I have two pairs of the Merrell barefoot shoes (trail gloves and road gloves) and I love them. My girlfriend has several pairs of Vibrams FiveFingers and is equally pleased with hers. We run trails in them and wear them hiking, and she wears a one pair of her fivefingers to work when the weather is warm. Both the Merrell and Vibrams shoes are incredibly durable, and since they have zero padding between your foot and the ground there is very little to actually wear out other than a tough Vibram sole (the Merrel's have Vibram brand soles in them also).
Now, having said that I can't really recommend you start running in a pair of barefoot shoes - especially if considering the injuries you're recovering from. Most people take a while to adapt to running in shoes with zero cusion and zero heel rise - if you heel strike in those shoes, even a little bit, you will injure youself. Think of barefoot shoes like the vibrams as really thick calluses and you'll have an idea of what they feel like. There really isn't much between your feet and the ground. You can feel everything, and running on a surface like pavement mixed with gravel can be painful even if you're used to the shoes.
The best thing that you could possibly do to start a long, injury free running career would be to find a local store that specializes in running shoes. Not athletic shoes - running shoes. A good store will have close to 100 different types and will let you try as many as you need to ensure a good fit. They should let you actually run in the shoes (possibly on a treadmill in the store), and should do a gait analysis to determine the type of shoe that you need. There is a running specific store here in Blacksburg that will let you return a pair of shoes for their full value in store credit up to a month after their original purchase if you decide they don't feel right.
After you're set up with an quality pair of running shoes (Brooks, Asics, Mizuno, and New Balance are all good brands) spend some time running and decide if you're still interested in trying barefoot running. If you are, Newton makes a great line of shoes aimed at helping runners transition from conventional shoes to "barefoot"
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Originally Posted by HurtCow
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