I had a eureka moment this weekend in regards to barefoot running and the disconnect I experience (as an advocate) between me and some of my running friends.
The insight came when I started thinking about my goals for running speed, my history of injury, and how different goals might lead to different experience outcomes. I have so far in my running career not cared much about how fast I run; I have to date cared more about putting up consistent distance numbers, and consistency in running at all. I also [knock on wood] have yet to experience any real running-related injuries.
Several of my running friends who choose to run in traditional running shoes care a great deal about running ever quicker times; I realized this weekend that the higher incidence of injury among this same set of friends could have to do with their shoes or it could have to do with the extra stress on their bodies that is coincident with the press for speed.
I think now that this component of the overall experience of running is important and I have neglected it in past consideration...when people asked me in the past why I ran barefoot, I have talked at length about evolutionary development and about pockets of aboriginal runners world-wide who run great distances barefoot (or in minimalist foot coverings) and about stories (as covered in Born to Run) of such runners who persistence hunt (where you run after a deer or other game until it drops dead from exhaustion) - what I'm realizing now is that while many of those example runners do run fast, speed seems to be a secondary goal or motivator in their version of running.