When reading the book Born To Run, I was completely stunned by the amount of research done on foot and knee injuries.....and how almost all of them can be tied back to our shoes.
If you think about it, that makes sense. When you run with shoes on, you strike the ground with your heel first, then roll the foot forward. On the other hand, when you run barefoot, you strike more toward the ball of your foot and you run lighter. The force of impact is much less.
I combined the overwhelming research in the book with an extensive Google search and found Vibram Five Fingers shoes as the perfect blend between running barefoot, and getting the protection of a running shoe. Do a Google search for reviews on Five Fingers and see for yourself.
So I ended up buying a pair. The KSO (Keep Stuff Out) model is best for running. The sole provides enough coverage to protect your feet from the brutality of running barefoot, but it is flexible and provides no arch or sole support (which is the purpose), so you re-learn how to run lighter and minimize the force of impact on each stride.
I'll be honest with you....I don't love them. Yet. They take a little getting used to. The only issue I have is that the seams feel a little like crumpled newspaper between your toes. But I think that will go away when I break them in more.
And I've tried to heed the advice to start off very slow with them. It takes a little time to get our feet used to running differently. With my frequent injuries and knee pain, I was willing to try something different. And I'm willing to have my feet look slightly strange.
So although I don't love my Five Fingers yet, I like them. And I think I'll love them very soon. I guarantee that after reading Born To Run, you'll be sold too. The reviews and research about decreasing running injuries can't be denied.