The short answer is, I don’t know yet. Sister Maximilian brought up the topic about a year ago. At the time I had never heard of barefoot running and thought she was joking. Never wanting to miss an opportunity, I teased her about the running barefoot idea before I returned to Southern California to continue my studies.
Now Sister Maximilian can tell me, “I told you so.” I have come across many good articles about running barefoot and now I know the idea is worth further investigation. What intrigues me is the fact that apparently the human foot was made for running long before all kinds of cushioned running shoes were invented. If I understand the theory correctly, running shoes with a heel cushion actually cause the foot to strike heel first, and that can cause injuries. Left to itself, the front of the foot hits the ground first and absorbs the shock of the foot strike. I have only just begun to learn about this but plan to research more. One blog post that particularly intrigued me was by Peter Larson when he took videos of a runner on a treadmill with different shoes & barefoot. It was very interesting: check it out here.
So, back to the original question: will the sisters ever run barefoot? We will continue to do the research. If we are on a beach, you might just catch us running barefoot. If we adopt the practice at other times, however, you will probably see us in minimalist shoes or Vibram Five Fingers. One thing I have heard is that the transition is hard for experienced runners: they need to break into barefoot mode slowly, because all kinds of different muscles are used. This is where I might just have an edge. Since I am not able to run yet and will have to start from scratch when I do begin running, I might just be able to escape the re-training woes. Who knows? I will probably never beat Sister Maximilian in a race, but I might just be able to beat her to barefoot.