Until five minutes ago, I had never heard of the word ‘Fadotomy’. A fadotomy is apparently the anatomy of the transformation of a fad into the prevailing paradigm… well at least that is what one reference I could find called it, so I doubt it is going to be come the prevailing vernacular as a topic of analysis. Thomas Kuhn in 1962 probably gave what was one of the better analyses of ‘revolutions’ and paradigm shifts in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Here is the Wikipedia page that explains the theory. I used it as a framework for an analysis that is somewhat dated now, but its does show what a powerful explanatory tool it can be.
I only delved into this as the Google trends search tool for ‘barefoot running’ continues to show the declining interest in it:
This records the trend in the number of searches that people have made for ‘barefoot running’ over time.
Think back to the changes that were predicted as going to occur due to ‘barefoot running’. I recall the debates about if this was a fad, a trend or a paradigm shift. I guess now with hindsight, it was a fad. Is the above graph a ‘fadotomy’? … ie the anatomy of a fad.
There is no doubt that the fad has made an impression. The range of running shoes has never been greater and the increased focus on form or technique is a positive thing. But it did not go on to become the prevailing paradigm that was predicted by the evangelists. In reality the opposite is now happening with, for example, the Hoka One One super cushioned maximalist running shoes, as a brand, now outselling the entire minimalist category of running shoes. Runners have voted with their feet. Is that going to be another fad, trend or will it be a paradigm shift?
What I find interesting as an observer and commentator on all this is that the barefoot/minimalist trend was (and still is) driven by a lot of evangelists, websites, forums, books, lectures and magazine articles, all promising a huge range of benefits (that was and still is not supported by the scientific evidence). The trend to the maximalist running shoes is just being driven by runners buying them and liking them. There are no evengelists, forums, books, lectures or magazine articles driving maximalism. I have only come across one article (poorly written) on one website promoting maximalism! (there are a number of articles and forums posts describing maximalism, but that is a far cry from the failed evangelizing that was and still is promoting barefoot/minimalism).
As always, I go where the evidence takes me until convinced otherwise, and the above Google trends graph shows that the whole barefoot movement was a fad and people have lost interest in it.