I usually don't post about certain discussions that I will unwittingly follow from time to time on the barefoot running blogosphere (some of them are like a car crash and you just have to watch). Frankly, a lot of these discussions end in moot points and wounded egos and I really don't have the energy to waste on that kind of shit. But, today I'm full of energy (I just ate half a container full of chocolate covered espresso beans) I'm just going to throw my two cents into the center ring and then sit back and watch all those barefoot purists and minimalists-shoddies slaughter each other hunger games style.
There's an ongoing debate amongst the barefoot purists and shoe wearers. I don't want to get into the details, but lets just suffice it to say that both sides feels this dire need to express and defend their choice to either wear footwear or not. Some of these folks are runners. Some aren't. Some choose barefooting as a lifestyle while others choose to wear shoes when they feel shoes are necessary for them.
If you want to read about the barefoot vs. shod arguments here are some very articulate ones:
Run Barefoot Girl - Barefoot Lifestyle Discussion with Barefoot Jaime
Barefoot Angie Bee - Barefoot is a Tool
Barefoot Monologues - Building a Better Toolbox
I don't see this debate as the ongoing barefoot vs. shod debate that its always been. Recently barefoot running and even the barefoot lifestyle as a choice has been getting a lot more attention. To me this "debate" isn't a debate at all, but rather a means for one group to direct another in its choices and decisions.
The interesting thing is that all the people who are participating in this debate are good people (I know I'm generalizing here, but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt) who seem to have some sort of vested interest in other people's choices. I'm not sure why. Its a choice. A choice that only affects the individual making it.
Vanessa Runs posted her response to Caity's Podcast interview with Barefoot Jamie, a barefoot lifestyle advocate on her blog. Now. Don't get me wrong. I love Vanessa to death. She's a super sharp and sweet girl who has so many thoughtful opinions and responses to many issues out there in our running community. But here's where we differ. She posts this well articulated response to the above podcast interview by Run Barefoot Girl discussing why she is reconsidering barefoot running and defending her position on using shoes as a "tool."
My response to that same interview: "Whatever."
OK. My response wasn't quite so simplisitic, but "whatever" is pretty much what I think. Here's what I actually said on the facebook thread:
Peel away the layers of this discussion and all it boils down to is one person's judgement over another's. Its not about barefoot vs. shod its about one group trying to influence another. Honestly, I would completely embrace another person who chooses the barefoot lifestyle, but I may not embrace their lifestyle itself. Its about embracing people, not their choices. Who gives a shit about their choices unless they harm other people.
That just about sums up my opinion. I just walk away from something like this. Well, sorta, cuz I'm here talking about now aren't I? But I won't defend my choice to wear shoes or not wear shoes when I run or hang out at home for any reason because frankly it's unnecessary. There's no sense in discussing issues when its really not about issues at all, but about the control and influence one group could possibly have over another. Many times the real issue is not the issue you think it is. Its the control people have over other people's decisions. I've seen this countless of times when "debates" break out and it seems to always happen when there is a choice about "lifestyles."
To me this is just creating endless drama. The less people partake in creating the drama the less drama there is. That's my opinion anyway. That may sound like a cop out, but there it is.
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