Surely you've heard all the hubbub about barefoot running. Whether you're a runner or not, you know that folks young and old are stripping off their trainers and running free — or, for those wary of taking the plunge, switching to minimalist shoes featuring flat, cushion-free rubber soles and thin mesh uppers like the Vibram FiveFingers and the Merrell Trail Glove. The trend is still hot after a few years of growth, but the actual transition from cushion to none is never as easy as it seems. That's why a place like Piedmont High School's running track, open to the public on weekends and weekdays after classes, offers an ideal learning environment. For true barefooters, the safe, clean track surface adjacent to a soft turf surface provides a perfect opportunity to toughen up the feet without worrying about street and sidewalk debris. For everyone else, the environment offers an ideal setting in which to focus on form and engage new muscle groups — one lap at a time.