I was not always a minimalist/BF evangelist... I ran NCAA xc and track for Florida State for 5 years, so we were sponsored by Nike, so I had a large bias towards all Nike everything (who doesn't when you're getting free gear in exchange for working your tail off 4-6 hours a day in the weightroom, at morning practice, and at evening practice).
With that being said, the importance was on improving my running form. Now that my running form has greatly improved from the sorry lot that I was going into that program my freshman year, I was able to run in most anything.
Originally, I would have said that I could only run in stability shoes in college, because of my pronation issues, but during high school I did ballet 5 times a week and had really strong arches and actually ran in training shoes and minimalist wear a lot (although I only ran about 20 miles a week compared to collegiate 35-55 miles a week). Now that I've strengthened my arches by a lot of barefoot strides, barefoot cooldowns, running in my Invisible shoes for my double day easy runs, and walking around my house in Invisible Shoes, now I can run in the Nike structure triax, a brooks adrenalin, an Invisible Shoe http://www.invisibleshoe.com/, a Saucony Kinvara, a Nike Free for 14 miles without any issues... barefoot barefoot if I'm on a soccer field I could run forever or on dirt... I haven't tested my ability as to how well I do barefoot-barefoot on trail-trails of Boulder, Colorado or off-roading-- my Invisible Shoes are close enough to barefoot enough for that and provide just enough layer of protection while still offering true barefoot feel.
In conclusion, there's NO downside to minimalist shoes IF you are patient enough to improve your running form over time to not accrue injuries and instead use minimalism as a valuable source of feedback towards running form. You don't need minimalist footwear to improve running form, but it can help. And once you have great running form and strong arches, strong hip flexors, etc etc, you can run in practically anything or nothing and it shouldn't make a difference. So there's no downside to minimalism, simply a downside to impatient Americans who don't want to put in the time to improve their overall strength and running form and want a quick fix versus to see the overall problem-- that their arches and foot ligaments/tendons have atrophied and weakened over years of wearing overly cushioned running shoes that act as a cast. Which, it's not a problem to wear that, IF you've mastered your running form to run in ways that are healthy and don't invoke injury... but i you haven't, minimalism can help.