As you've figured out if you read this blog, I like to run in "minimalist" shoes such as the Vibram FiveFingers and the SoftStar Dash Runamoc. Every once in a while, I go fully barefoot.
Not often over the winter though.
I did not start off as a barefooter looking for as little shoe as possible, I started off in big heavy cross trainers and moved to a lot less. At first running in my VFF Bikilas felt incredibly barefoot to me. After having done a little running fully barefoot I can say that the word "nearly" in nearly barefoot makes a big difference.
It's like the word "nearly" in "She nearly got pregnant." or, "That car nearly hit me."
A single word that can be taken as not much of a difference, but it makes a big difference.
When fully barefoot I feel every bit of texture in the road, and as I am still new to this, it causes me to search out the smoother parts of these country roads I like to run on. I have to be more aware of debris in the road, the Bikilas really do a lot to soften those pointy things. I have to choose more carefully and plan ahead if I need to exit the road due to a big truck roaring down my path, I'd hate to jump into the tall grass and find someone's beer bottle from last week.