Where We Are


I would like to take a brief opportunity to share where we are at ahead of our "hard launch," when our site and services begin in earnest.

Source: Gadgetshop.comAs you may know, we were hoping to have this organization's hard launch prior to June 1. That, obviously, did not happen. Why? Life happened. Because we on the leadership team are all regularly employed elsewhere and have personal lives, we haven't always been able to devote to this cause the time we'd like. Because of that, our expectations of having everything going by June 1 were unrealistic.

But fear not. Know that, behind the scenes, we have been in discussions about a number of issues. Our Advisory Board has been very helpful in developing and refining strategies that will assist The Primalfoot Alliance in being the most effective organization possible when we launch. We continue to discuss the best way to approach some issues -- and there have been disagreements on some of them. I know that in the end, however, these discussions will bear fruit in the form of a more solid foundation on which to rest this organization.

Please bear with us. We want to launch soon, but we want to do it "right." I, personally, am more interested in waiting to come out with a bang rather than fire now with only a fizzle.

We appreciate the assistance you all have offered and will continue asking for your help in the coming weeks. The emails we've received have been truly inspiring and have reminded us of why we all are behind this cause. The advice many of you have given has been very helpful in providing background, history and even advice regarding the cause of barefooting. That, to me, is truly what this alliance is all about. Very soon I will post a request for you to help us "humanize" the cause, for it's real people like yourself -- not scientific studies and hard evidence -- that will initially convey the benefits of going barefoot. We also anticipate announcing an official affiliation program that will create mutually-beneficial partnerships with related blogs and sites.

Thank you for your support and for your patience. There is a lot of great stuff to come. Hang in there and keep those feet bare! In the mean time, we always encourage you to connect with us via email ([email protected]) on our Facebook page and Twitter.


"Barefoot" Michael Buttgen
Founder and President
The Primalfoot Alliance


Introducing Our Advisory Board

Dear Friends,

It is with great pleasure that I announce the members of The Primalfoot Alliance Advisory Board. These individuals come together from diverse backgrounds with one common interest: To advocate for letting feet be feet first. They will be invaluable in helping this organization form strategy, messages and ideas to move forward the cause of primal feet. I cannot thank them enough for their willingness to participate in such an important movement. Our work has begun and we look forward to sharing more with you soon. As always, I encourage you to connect with us at our Twitter account, Facebook page or via email: [email protected].


Barefoot Michael Buttgen, President
The Primalfoot Alliance


The Primalfoot Alliance Advisory Board:

First, I am honored to have as my right-hand man a long-time supporter of primal feet:

Mauricio Morales (Barefoot Moe), Vice President
Twitter: @barefootmoe
Moe has been a barefooter for nearly 20 years and has done numerous activities sans shoes during that time. Moe's various experiences with going barefoot out in public, wearing primal footwear and long-time participation as part of the Society for Barefoot Living (the longest-running and most well-known organization for promoting barefooting) give him a keen awareness of the issues facing those who wish to go barefoot in public, run primally, or wear primal footwear. He's been told to wear shoes in nearly every type of establishment you can think of and has experienced all kinds of discrimination against feet that The Primalfoot Alliance will work to eliminate. Having talked with him via Skype on several occasions, I can tell you that Moe is a great guy who will be very good for this organization. He makes his home in Toronto with his partner Gary and works as a graphic and web designer.

The following are our general Advisory Board members in alphabetical order by last name.

Abbie Mood
Twitter: @abbiemood and @runnaturally
Abbie is a go-getter with more than 10 years running experience. She's training to run her fourth marathon in October. Abbie is fairly new to running in bare feet, but has a passion for the movement. Along with running, she practices yoga and rock climbing. Abbie confesses that she brings a fresh perspective to The Primalfoot Alliance due to her relative newness to barefooting, however I feel that's just what we need. Her experiences as a special education teacher will give our board wonderful depth as we work toward greater acceptance for those who wish to bare their soles in society. She believes her experience teaching special ed. gives her this perspective: "I'm big on 'to each his own' and supporting things that society sees as different." Abbie lives in Anaheim, California with her boyfriend and two dogs.

Michael Nirenberg, DPM
Dr. Nirenberg is a practicing podiatrist who has treated more than 10,000 pairs of feet. Beyond training new podiatrists as a Podiatric Residency Instructor, he's a member of various podiatric associations, has been featured in many publications, and has presented information on the History Channel and Fox News networks. I asked Dr. Nirenberg to be on this board because he has been a champion for bare feet. He realizes how important going barefoot is to our well being and has posted numerous blog entries on the benefits of going barefoot. Dr. Nirenberg lives just outside the Chicago area in Crown Point, Indiana, with his wife and two sons. I can't be more pleased to have him as a part of The Primalfoot Alliance Advisory Board and believe his medical expertise will be a huge benefit to our efforts.

Justin Owings
Personal site:
Twitter: @justinno & @bdayshoes
A little over a year ago, Justin ended up liking Vibram Fivefingers (VFFs) primal footwear so much that he made a site about them. is now the leading VFF fan site and Justin is well known in the VFF community. He's not just a fan of VFFs, though. His site has featured other primal footwear from Terra Plana, Soft Star and he runs barefoot as part of his exercise regimen. I'm excited to have Justin on this board to offer key input from the primal footwear community. Although The Primalfoot Alliance is going to focus heavily on health via going barefoot, we will certainly acknowledge that primal footwear has its place and he is going to be a key member of this board. Justin is co-owner of an internet media business and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and baby daughter.

Taryn Romanowich
Twitter: @Tarynrom & @primalchattaryn
Taryn has a passion for being the best human being she can be. Not only does she agree with keeping feet primal for better health, she subscribes to a primal lifestyle. Taryn is a contributor to Primal Chat, a service dedicated to "paleo" nutrition, exercise, product reviews, social interaction and more. She just graduated with a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology and lives in Yorkton, SK in Canada. I think Taryn is going to be a valuable asset to our board with her experience as an athletic therapist for various teams and from being an athlete herself (I hear she's quite the basketball player). She is a big fan of Vibram Fivefingers and even wrote a heartfelt blog entry recently when one of her straps broke. It was touching. Don't be worried. The store at which she bought it graciously exchanged them.

Leif Rustvold
Twitter: @dlrustvold & @zekeboisei
Put simply, Leif is an impressive person. Not only is he a barefoot runner, but he's an ULTRA barefoot runner. By all accounts, he holds the world record for running the fastest barefoot 50K race. When he doesn't run barefoot he runs in Vibram Fivefingers. Oh, did I mention that one of his other hobbies is pedaling super-long distances on a unicycle? Yeah. I'm continually impressed by how he quietly pushes the envelope. Leif is a really good guy who has done wonderful things for the barefoot running community simply by example. He definitely has the experience to know that barefoot running can be successful. I look forward to "picking his brain" about all things barefoot running as he serves on this board. Leif, his wife, two daughters and son live in Portland, Oregon. He works in the health care industry.

Damien Tougas
Twitter: @advinprogress
Damien is one heck of a family man. Not only do he and his wife have a love for the outdoors, but they've passed that love onto their children. The parents Tougas now encourage families, through their website, to get outdoors and enjoy the world. What's more, they both are big proponents of going barefoot in nature and letting feet have direct contact with earth. In 2009, Damien wrote a series of blog posts about the benefits of minimal footwear and it's definitely worth a read. He is going to be a wonderful addition to the Advisory Board because it's very important to emphasize that we are natural creatures that need to spend more time IN NATURE. He will give us really good insight into how best to promote those activities. Mr. and Mrs. Tougas and their three children live in the northeast U.S. He works as a programmer/analyst for a liberal-arts college.

Mindi Young
Twitter: @sindermue
Mindi is what you might call a "budding" barefooter. Since being introduced to going barefoot last year, she's been rediscovering her feet with great enthusiasm. Not only does she walk barefoot, but she's begun running in her new pair of Vibram Fivefingers. I've gotten to know her personally and can tell you that she's a wonderful, caring, down-to-earth person. She will help this organization reach out to "everyday" people and help us know the best ways to encourage the general public become more comfortable with their feet again. Her education in psychology and counseling will also help us find the best ways to bridge the gaps between those who are primalfoot-friendly and those who tend not to be. She is excited to see positive change happen and for more people to become comfortable with the idea of primalfooting. She, her husband and their two dogs live in Holden, Missouri, where Mindi works for an area university.