Article: Barefoot Shoes? The Primal Reason You Want to Take Off Your Shoes

Here is a good article from Mark Sisson entitled Barefoot Shoes? The Primal Reason You Want to Take Off Your Shoes.


“…would you choose to go barefoot as often as possible? I think you would. Most people, when they get home after work, or vacation in a tropical locale, kick their shoes off…but you could never, ever, for example, go to a job interview in bare feet. It just isn’t done, right? But doesn’t the existence of that instinct toward freeing your feet, make you wonder why? Instincts…are there for a reason…an infant’s propensity toward putting things in its mouth (introduces novel bacteria to their budding immune systems); a teen’s, ahem, primal urges when it comes to sex (allows the propagation of the species…); and our love of sunny days (sun exposure provides vitamin D, an essential micronutrient for health)… our love of being barefoot is a similarly beneficial instinct. …foot itself, it’s a remarkably complex piece of machinery… one of our oldest bodily features, having been essentially unchanged since our graduation into full-on bipedalism at least four million years ago…It allowed us to travel great distances more efficiently than quadrupeds. And it was all done without expensive Nikes…”

“We’ve still got those same feet, but we don’t use them anymore. Instead, we cover them up. We wear shoes that alter the structure and function of our feet, and that weaken the myriad tendons, muscles, and ligaments through disuse. We strap on rubber soles that sever our proprioceptive connection with the ground and restrict our nervous system’s ability to subconsciously respond to changing environments and protect us from tripping or turning an ankle.”

“…orthopedist named Philip Hoffman… 1905 study, titled “Conclusions Drawn From a Comparative Study of the Feet of Barefooted and Shoe-Wearing People, …results were clear: lifelong bare footers displayed wider feet with wider toe beds and fewer foot dysfunctions, while shoe-wearers displayed narrower feet, narrower toe beds, and many more foot dysfunctions… did not find a single foot associated with the symptoms of weakness so common in adult shoe-wearing feet, which are weakened by the restraint the shoe exerts over function.”

“…the human foot was designed by millions of years of natural selection to work in its unaltered state. Putting on thick, restrictive shoes with prominent heels and lots of padding puts us at a greater risk of lower body injuries, both chronic and acute. It allows the muscles in our feet to atrophy from disuse. And once that primary link between our bodies and the ground is compromised, the rest follows: ankle pain, knee pain, hip pain, back pain…Go barefoot as often as possible. It’s as simple as that….”

Good article but I disagree with his final advice to “Ditch the shoes when and where it’s acceptable: at home, on walks around the block, at the park. Working in the office? Go in socks and leave the shoes under the desk…” because if so many people feel this way, about going barefoot, we should do it everywhere. That is the way to ensure it is┬ásocially acceptable.

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