Footwear, accepted and denied
Running for sport and recreation are perhaps as unique as the enthusiasts who first roused the market. Today, that market (running shoes) is changing. While the 21st century has propelled us into an “age of hyper-engineered performance gear and space-age wicking fabrics;” barefoot running has reinvented the marketplace, while simultaneously inspiring the new generation (Sprinkle 2004).
The idea that running barefoot can be beneficial is a relatively liberal idea in a comparatively conservative culture (today’s running community, particularly with respect to shoes). And, while the majority of research on the evolution of human locomotion has focused primarily on walking, the demand for a new perspective
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In spite of the “fad” that has emerged in barefoot running; many doctors, coaches, and leaders of competing shoe industries are not entirely impressed. “Most of my patients aren’t world-class runners,” says foot doctor Stephen M. Pribut, DPM (based out of Georgetown, Washington, D.C.). “It wouldn’t make sense for them to risk getting twigs and glass in their feet” (Burfoot 2004). Doctor Pribut, himself a runner who provides injury prevention advice via his website (drpribut.com), isn’t convinced minimalist running is as wholly advantageous as shoe companies, and barefoot advocates claim. “My goal is to do whatever it takes for my patients to run without pain,” he says. “If they have a perfect foot and barefoot running has been working for them, then OK, but for the vast majority of runners out there, I wouldn’t recommend it” (Sprinkle 2004). Fortunately, premier shoe companies such as Asics, Brooks, and Nike (for the most part) have not entirely come around to the idea of mass-producing complete lines of minimalist shoes. Nevertheless, the minimalist approach continues to influence business strategy.
When asked whether Brooks Sports (a leader in high performance shoes since 1914) would continue to endorse the minimalist approach to running; “National Guru Manager” Justin Dempsey-Chiam replied, “Brooks has been making shoes that accommodate the minimalist approach for years. We (Brooks) will continue to make