"So wait, you run barefoot? Like, without shoes? You're not wearing those toe shoes or anything?
It's a conversation I've had countless times over the years.
Back in the early days, I used to give people an upbeat sales pitch on why barefoot running was a good thing. I'd talk about the intrinsic joy the tactile sensation with the ground provides. I'd talk about the hypothetical health and injury prevention benefits. I'd talk about the very real benefits of learning to run with near-peak efficiency. I'd talk about the problems with posture-changing raised-heel, motion control running shoes and how they tended to cause shin splints, knee, hip, and back pain, and plantar fasciitis.
I'd field all the follow-up questions. You avoid glass, hypodermic needles and dog shit by watching where you run and stepping around it. No, your feet don't get really calloused; the opposite actually happens. Yes, you can run races; you put the timing chip on an ankle bracelet. And so on.
It was a long spiel.
Now? The explanation is a lot more direct.
I shrug and say something to the effect of "Yeah, it's weird. But it helps solve a lot of shit that makes running terrible."
It's a short, simple answer that hits the nail on the head. But what if people ask if they should try it?
That gets a little more complicated.