If you are even a casual runner, you have probably heard quite a bit about the "barefoot running debate"; in 2010 several studies from Harvard confirmed what people who had been running sans sneakers using a forefront foot strike running method had been saying for years — that they had fewer injuries than those who ran in conventional sneakers with a heel strike motion.
Not only were there fewer injuries, but according to Vivobarefoot there are other advantages, too: "70 percent of your brain's information for movement comes from the nerves on the soles of your feet. The more you can feel the ground, the greater your body's understanding of its surroundings and natural movement."
I have always enjoyed trail running without shoes at all (when it's warm enough), just because it feels so great on the feet and it's more fun to be able to detect all the differences in the ground you are covering. It also keeps you incredibly focused on the task at hand. And ever since trying my first pair of "barefoot running" sneakers, I've been hooked, and won't be going back to the superpadded sneaks of my youth. I'll still run completely barefoot in the woods when it's warm enough, but for the rest of the time, sneakers like those below (which all also have eco-friendly components) will be my go-tos. If you travel, you will be happy to know that they take up less room and weigh less, which is great when you're lugging a suitcase.