Through much thought and refinement I have made my opinion of barefoot more elegant by adopting the view that Barefoot is a tool. I have been quoted in a running book saying "shoes are tools" but what does that mean really. What and who is that targeted to.
When that phrase was first becoming popular I think it was a justification for shoe companies to market minimal shoes and for us (barefooters) to be okay with it since we were so gungho about all these great sensations we were discovering barefoot and yet conflicted as we were coming to terms with the need for protection of our feet at times. But "shoes as tools" has been lost in the vastness of shoe wearers. It does not carry the profound weight that "barefoot is a tool does".
All runners know shoes are tools. All people know that shoes are tools but it's a revolutionary idea of using barefoot, which sociataly has been frowned upon, to understand and improve our use of our bodies through our own sense of feel.
Barefoot as a tool is what the whole barefoot /minimalist movement is about. There should be no justification or convincing people that shoes are ok, of course tools are ok, we are trying to get people to go barefoot and use their feet to learn and find enjoyment. Not until I was able to go barefoot and change my form was I then able to learn how to run in shoes (minimal shoes) without jacking up my body. This goes for walking, running, and lots of other activities.
I pointed out recently the amusing and silly irony of a photo of myself in my back yard barefoot taking photos of shoes for a blog review. It's funny. I am Barefoot Angie Bee and I review shoes as well as run barefoot. I have it stated clearly on my blog header that "it's more than just taking off my shoes". I am quite comfortable with the quirky irony of this barefoot girl being a minimal shoe geek. Basically who gives a frak what I wear on my feet other than to learn or be inspired. To learn or be inspired. That's why I care about what you are doing.
I am a runner first. I prefer to run barefoot. But whether I am in shoes or not, I am a runner. I am not barefoot all of the time. I prefer it to any footwear but I do like sensible shoes which fall into the minimalist category. I have barefoot expertise that I use to determine if a minimal shoe will help or hinder a person's ability to move without injury. That's pretty cool and a niche that needs to be filled in order to keep these shoe companies honest and people to have more than one viewpoint than the one marketed to them. I am not paid to do reviews nor am I employed by any shoe companies.
For an example, I am also a writer. If I use video to vlog that does not make me somehow not a writer. If I get really into yoga, that wont change that I am still a runner even if I call myself a yogi too. If I sometimes run with shoes on that does not change that I am a barefoot runner. Nothing is that black
and white and I wouldn't want it to be. I prefer nuance and complexity instead of simplistic singlemindedness. I believe that a willingness to adapt and change will keep me growing as a person.
It's been a fun journey so far and as I refine myself and my thoughts I might change them again but for now what makes sense is. BAREFOOT IS A TOOL. And notice I said A TOOL, not the only tool.
Run happy, be well, keep thinking, use your Oxford comma, and try to be kind to each other.