I've been lurking for a while, time to say hi. I split my time between Newfoundland and New Brunswick, thus the vague "Atlantic Canada" in the subject line.
I've always had wide feet. My mother once apologized for having let me run around barefoot so much as a child, making it hard to find shoes that fit. Strange she'd see it as having let me "ruin" my feet, rather than consider there was something wrong with shoes, but I guess that's the mindset we're all trying to change. As a kid, in summer the soles of my feet were an interesting leather-like texture; I have approached that in recent years by going barefoot around the yard, and a few places it feels safe to do so.
I don't run, but I hike quite a bit. Once in a while, on soft squishy forest soils in mild weather, I'll ditch my shoes, and enjoy the funny looks I get. I'm trying to find a minimalist solution to the Atlantic Canadian winter. Here in Corner Brook we just got about 40 cm of snow in 24 hours, luckily the light fluffy stuff, but of course there will be slush eventually. I'm missing my Merrels.
This place is a great resource, I've learned a lot about feet and footwear hanging around here!