Barefoot-style and minimalist shoes are one of the hottest trends to sweep the footwear category since Nike Waffle Trainer running shoes and Crocs. In fact, according to OIA Vantage Point and Leisure Trends, these types of shoes have continued to enjoy double-digit sales growth since the start of 2010 and have outsold nearly every other type of shoe during that time.
One of the shoes that has led the surge in popularity is the Vibram FiveFingers, a quirky-looking sock-style shoe with separate compartments for each toe. These shoes are designed to combine the feel of being barefoot with the abrasion protection of wearing a shoe. Many adherents also believe these shoes improve proprioception, balance and foot strength. You've no doubt seen people wearing these types of shoes to work out in the gym, for fitness walking, yoga, water sports and, one of the most controversial uses, running.
But why would someone want to run without running shoes?