Barefoot running was popular recently but interest in it is dropping. It was certainly controversial with lots of claims made for it; and a lot of rhetoric and propaganda that was not supported by the evidence.
http://podiatryarena.com/index.php?tags/barefoot-running/ (Podiatry Arena)
https://podiatryarena.com/index.php?threads/there-is-no-barefoot-running-debate.64746/ (Barefoot Running Debate)
http://www.runningbarefootisbad.com/ (Barefoot is Bad)
http://www.therunninginjury.com/barefoot-running-injury/1/ (The Running Injury)
http://www.angrypoddoc.com/the-bad-advice-from-barefoot-runners-make-me-angry/26/ (Angry Pod Doc)
http://www.runresearchjunkie.com/what-evidence-is-there-that-barefoot-running-is-better-to-reduce-inury-risk/ (Running Research Junkie)
http://www.runresearchjunkie.com/category/running-form/barefoot-running/ (Running Research Junkie)
Running without footwear was all the rage not too long ago but involvement in it and the number participating in it have dropped of significantly. It was a fad that lasted several years and was largely influenced by social media commentary. This was a temporary trend towards barefoot running that started about 2009 with a lot more interest in running without running shoes. It was claimed in numerous books, websites and magazine articles that barefoot running was more natural, that it was a more economical technique to run and that you got significantly less injuries running that way. Many runners experimented with barefoot running instead of using running shoes and interest in it peaked around 2013. The sales of minimalist or barefoot running shoes also peaked about that time, getting to nearly 10% of the running shoe sector.
After that initial interest and peak interest in barefoot running and minimalist running shoes have been slowly dropping. Runners lost interest in running barefoot. The sales of the minimalist running shoes have been dropping continuously since about mid- to late 2013. The alleged benefits for it failed to eventuate to a lot of runners who tried running barefoot but, naturally, those who promoted barefoot running just claim that those runners were doing it incorrectly. As the scientific evidence accumulated, the advantages weren’t just there. All of the running injury epidemiology reports were showing that the injury risk was the same should you be running in footwear versus running barefoot and the majority of of the running economy reports were also demonstrating that generally there were no systematic benefits.
While some runners, that are quite vocal, still do their running without running shoes the big market shift has now been towards the maximalist running shoes with the Hoka One One running shoe being the innovator in that category of running shoes. It has now achieved the stage where that brand now outsells the entire group of minimalist running shoes which provides a clear clue of the popularity of cushioned running shoes compared to running barefoot.