Barefoot and minimilist running shoes are the newest craze to hit the scene. Everybody wants less of a shoe with the assumption that they will be a better runner. However, people need to do their research first. It greatly depends on the person's experience, their foot type, and the environment the person will be running in.
For example, if you have flat feet, achilles tendonitis, or planatr fasciitis otherwise known asx heel pain...you may not be able to go barefoot or not at least until you have been evaluated by a podiatrist. These conditions, like many others, require extra support in the shoes to prevent pain and further damage. Most people use a functional orthotic to get that extra support, that should be worn daily, especially while exercising. With the minimilist shoes, there's no room for an orthotic and there is little to no support from the shoe.
In addition, the environment in which you plan to run will effect your choise of shoe. If you are running on trails with lots of rocks and debris, your feet could be seriously injured from the ground. Also, the pounding of concrete on your feet can cause a lot of damage in a regular shoe, let alone a bare minimal shoe.
Mary Goss-Crowson, owner of Ridge Runner Sports believes barefoot running is not just a temporary trend, but a new way of thinking about how feet work. While many makers of the barefoot/minimalist shoes claim the shoes will actually help to create a more natural pose and foot position while running. While Ms. Gross-Crowson understands the logistics, she like many others wonder, while the minimalist shoes may relieve pressure on the heel while running...where is that pressure ending up? It doesn't just disapear. Again, while these shoes have benefits, you should be evaluated to make sure your feet will be able to handle the effects of the shoes.