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Barefoot running app may require shoes

Oxymoronic Barefoot shoes may help you run barefoot with this app.

No, you won't be able to run on rocks with this app. Merrell

I don't run much because I'm counting on getting superhuman robotic legs in the future. But if I were a runner, Merrell's new Go Barefoot running app might be kinda appealing now that I understand it's only half-serious in suggesting I go running barefoot.

The new free app is the first barefoot running training and education app for the iPhone, according to the footwear maker, which happens to make a line of "minimalist shoes" called Barefoot. Hence the app name.

Minimalist shoes are flat, with the barest of protection from the elements and the terrain.

Go Barefoot "provides the proper training and education for a barefoot or barefoot-like running experience," a publicist explained, dispelling my confusion. So you can use it with or without shoes.

The app has four stages of expert training, including how to run barefoot by striking the ground closer to the ball of the foot instead of the heel. You can also track time and distance with the GPS function.

The app also comes with an iTunes mix of music that plays at 180 beats per minute to sync with a running cadence.

Go Barefoot is structured around a 40-day regimen of workouts and fitness tests to prepare for the challenge of a "1.5-mile barefoot run," which presumably means no shoes whatsoever.

Not even Barefoot shoes.