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"Sometimes people get so committed to the idea of barefoot running that if something happens to them, ‘It’s something else,’ " Pearl said. "They rationalize it."
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Shoe companies have seen an opportunity. Nike’s answer is what it calls the Free, a throwback shoe with little support.
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Engwall, a substance abuse counselor, has a pair. He thinks they look like bear’s feet. He wears them only when he runs with his fiancee.
"She’s a reader, not a runner," the Catonsville man explained.
When he read it, especially the part about the shoes, everything started to click. The 38 year old has been running since high school, where he was on the cross country team, but he always has been finicky about what he puts on his feet. He usually buys the lightest sneakers he can find, after too many experiences wearing shoes that felt like he was running in clogs.
Last week, the electrical engineer decided to head out shoeless, on blacktop, on sidewalks, on freshly mowed grass, on a busy road, along quiet, tree lined streets.
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"I think you’re going to see a lot more people doing it in the next year or so," Ellcessor said.
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