves got stronger, my ankles were stronger, and my knees slowly felt better. However, they are not real good for running heavy mileage on the pavement. As soon as I spent more than an hour on my feet I started to suffer.
So, I picked up a pair of Asics gels and they are my distance shoe. They come in size 131/2 which is important to a Clydesdale like me. But, they are no good when it comes to speed work and trail running.
The answer to the debate is simple: It depends. It depends upon whether you are running short or long, off-road or on pavement, and if you are recovering from an injury. In the end, you can decide for yourself what works best, but I like having some variety. Hell, I might even try running barefoot one of these days.
The chia seeds will be a subject for another day...