I have been reading a lot about barefoot running recently, including the book "Born To Run." I understand both the standard arguments for and against supportive running shoes. But it seems like most people in this debate are completely dogmatic in their opinions, while the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. So I'm curious, what sort of shoes do elite athletes train in? Do they do substantial training barefoot?
I know that many of the current elite runners grew up running barefoot, but what do they do now that they have the option for whatever footwear they can use? Do they do some barefoot running to maintain the stride they developed in their youth? Do they wear minimalist shoes that are similar to being barefoot? Some combination of these?
What about racing? Are there any elite runners that race in anything other than lightweight flats? I know that Bikila won the Olympic marathon barefoot, but four years later he was wearing shoes. It seems clear to me that runners (Bikila, the Kenyans) can run very fast barefoot, but it also seems like as soon as they have the option, they are at least racing (usually a bit faster) in lightweight shoes.
I'm really hoping for insight into what elite runners and coaches do in this area. Please don't fill this thread with the standard dogmatic stuff about how starting to run barefoot was the greatest decision of your life, or how the shoe companies are responsible for a giant conspiracy that has led to all injuries, or all how 90% of runners would immediately be injured if they took off their supportive shoes. Instead, what do we know about where the optimal middle ground lies between our evolved barefoot biomechanics and technology of shoes?