Interesting comparison of the benefits of barefoot running vs running with traditional running shoes. Based on research conducted by Rodger Kram, Kryztopher Tung et. Al from the University of Colorado, running barefoot allows you to run lighter, while running with running shoes requires less muscular work. Comparing the effects of the two shows that performance does not necessary increase when you are running barefoot or otherwise. The authors go on to conclude that the net effect is that one counters the other.
What this study does not say is that running barefoot allows you to build muscular power – over time, as you train by running barefoot as opposed to with padded shoes, your feet will develop much stronger muscles that will dramatically increase your performance, regardless of whether you are running barefoot or not. So think of running barefoot as a long-term investment that pays dividends over a life-time. More at http://www.runnersworld.com/barefoot-running-minimalism/cushioning-balances-out-economy-benefit-of-barefoot-running