Runners were first fooled by running shoe manufacturers false and misleading advertising into believing that modern running shoes are protective devices that protect the runner against injuries, rather than products that induce injuries that would probably would never occur if they were barefoot. These false notions have in large part been corrected through my published reports indicating that humans possess inherent mechanisms mediated through plantar sensations that protect the barefoot runner from injury, and that shoes interfere with these adaptations. Many individuals who became skeptical about safety of running while wearing even with expensive footwear marketed as suitable for this activity. Some have turned to barefoot running while others have given up running altogether. Others may wish to run barefoot but are not enough to confront the social norm that discourages bare feet outside of the home.
Footwear manufacturers have attempted to retain the above groups through introducing “minimalist” and “barefoot” shoes - footwear with thinner soles and low heel rise which they falsely claimed created an experience similar to being barefoot, thereby either stating or inferring that they impart the safety of barefoot locomotion. These footwear fail to elicit the protective responses inherent in barefoot running, and injuries have become common with their use. The mere presence of a shoe sole (any sole), and attachment system inherent to all footwear, interferes with these sensory mediated responses because they attenuate combined high amplitude plantar shear stress and vertical deformations which is the adequate stimulus for SA II mechanoreceptors which are the afferent receptor with mediates this response.
This has not stopped many to believe the false claims made by footwear manufacturers and purchase “barefoot shoes.” For new runners, this may simply be a case of footwear manufacturers deceptively advertising their product - “fool me once shame on you.” Those not new to running should be already skeptical about claims made by running shoe manufacturers considering their past experiences. For this group choose to believe false claims of these manufacturers again and purchase “minimalist” or “barefoot” shoes, have only themselves to blame - “fool me twice -shame on me,” or as P.T. Barnum is credited as saying, “ A sucker is born every minute.”