The problem I see with what feels like most academics and scientists is they are such slaves to our science and technology that it blinds them to common sense. For example, with no definitive studies “proving” barefooting is better for everyone, a scientist will default to the assumption that the tech we have developed with our shoes/cushioning/orthotics is invariably better than what common sense tells some of us: our body has evolved allowing us to safely run barefoot! Also this reminds me of the nutrition mess which we are in-reductionism.
My thoughts are easy enough: given the time to work to skillful (barefoot) running technique, the impact of running, inherent to both heel striking and mid/forefoot striking, will be better handled/dispersed through the body when compared to a heel strike-which no matter the skill acquired in heel striking, will always transmit the force up the chain often resulting in more stress on knee/hip etc (vs force distributed with lower leg parts when barefooting) The softer the shoe the harder the foot strike as the body searches for input about where it is on earth. Skilled (important to say skilled) bare footing should see less impactful landings, and as such less stress on the body. However, this takes time to (re)learn how to run-and lots of people use the excuse/argument that traditional running is as safe because BEGINNERS have poor barefoot technique and as a result have impact forces, an the resultant injuries, which are as bad as regular running. It’s a skill, like Olympic lifting, you have to get good at it before doing lots of volume or intensity.
But really my feelings are best shown in a picture.