Originally Posted by Johnstown
From a semantics stand point that is totally true...but from a characteristic standpoint..it likely shares more characteristics with barefoot running than with full on athletic shoes. One thing it would share with athletic shoes for sure is a bit of covering for the foot in weather and for sharp points on the ground.
One thing that I do have to say though is....the idea that barefoot running is totally natural for humans isnt 100 percent true either..not in the same way it is for say, cats (as RDJ said earlier) I mean, humans have been wearing foot coverings/shoes/sandals of various kinds for thousands of years....it is very possible that we now do "need" shoes a bit more than the barefoot running crowd argues for.
When it comes to biomechanics any difference is a huge difference. It has the characteristic of being a shoe, which is completely different than being barefoot. I disagree on your second point as well, people in general spend too much time barefoot for it to alter anything in an evolutionary sense over only a couple of thousand years.