Some biomechanists recommend barefoot running over running with shoes because it is more natural and reduces the injury rate. People tend to use a mid-foot ground strike instead of a heel strike, which reduces the ground reaction force by distributing it across a larger area of the foot.
A University of Nebraska study found that running economy— the oxygen cost of running at a particular speed— decreased during barefoot running compared to shoe running on a treadmill and running track. We need more research on injury statistics and performance before we can recommend barefoot running. (International Journal Sports Medicine, 32: 401-405)