I finally made up my mind and got myself a pair of barefoot running shoes. It was a nice experience trying them out in the outdoor sports shop. It immediately felt right and for a second the social awkwardness didn’t exist. The finger socks felt kind of interesting, and when I bought a few pairs for my wife in Tokyo five years ago, It did not cross my mind that I would one day wear them myself. So in total, one pair of socks and one pair of shoes. I wore them in our apartment for a good two hours before deciding to take them out for a test.
The first round was interesting, It felt a bit strange running on the street so I went for gravel and grass when possible. I was suddenly less constrained and my feet intuitively got me to explore. This is a bit strange, but feeling more shifts focus towards this kind of subtle exploration. This is what technology should do and must be investigated further. Unfortunately my neighborhood have an established elite of casual runners that have set a kind of standard for how the state of the art is done. I must now realize that I have to break with this. This notion of running is indeed a social construct, perhaps not as formalized as soccer or as wild as parkour. But it is obvious that technology, accessories and garments can shift perception and behaviour in interesting ways.
Second run was in the evening, partly lit by street lights and partly almost complete darkness. This extended all of the above but in some sections it would have been nice to have dark vision glasses. I searched around and found that the common solution is a forehead-lamp. Furthermore the experience made me think about how all other senses are strengthened when the visual gets a bit constrained. This was a good run and very few people outside. No other runners only people walking their dogs.
Two ideas: Sensing the unsensable using gloves and some kind of light-enhancing light glasses.