[Disclaimer. My 20 month old son cannot write or talk. I am the only one that can translate his baby babble and this is the result.  This is his race report from his first race ever (Sugarloaf Kids Hill Climb)] 

So, I didn't plan on doing this! Just so you know, my parents brought me up to Sugarloaf Mountain and I was content running around and getting in the way of 'Sugarloafers' wandering around the village and basically making a general CF of things as usual. It was my intent to throw rocks in innapropriate locations and make eyes at 5 yr old girls, but my parents had other ideas for me this weekend.

It wasn't enough that they took me away from my home, where I had been making progress playing with my new blocks and spelling ingenious new words with said blocks. My weekends' plans were to rip out the lower level of books on the bookshelf and dump over the dog's water bowl for the 15th time this week, but no...my hippie parents had another idea.  These idiots thought it would be a good idea to drive up to the western mountains of Maine to hang out at a ski mountain.  

We've already climbed this bastard of a mountain twice this year (Ok, I was in the pack on dad's back) but it was cold and windy both times, and I wasn't happy.  Of course now, they decided to go for a race. 

Obviously, Mom's OK, she's tall, blonde, beautiful and generally gets me what I want, but dad's a poser! He's a podiatrist (i.e. not a real doctor) and somehow thinks he's a good trail runner. I love him, but I'm tired of his nonsense already.  I was thinking that, for the 4th or 5th time this year at his "races," that this jerk would head out on the trails and leave me and mom some quality time together running around the slopes of the mountain, which is like my favorite thing to do!  

Anyway, an hour before pops heads to the start line, they put me down next to a bunch of well-rested under 6 year olds (hey, I didn't spend last night in a 400K slopeside condo, my parents, Joe Cocker and Janis Joplin, parked their camper on the side of the road at the Appalachian Trailhead, on a 10 degree right lean angle, where I constantly rolled into the side of the cold-ass upper windows all night!)

So the gun goes off, which scares the living shit out of me, and as these idiots run up the slope, I'm not too sure what to do!  Do I follow these kids? Do I cry and head back to mom (which usually works), or do I just do my thang, which entails doing whatever I decide to do.  There are arrows directing me along this course, but I'm not in the mood to listen to the man, like usual.  The grass looks wicked high and I see a preferable course below me.  Of course, mom and dad are nearby and help me through in the "right" direction.  After a few short spurts of running, I come to the supposed turnaround.  This is a race? This is only like 50 meters.  At this point, all the other kids are across the finish line, but I refuse to believe a race is this short.  Especially one called a "mountain race." This damn thing turns around instantaneously!  Obviously, I decide to revolt and head up the mountain and ignore the societal constraint of the "race."  But there's mom and dad, grabbing me and pulling me downhill. What "free" nature lovers they are, forcing me to follow the preset course. 1-2 minutes later there I was, at the finish line, nearly pushed down the slope by my dumb dad. As I cross the line, "Tammy tights," hands me a "finisher's ribbon," and I wanted to say, hey, chill out, I'm last, lady! By like 5 minutes! But her smile is intoxicating and i wave to her instead. 

Mom and dad are way too overexcited and take a picture of me with my loser medal (but hey, I was the first kid under 3 years old!) and suddenly I'm hungry. I'm feeling like a lara bar. Time to go throw some damn rocks. 

We need cushioning, and support, don't we? With our shoes and with our heads, in athletic endeavors, protection is key, or is it? 
Head trauma in sports is a given.  In american football, much science and development has been put into the helmet, which hasn't decreased rates of concussions and traumatic brain injury at all.
Does this sound similar? The same development and research has been applied to shoes (especially running shoes), but this hasn't decreased the rate of foot and running injuries.
Like orthotics, supportive shoes and cushioned mats have become the norm in workplaces, and we haven't seen overuse injuries in the lower extremity decrease either.
Why is this?!
A football helmet may decrease the perception and immediate result of high impact forces, but it doesn't decrease the rate of injury.  The same can be said of shoes.
The key is that the helmet decreases the perception of injury rate and mitigates the immediate result. The same can be applied to shoes.  An obese person can walk with horrible form on the hardest man-made surfaces for months and possibly years with no ill result, but the cumulative impacts of this are comparable to head shots to a boxer or years of hard hits to a football player in a helmet. It is not until soft tissue damage is at a chronic and nearly irreversible level that people take notice. 
When the typical overweight modern man walks barefoot, he can barely tolerate it.  Though he can almost certainly remember a time in his childhood when this was not the case.  
If you ask a football player to take off his helmet and make the same hits without it, he could not possibly fathom doing so. 
The idea is the perception of safety that helmets (and shoes) creates. Even with shoes, the impact is still there with our feet, and we exacerbate that with poor mechanics and increased body weight as well as poor walking surfaces.  
Wearing a helmet and taking repeated hard hits to the head may not initially feel traumatic, but it certainly is in the long term. Wearing a comfortable shoe that initially mitigates the effect of footstrike, that makes us complacent and comfortable in the short term, will end in poor form and overuse injuries akin to head trauma in football players. 
Going barefoot or in minimal shoes will naturally cause us to focus on form and movement patterns that mitigate the effects of overuse trauma.  Big bulky shoes may initially protect us from this trauma, but they also make us complacent allowing for massive weight gain and poor movement patterns that exacerbate this impact over the long term.    
We are products of evolution.  We did not evolve to live in a world of endless food.  We did not evolve in a world of concrete and couches.  These are the denizens of modern medicine. We ignore this because money and drug companies are the drivers of modern medical research.  Biology and evolution should be the drivers of medical research. If you continue to rely on drugs and orthotics, many modern diseases and foot ailments will continue to be the bane of your existence.  If you begin to look at these problems in an evolutionary perspective and understand that your own health takes work on your part, you will find answers and solutions.