I don't know that I could ever run barefoot. I had this discussion with some friends I run with the other night and I think we all agreed, we could never do it! I can't imagine the things around campus or my neighborhood that I could potentially step on - glass, trash, etc. It just makes me cringe at the thought. There is one guy in Bloomington who runs barefoot. I haven't seen him in awhile, but did see him out on a few runs and in a race barefoot. To me, that is completely foreign and honestly, weird.
But, the cover of Nature and a new article suggests that running barefoot may actually decrease some impact-related stress injuries. Apparently the authors compared runners here in the US with some in Kenya and discovered that the foot striking the ground in shoes is less healthy for the foot than running barefoot. See the cover and article at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7280/covers/.
Of course, I don't understand all the science stuff in the article (hey, I was a business major that avoided science at all cost), but it is amazing to think that running without cushioning is better than with. Wow! I have run barefoot on the beach a few times while on vacation. My feet hurt! The sand isn't really that soft, so I can even imagine running on cement or other hard surfaces with no cushioning. I can liken hitting a sharp shell to some other sharp object while running around town with no shoes. Ouch!
As much as this article proves, I think I'll still stick with my Asics.