Sound Off

Open Thread: Your Feet Are Killing You

Feet hurt

"Everyone who wears shoes walks wrong." Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Awhile back, we had a guy on the show who has sworn off shoes forever. ""For me it was just more natural and comfortable," says Chris Roat, who runs a website devoted to barefoot hiking.

Today, we followed up with a New York magazine piece that suggests our shoes are forcing fundamental changes in the way the human body works. "Shoes hurt your feet," writes Adam Sternbergh. "They change how you walk. Your poor, tender, abused, ignored, maligned, misunderstood feet . . . are getting trounced in a war that's been raging for roughly a thousand years: the battle of shoes versus feet."

Need a little mercy for your sole?

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Has anyone tried ther MBT shoes? They are awesome and are supposed to help us walk they we were supposed to; on soft ground.

Sent by Andrew | 12:16 PM | 4-22-2008

What a useless article. How about saying what exactly shoes do that hurts your feet? Maybe indicate what people are doing wrong when they walk? Just want to sell me some crappy kevlar slippers that are "instinctual"?

Sent by John | 12:16 PM | 4-22-2008

This guy is an idiot. It's called evolution, things change, people change, needs change, our surrounding change. Are you going to work in a steel mill barefoot? what about a welder? football players with no cleats? This is just dumb!

Sent by Scott A. Pealer | 12:20 PM | 4-22-2008

Does anyone know where you can find the shoes he's referring to (Vivo Barefoot)? I did several searches, but can't find them.

Sent by Alice | 12:22 PM | 4-22-2008

Plus it's actually illegal to drive barefoot... BECAUSE NO ONE DRIVES RICKSHAWS ANYMORE!!!!

Sent by Scott A. Pealer | 12:22 PM | 4-22-2008

I agree with everything but, the 4 million years of evolution. I believe our feet are perfectly design by our creator. I would love to be barefoot all the time, but it is hard to do in the work place. My son is always taking his shoes off, when ever he gets the chance. I understand why.

Sent by James Mooney | 12:28 PM | 4-22-2008

what about when the weather is cold what would we wear then?

Sent by Christine Green | 12:28 PM | 4-22-2008

Try searching for shoes today that have a real arch support already built in. Not so easy to do, even in the monster 'all we sell are shoes' places. Generic shoes for the masses, cheaper to make, harder on the foot!

Sent by paul holmgren | 12:28 PM | 4-22-2008

I myself cant keep shoes on. When ever possible i am barefoot. Also being a native american we had mocassins, no sturdy heel, no ankle support. Just something to ease the pains of rocks, splinters and probably cactus. Maybe the modern shoe is just a hyped up mocassin. If it worked for centuries why mess with perfection.

Sent by Tolley Red Eagle | 12:32 PM | 4-22-2008

Why dont we just walk naked then? Thats more natural right?

Sent by Joe bob | 12:33 PM | 4-22-2008

What if your foot has no arch in it? When I take long walks or run, my instep causes me great pain. Will walking without shoes correct that problem?

Sent by Trevor Cross | 12:39 PM | 4-22-2008

Has this genius ever heard of hookworm? It affects 100 of millions of people every year still to this day. Yes, there is a reason to wear shoes. This potentially deadly disease and others can be contracted through the feet. Just put some shoes on and help us try to prevent the next black plague. Is that asking so much?

Sent by Marc Crownover | 12:40 PM | 4-22-2008

When I was a kid, I would go most of the summer without shoes, and by the end of the summer I could walk (even run) over gravel, twigs, and hot pavement with no problem. Can't do that anymore, as I've been assimilated into the corporate world, where going shoeless is frowned upon. But I still cut the grass without shoes, despite being frowned upon by the neighbors. It lets me to be 10 year old boy again, and my feet really miss that kid.

Sent by Dan | 12:41 PM | 4-22-2008

I have always gone barefoot as much as possible in all sorts of weather from the time I was a child..I am now 52. All shoes seem to hurt my feet in one way or another. I went to a renaissance festival last year and bought a pair of lace up moccasins made entirely of leather--they are wonderful! Even rocks don't hurt. The best of both worlds!

Sent by Beth | 12:44 PM | 4-22-2008

The gentleman referred to in the article doesn't make any defensible points: "No shoe manufacturer has ever said..." is not an argument, it is conjecture, pure and simple. Also, he advocates a shoe but says that walking in it "kills your heels", and the designer won't offer advice on how to walk in them? If he made an argument then backed it up, that would be journalism. This is a write-in op-ed piece.

Sent by Jason | 12:45 PM | 4-22-2008

Oh dear lord. No wonder we haven't found a cure for cancer yet. We are researching shoes!

This man really has nothing better to do? Please get a life, fast. You're boring ours to death with your nonsense.

Sent by Let us read something that matters | 12:48 PM | 4-22-2008

This article is something for you to know that you might not use except for maybe a conversation etc. It IS impossible to walk barefoot in todays socity with like someone said the work place or even in public its just not the norm. Our feet are fine the way they are...and the shoes are not like a cast at all if you buy shoes that let air in and can breath properly. If we all walked vare foot we would have blisterd feet with all the concreet in the cities. Back way when they would walk barefoot because it was mainly grass,wood floors,sand,dirt.There is just no way it would happen in America.

By the way i'm a 13yo kid thats in the 7th grade...just thought you should know.

Sent by Nathan | 12:50 PM | 4-22-2008

I agree that being barefoot is awesome, and it's not natural to have to wear shoes. But it's also not natural to wear clothes either. Or having to go the a store to buy food. Or driving cars. Why is this guy such an advocate for the "natural" and not willing to be completely natural?

Sent by Jamie | 12:50 PM | 4-22-2008

I completely disagree with this article on the aspect of shoes! however about 85% of us do walk incorrectly. Has anyone ever been to foot solutions? They have 2 brands of sneakers and several sandals that help the feet not hurt them. MBT's and Chung-Shi shoes fro one are great and can help correct your gait. Also the properly fitted arch support. Walking barefoot is one of the worst things you can do. everytime you step you put 2 times your body weight on your feet and without any support or arch your natural arch on your foot will fall over time and you will develop very bad pains in your heels because of it. cheap shoes can hurt your feet, especially crocs, but the right shoes like brooks or some new balance, MBT's and a few others can really benefit your feet and your posture! Go to foot solutions and they will give you a free foot evaluation and you can see for yourself what the proper footwear can do for your life style. I totally changed mine

Sent by April holtz | 12:54 PM | 4-22-2008

Oh sure let's see you walk on hot surfaces like a hot tar-paved road or even snow and ice,oh yeah,how about a hot sandy beach just to name a few. Get real

Sent by Sandra | 12:56 PM | 4-22-2008

CORRECTION PLEASE!

It took GOD an instant to CREATE the foot which is on man.

Sent by Jim | 12:56 PM | 4-22-2008

What interesting and mostly negative comments. So what is it about naked feet people find so offensive? I agree the foot is perfect in and of itself and would like to go barefoot more. But now at nearly 60 years old my feet are so coddled and tender even for soft ground it's uncomfortable. Plus they get cold and when my feet are cold I feel cold all over so I wear socks a lot. Recently I found the negative heel Earth Shoe and they have styles I can wear to work. I want to do what I can for the health of my feet and posture, etc, without actually going barefoot all the time. Thanks for this article, I am encouraged.

Sent by Molly Buckles | 12:56 PM | 4-22-2008

Yet another useless article from a writer articulate in claiming a problem exists, yet vague and random in actually identifying the wrongdoing...or solution for that matter. All things considered, I enjoy going barefoot as often as possible, but I hardly find it plausible that this writer has any more basis or compelling evidence for doing so than I do...how about an honest title? Something like say, "I Love To Go Barefoot!"

Sent by James | 12:56 PM | 4-22-2008

Evolution perfected the foot? Try GOD made it perfect! I agree with Scott...this guy is an idiot!

Sent by Shawn | 12:57 PM | 4-22-2008

This is a ridiculous article. He at no point specifies what about the shoes are bad for your feet. Cushion is bad, what? We are meant to hang from trees, not walk barefoot on cement, we would need hoofs for that. MBT's are ridiculous. They change the way you walk but not for the better. A good orthotic will make the shoes work for your feet.

Sent by Edjucated about feet | 12:58 PM | 4-22-2008

It is not illegal to drive bare foot in any state in the US, that is a misconception. Go the related article and this links listed there for documentation of this. As for hookworm, is there a lot of untreated sewage where you walk? Then it's not really a problem. Such reactionary hyperbole. At least folks are reading the article. I hope they question their preconceptions more, as I support the ability for more people, to be more comfortable, in more places without needing to deal with some forbidding reactions.

Sent by Eric | 12:58 PM | 4-22-2008

Wow, the blog has acquired a lot of people who hate the idea of bare feet. At this point I'm going to assume a few things: 1) most of the negativity isn't toward the NYT article writer, it's for the barefoot hiker. 2) Some of you are from the south since we sure don't have hook worms where I'm from or I'd have gotten them when I was little because I never wore shoes unless I was going somewhere. 3) Foot phobia. That is all.

Sent by Sarah Lee | 1:02 PM | 4-22-2008

Doesn't the author consider the fungal diseases and physical damage that you can do by walking barefoot?
Why do people waste time writing these nonsense articles? Why even post this headline?

Sent by Dave | 1:03 PM | 4-22-2008

As far as steel mills, yes... it is proper to wear shoes. But what about football... why not? If no one on either team has cleats on, what would you be afraid of? Someone stepping on your toe? Does it hurt that bad, really? Chances are very slim that you would actually break your toe or foot. In fact, you would be less likely to acquire an injury without cleats on, low-cut cleats especially!
If this article is a waste of time, and we cant find the cure for cancer beacuse of it... why not do something yourself to find the cure for cancer? Surely in your disapprovement of this article you could have just read the first paragraph or so, then went on to another article that strikes your interest! Even more than that, you could have not taken more time out of finding the cure for cancer to leave comments on something you have absolutely no interest in!
I believe that, if in fact the author of this srticle did extensive research, he could have come up with exactly why or how our shoes are forcing us to walk wrong... Surely this article could have been written better and more researched than it is, however, in my opinion, it is fairly interesting none the less.

Sent by Michael | 1:05 PM | 4-22-2008

I'm always trying to go barefoot outside but certin individuals stop that from happening. I would like to have a world where my feet can just be free unless they chose not to be. Anyways even without shoes I stiil walk funny according to my mother- something about how I step on the sides of my feet or something. Maybe i should see a doctor. Any advise?

Sent by J. M. | 1:05 PM | 4-22-2008

surprising that such closed minds are posting here.
yes, i do weld, train horses, hike, and generally live barefoot.

the "driving barefoot is illegal" myth has been around since before i was born. a cop came to my school and addressed that question when i was a kid in nebraska. he said, "there's no such law that says you have to be wearing anything while driving."

wearing shoes regularly makes one's feet soft and thereby the need for shoes.
toughen up, pansies!
as for restaurants. what could possibly be on one's feet that would not be on one's shoes?
oi with the "you can't do that because i don't" crowd.

Sent by mike | 1:05 PM | 4-22-2008

I will try going barefoot in Vermont this coming winter. Where should i send the doctors bill after they remove my toes due to frostbite?

Sent by Scott Moore | 1:08 PM | 4-22-2008

As someone who suffers from plantar facitis-Birkenstocks are the way to go. They are actually ergonomically made to mimic your own foot and get more & more comfortable over time as the footbed starts to mould to your foot from continued wear. I own all colors, and styles - summer & winter versions - totally the way to go! This guy obviously didn't do all of his homework when he wrote the article. There are also plenty of other new shoes out there being made specifically for this reason. I agree-high heels are not good for our walk or feet, but there ARE alternatives - if you just research a bit.

Sent by Melissa | 1:09 PM | 4-22-2008

Yes, 4 million years of evolution perfected the foot.

I've been a barefooter for years. But I don't barefoot in public, because mostly the stores will kick you out or your workplace will ask you to put on shoes. Most dress codes require shoes.

Sent by B | 1:13 PM | 4-22-2008

I totally agree with the article. I believe that the closest thing to barefeet is best. I only don shoes when leaving the house and that is only to avoid steping on something gross, sharp, or cold/hot. People walked without shoes for thousands of years. Seriously, sandals date back before the time of Jesus and I'm sure they only wore them for the same reasons why I wear shoes. I think this discussion of shoes ranks right about the same as discussing corsets.

Sent by Rebekah Addison | 1:15 PM | 4-22-2008

I have just one word for you. Scabies.

Sent by Sunbreaks | 1:15 PM | 4-22-2008

I don't agree with this at all. This article/person throws a blanket statement for some reason.
I had knee and back pain since i was 10 years old because of feet/arches/ankles that didn't work. I bought orthotics 2 years ago, and they changed my life... no knee pain, no back pain. My bare feet don't do the job! I wear the orthotics as much as possible. My son has inherited the same problem. He's 9 years old and I have started him on insoles. He will NOT go through the same agony I went through for 30 years!

Sent by Kevin S. | 1:15 PM | 4-22-2008

I have a ready-made rebuttal to this article:
http://formidablesnark.blogspot.com/2008/02/my-least-favorite-things-part-1.html

Sent by Nina | 1:16 PM | 4-22-2008

Yay! My barefeet are vindicated!! I have always believed this; thanks so much!

Sent by Patricia | 1:16 PM | 4-22-2008

J.M.: I was having an issue with the arch of my right foot when running and I went to Peak Performance where they look at your knee placement and watch you run around a little. From that, they recommend a general group of shoes for you to buy that will help correct some problems. i.e., my knees turn inward instead of forward which was straining my arches. A shoe with rigid and strong arch support was recommended, I tried on something like 5 pairs of shoes, loved one of them and haven't had a problem with my feet since.

Sent by Sarah Lee | 1:16 PM | 4-22-2008

"I'm not going to convince anyone to walk barefoot," -Then what is the point of the article or his book. He even says to himself that he wears a form of shoe. I do a lot of running and would love for someone to attempt to hang with me barefoot.

Sent by Michael Koballa | 1:24 PM | 4-22-2008

I would love nothing more than to be barefoot for the rest of my life. But let's face it, there are social standards set by almost every job and businesses, where you can't get away with not wearing any footware. So it isn't like we can just stop wearing shoes altogether.

Sent by Genipher | 1:27 PM | 4-22-2008

I totally agree... I love walking and being barefoot. And I have developed a pretty hardy foot, I walk on rocks and pebbles and rough pavement and my friends wonder how. The only thing I totally disagree with is the whole evolution thing. Why start the article with that? It makes more sense to me that an intelligent designer designed our feet to be perfect.

Sent by Ben Wilder | 1:28 PM | 4-22-2008

It's true that high heels are horrible for your feet and being sexy isn't worth crippling yourself, but other than that this article is nonsense. Traditional barefoot societies didn't have to navigate through broken glass, chewing gum, nails, and other refuse that we have on our sidewalks and streets. Also, living in Phoenix, you would horribly burn your feet without shoes. My hiking club went on a hike with a nationally known outdoor expert who always hiked barefoot and claimed how superior it was (Cody somethin-or-other); we had to constantly stop and wait up for him because he couldn't come close to keeping up with us. As to good shoes, I reccomend Tevas. They protect your soles but are simple enough that they don't alter your naturall movements at all.

Sent by Adam | 1:33 PM | 4-22-2008

When it's summer and I am walking a short distance, I never wear shoes. I have always claimed to hate them. Although, I own many pairs-especially heels- if it was socially acceptable to walk barefoot everywhere, I probably would. Until it got cold out, but for all of the "gross" places, I'd bring a pair of flip flops. :)

Sent by Katy | 1:37 PM | 4-22-2008

fred flintstone used to drive his car barefoot

Sent by menace_tech | 1:41 PM | 4-22-2008

I have to agree with Christine. Shoes were invented as a means of protecting feet from nature and infection. Anyone who has visited poorer countries abroad knows that manys deaths are attributable to infections and bites sustained to the feet.

Sent by Mark | 1:41 PM | 4-22-2008

B.S.!!!! If you like walking barefoot, go do it working for a recycling plant.

Worst comparison ever: Putting a cast on your arm will immobilize it, which is ALOT different than just wearing shoes which just pad your feet. Did you know that, author? Your feet still move when you wear shoes!!

Shoes a necessity to survive in our world and balance is the key. Wear shoes outside, go barefoot at home, end of story. If anyone goes too much on one side or the other, they'll have problems...just like every issue of life.

Sent by Seldomane | 1:42 PM | 4-22-2008

Of all the things this article brought up, evolution is the one that set people off. Didn't see that one coming. It was mentioned, i believe, only once. Weird. I didn't even think about the evolution comment until at least 10 people decried it on the blog.

Sent by Sarah L | 1:43 PM | 4-22-2008

Humans feet evolved (or were designed by God, or whatever, can we please stay on topic?) made for a tropical environment (or Eden, whatever, it's immaterial). Shoes are an intelligent response to colder climates, much like clothing. Is it just me who thinks this is incredibly obvious?

Sent by 857 | 1:44 PM | 4-22-2008

and what do you propose for wintertime when the temperatures drop, and the rain and snow start falling? suffer from FROSTBITE????

Sent by youarenotallowedtoknow | 1:46 PM | 4-22-2008

nonsense. i don't believe this for a moment. of course, you need shoes. not manolo blahniks, but the foot needs support. my pediatrist almost laughed his head off when i told him.

Sent by eydie sanders | 1:48 PM | 4-22-2008

Anyone remember in the '60s and '70s there was a shoe called the Kelso earth shoe it was suppose to mimic barefoot walking with the toes were higher than the heel they were very comfortable! from Germany or Scandinavia I think.

Sent by Maggie Orfitelli | 1:51 PM | 4-22-2008

I get such a laugh out of people who actually think that we as humans have evolved. Get a grip on reality before it's too late!

Sent by Shawn | 1:55 PM | 4-22-2008

Even pediatricians today advocate not putting children in stiff shoes, but rather soft, protective foot coverings that allow the childs foot to develop naturally while protecting them from cold and cuts. There is a great Made-in-USA company that specializes in soft soled moccasins and shoes for kids AND Adults - check them out at www.softstarshoes.com - they have some more great background information and pediatrician endorsed articles about why soft soled shoes can be better than stiff shoes. Nike has also done some of the best and most recent research on shoes and their impact on running. They studied the elite athletes of the world and found that runners with the best muscle control / structural development was in atheletes who grew up running barefoot (think Nigeria). Nike developed Nike FREE based on years of $$$$ research to try and mimic barefoot like motion and light weight while offering protection from the elements... good information on their site, too.

Sent by Trish | 1:58 PM | 4-22-2008

Wow, I am a Christian, but I think the real story here is the ignorant people who dispute evolution. To those people I say, "Please continue to evolve". As far as the story and the author goes. Evolution hasn't perfected the foot, it has given us the intellegence to create the shoe to protect our foot in many mays. I do agree that most shoes now are made for fashion and not function though. That is a shame.

Sent by Darrin | 1:59 PM | 4-22-2008

I'd liken shoes to gloves. There are things I would not do without gloves.. pick up something gross, something hot, something that could hurt me, etc.
There are places I would not walk without shoes.
Likewise, I would not type with gloves.. and I would not walk around a beach, my grass, or my house with shoes.

Sent by tyf | 1:59 PM | 4-22-2008

I guess here is another case of what we, as humans, are doing wrong as described by another human who is perfect. Oh, wait a minute. The author hasn't stop wearing shoes. So what does that tell us. Maybe, just maybe, the author should: 1) take his own adise; 2) don't use such ambigious info to try and persuade the masses that they are "Walking Wrong." Just a thought.

Sent by Brian | 2:01 PM | 4-22-2008

Some of these people reading this article are taking it entirely to literal. give the guy a break, it's one mans opinion, you people dont have to chastise the guy. i dont agree with everything he said, but i'm not sitting here calling him an idiot or dumbass.
I believe thinking outside the box is always good to have, even if it is not always right. wow, if everyone conformed to conventional wisdom we would not have the advancements in society.
this is what separated the United States from the rest of the pack, we Americans question and challenge everything, there is nothing wrong with that. don't hate independent thinkers, and quit acting like lemmings!

Sent by jay g | 2:03 PM | 4-22-2008

Brrrrr!! I live in Colorado. I love to walk on warm grass barefoot, but in winter my boots look much more inviting.

Sent by Anna | 2:03 PM | 4-22-2008

Lol Marc Crownover, a little overdramatic aren't you?

Sent by LP | 2:04 PM | 4-22-2008

Shoes are barbaric. They only protect ur feet from glass, splinters, rocks, and other debris that we may come in contact with. In nature, that's great, but there are still many natural hazards for the foot to come in contact with. In New York City or any other population area, I think I'll keep my feet covered.

Sent by John Clise | 2:05 PM | 4-22-2008

I have always loved going barefoot - not outside because of the given reasons of excrement, broken glass, etc., but I feel best when barefoot. I have never in my life found a comfortable shoe until my 61st year when I discovered Cydwoqs (pronounced side-walk). They are handmade in California of leather, and literally do mold to your foot. They are, of course, expensive but they're all I wear when not inside my house. I try and walk barefoot at my office (carpeted) every chance I get, too. My mother always said my feet would get huge from walking barefoot, but I'm the norm for my size. I don't know that I agree with the article all of a piece, but for me it's the most comfortable, natural way to get around.

Sent by Carol | 2:06 PM | 4-22-2008

I really have no opinion on the article itself...wear shoes, don't wear shoes, who care. My quesiton is, why does everything have to turn into a discussion about religion? Seriously people...it's about feet, not how we got them!

Sent by hc | 2:09 PM | 4-22-2008

Hate shoes, and socks too.

Sent by Monica | 2:10 PM | 4-22-2008

I will plant a big, wet sloppy kiss on the first person who manages to tie Ron Paul, Christian sex toys, bats and Robert Krulwich into this topic.

Sent by Stewart | 2:14 PM | 4-22-2008

Your pediatrist almost laughed his head off because it would put him out of a job.

Sent by billamonster.com | 2:15 PM | 4-22-2008

Interesting. I'm glad to know Mr. Sternbergh is not as adamant on the practice as he is on the belief... Any thoughts for those of us wearing orthotics with our shoes? My podiatrists have insisted I'll need them for life.

Sent by Brian | 2:15 PM | 4-22-2008

I lived in Guam for 2yrs and after about 6 mths of NO SHOES I had to go in and get my feet looked at-guess what BONE SPURS. Wearing shoes would have helped and not have aggrivated the spurs as much. "Something is better than nothing wear at least a flip flop " to quote my Doctor

Sent by K | 2:23 PM | 4-22-2008

This story would've mattered before cities were built with concrete pavements that cut and burn the bottom of people's feet. If global warming didnt steam the towns. Maybe if broken glass and chewed gum wasnt in the streets if the streets didnt exist if the whole world was made of dirt and grass we wouldnt need shoes to protect our toes...so i ask what was the author of this story thinking before he or she wrote this BS?

Post it or not...it's for NPR editors anyway.

Sent by hj augustus | 2:25 PM | 4-22-2008

Personally, I think this guys an idiot and the reasons for shoes and what has happened evolutionarily and socially is far broader then this short article relates. My son had fallen arches and pronation from age 2 and he never wore shoes. Unlucky genetics. He never got better as he aged. Eventualy his knes and ankles hurt wwhen he walked. He needed shoes and orthotics to get his feet and gait corrected. In ancient times, neo man, he would have been the weak one to not survive the hunter gather life period. There are many more reasons for shoes then explained here. Do I disagree we have made more of something then we should have? Absolutly not, But to say ALL shoes are bad for all people, What a moron..

Sent by Matt DuFresne | 2:26 PM | 4-22-2008

While it might not help us walk "right" shoes sure protects us from cra p(both figurative and literal)that's on the streets. Ever been to NYC? I've seen people actually urinate on the sidewalks. People also spit, spill, litter, whatever and it's not always on surfaces where it will dissolve or something naturally - it's cement. Ever try walking on cement during and after a hot desert day?

Sent by SMK | 2:31 PM | 4-22-2008

I remember in the mid-50's when I got my first pair of flip-flops and thought they were the BEST! Still do ....:)

Sent by Lee | 2:33 PM | 4-22-2008

Well, I seem to be an oddity. While I have to say there wasn't much to substantiate the validity of the article what's with all of the barefoot haters out there. I go barefoot whenever possible. But hey! I love shoes just as much as the next girl. Still I'm reading a lot of paranoia about going barefoot. I've done it my whole life (not where I'd step in glass or something nasty) and never had a problem. Besides barefoot is the best way to get the feel of a clutch when trying to learn standard. We should all not be so worried. Wear your shoes at sensible times and enjoy nuddie feet when you can. And really, let's not get so worked up over a stupid article. Geez!

Sent by Amanda | 2:35 PM | 4-22-2008

It's amazing to me that virtually no one has addressed the extremely high heels and dangerous shoes which women are wearing. Somehow, I see a connection with these shoes and the infantalizing women's clothing (pinks and blues, smocking and lacy) being hyped nowadays, coincidentally with the demise of the women's movement.

Sent by Ruth | 2:35 PM | 4-22-2008

Try Vibram Five Finger shoes. Your barefoot and protected. I love them, I walk and run in them with no worries and have never had any issues. Fair warning though...you will blow your calfs out if you run in them without building up. Shoes do not let your calf muscles extend all the way as designed and you need to get used to going back natural (well almost)
http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/

Sent by Ivan Petrov (not my real name) | 2:35 PM | 4-22-2008

Now I know why my 85 year old mother was able to walk miles in $4 WalMart canvas running shoes. She's worn them all her life and they're similar to the Kevlar slipper in a lot of ways. But nothing beats bare feet. I used to compete in track relays on cinder stones in bare feet. It was the only way I could win but I only now know why.

Sent by Sheila Woodward | 2:36 PM | 4-22-2008

We at Soles4Souls, a charity dedicated to providing free shoes to poor people worldwide, don't take offense to wealthy, self-actualized people eliminating footwear from their closets. But we take great exception that 99% of the world would ever be in a position to go barefoot on purpose. I would like to see the author explain his line of thought to any one of the 12,000 people we know in the notorious city dump of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, who are forced to rummage through trash and debris in search of food and other items. We don't all live in nicely manicured suburbs with accommodating sidewalks and comfy lawns, and feel it best to remind everyone who feels the need to rebuke shoes that they were first invented not as a fashion statement, but as an excellent solution to the harsh realities of disease, injury, and discomfort.

Sent by Chris Carmichael, Dir. of Communications, Soles4Souls Inc. | 2:39 PM | 4-22-2008

I would like to see him go work my job barefoot. My job requires steel toe boots for a reason. If he thinks human feet are healthy and tough, why does he wear Kevlar soled slippers?

Sent by Heather Moore | 2:39 PM | 4-22-2008

This Author is the proprietor of a conspiracy of idiocy. The human foot evolved to walk on soft ground (hence the the foot's arch, which molds to uneven surfaces). Any distance runner will tell you that they will always prefer to run on earth rather than pavement-- for the sake of you knees heels and hips... but if you must, ALWAYS wear a shoe on concrete.

Sent by ric | 2:41 PM | 4-22-2008

You're a fool!! If you purchase the right foot wear it does work for you... AS a track runner you have to find the shoes that work with your body in able to excel. Therefore you subjective theory about how shoes degrade our bodies is very wrong. For example in the winter what are you supposed to do get frost bite. Or in the heat of the summer what are you to do, burn your feet on the concrete!! Come on shoes are made to protect us from the elements and prevent injury. If that's not the reason you're wearing shoes then take them off and see how long you last without them! Why don't you do a study about how your feet went from perfect to dirty, rough, smelly, and eventually infected from the crap you walk through?

Sent by John Doe | 2:44 PM | 4-22-2008

Wow...what a bunch of hardcore bigots! LOL
I mean really, so what if someone wants to go barefoot. Besides, in many posts people freaked out with lame rebuttals such as, "what about frostbite, nails or broken glass?" There were those who claimed that "primitive" peoples didnt have to worry about that.
Well, first of all, the article wasnt meant as an argument or scientific paper supporting the benefits of a shoeless society. It was simply an article about a man who has a company that sells shoes that have thin soles, mimicing going barefoot. Whether you agree that barefoot is the way to go or not is really irrelevant! He never said he goes barefoot everywhere. Thats why he designed the shoes you simpletons!
Secondly, yes our feet were designed to go barefoot. To the bloggers who said that you cant go barefoot in the summer in Arizona, and to the blogger who runs alot and challenged a barefoot runner to keep up, I have one word: Kenyans. They run on scortching hot sand and can probably run cirlces around Mr. I Run Alot! HA!
To the writer who walks on the blade of your foot. Thats natural. Don't worry about it. Thats not only a good way to avoid possible injuries such as broken glass and nails, but also keeps your ankles flexible.
To revisit the people who claim that those poor uncivilized people who went barefoot because they didnt have broken glass, nails, and hot concrete to deal with...those same "poor, barefoot primitives" had to deal with sharp rocks, thorns, and burning sand. People have always had sense enough to protect their feet. We have worn moccasins, mukluks, and other various shoes designed to protect the feet from heat, cold, and pain. Yet and still, barefoot was, is and will always be the most natural way to walk, and we will still always wear shoes. Moreover, there will still be a bunch of bigots who feel the need to respond as negatively as they can to anyone who is trying to do something positive!
Last comment is for the dolt who claimed that humans were meant to swing from the trees. If that ignorant statement (which was clearly a stab at the creationist crowd) is even remotely true, then please tell me how fast, strong and graceful you are when you swing from oak to oak on your way to work Mr. Tarzan! Because my "tree swinging" ability seems to be slighlty retarted!
Y'all make me laugh out loud for reals!

*high five to the guy who called all you prejudiced, narrowminded ignoramuses pansies for not having tougher feet!* HA!

Sent by Freese | 2:45 PM | 4-22-2008

Is this guy actually PAID to write this garbage? What a buffoon. Common sense alone would tell you that you can't walk on ashpalt over 130 degrees or the frozen tundra without shoes. Or boots. I only agree with the factor that women don't need to be wearing high heels but try to stop them now. Yeah, I'm ogling their sexy feet in heels too. .but I'm damn glad I'm not wearing those bunyon producing pumps.

We were clothing for protection first and style second. A healthy pair of feet reflect a person's overall general health. Advocating NOT wearing shoes is just plain foolish. This guy's opinion is just like derriere's.. .we all have one.

Sent by Michael W. | 2:47 PM | 4-22-2008

This article is pointless, I still didn't know why soes hurt/harm my feet. Please clue me in

Sent by Donna | 2:48 PM | 4-22-2008

Walking barefoot is the most ridiculous thing I've ever herd. It's hard on your feet, your back and pretty much your entire body. Not to mention just nasty.

Sent by Emma | 2:50 PM | 4-22-2008

this guy knows nothing. how about flat feet? I've had absolutely flat fet since I was a kid running around barefoot. Flat feet weren't caused by shoes. I rarely wore shoes growing up in Hawaii.

As for barefoot Indian rickshaw pullers being proof that we don't need shoes.....people with overly high arches, or flat feet, or some other podiatric defect WOULD STAY OUT OF THE BUSINESS OF PULLING RICKSHAWS IN BARE FEET because of the pain it would cause. His "proof" is fallacious.

Sent by Buckelew | 2:51 PM | 4-22-2008

I wonder if the people in Minnesota would agree...in January??

Sent by Mike | 2:52 PM | 4-22-2008

I once attended a Yoga class which was intended to specifically help you learn to walk properly. Naturally, we were taught to do this barefoot (it was Yoga, after all), but it was a sobering and valuable class. As part of the discussion, we also talked about transferring these walking skills into wearing shoes. After all, it is simply not practical to go barefoot all of the time, but there are a lot of carefully designed shoes out there. As a runner, I alternate flip flops and bare feet with wearing Asics running shoes pretty much all of the time. These are nicely designed shoes with arch support and they breathe. So, yes, idealistically it can sometimes seem like we'd be better without, but it's all about your approach to stepping and a careful choice of shoe.

Sent by Tom K. | 2:53 PM | 4-22-2008

I've been going barefoot at least half the time for more than 25 years (I'm a male in my mid-40s, started barefooting regularly after high school) and what this writer says is right on target. It's amazing to see how much rage, anger and fear is directed at people who say wait a minute, maybe we *don't* need to be wearing shoes all of our waking hours. The soles of my feet are thick, but not really callused. I run barefoot and strengthen my feet through barefoot hiking, and I am glad to see this article. As for going barefoot in the city, yes, it can be done. I prefer grass, sand and other natural surfaces, but now and then a stroll along the sidewalk feels good, too. Oh, by the way -- I've never had athlete's foot: going barefoot (air and light) prevents it. As for hookworm, at least it the USA it is not much of a problem these days thanks to the fine work of the Rockefeller Sanitation Commission in the early 20th century (Just don't wallow in human excrement, something I wouldn't be doing shod or unshod). As for the dirt on feet, think of how filthy an auto mechanic's hands get every day. What does he do? He washes them! What do barefooters do? We shower and clean them regularly! Bare feet are prefectly functional in most situations, so it's long past time that we get over our cultural addiction to shoes and start walking in a healthy fashion. Shoes are like a tool, wear them when you really need them or for truly formal situations, but don't overdo it just because it's the "social norm." Girdles and corsets used to be the social norm, but we got past that and everyone is happier for it. On that happy note, I think I'll go outside...BAREFOOT!

Sent by Chuck | 2:55 PM | 4-22-2008

First off, most shoes do not have completely stiff shoes so the example of the cast on the arm is rubbish. The foot does have many unique qualities that have evolved; such as the fat pad on the heel. Shoes do protect the skin but they also protect from shock atenuation from our current environment such as concrete etc. Everyone mentions how they used to run barefoot all the time without problems. The reason for that is that THEY WERE KIDS. I used to be able to fall out of a tree from 10 feet without problems or being sore, now at 26yrs old I am starting to feel those falls in my back. Also note that the average life expectancy during the time that humans didn't wear shoes was considerably less, I would probably be on my last few years. So degredation of joints wouldnt be as big of an issue. Feet would need to only last 30 years or so instead of 65+. Also, diseases such as diabetes wasnt an issue thousands of years ago because it wasnt so easy to be so gutenous. Now people are losing feet and still living because of scientific advances, not because of evolution OR god. (by the way, look up and research what evolution actually is: changes in a certain population. God isnt even an issue. It has been proven just as much as electricity or gravity)As someone who went to graduate school for orthopedic bracing and footwear, I would recommend avoiding crappy Walmart brand shoes unless you have good foot inserts to put in them. Good inserts are defined as supportive with good heel cups but not completely rigid and not just Dr. Scholls padded inserts. They should range from $35-40, but should last years. As for MBT's yeah they have cushioned heels, but they are $200 or more and could cause excessive hyperextension of the knee if the ankle is tight. It would be best to see a proffesional and not some store (such as the Good Feet store)that provides special shoes or inserts. If they dont take insurance, they probably havent gone to school and are just spitting out some facts that they read from a handout that the company provides. I've witnessed it before and the person was so full of it. REMEMBER they ARE salespeople.

Sent by Daniel | 2:55 PM | 4-22-2008

Hahah 4 million years ago!?! WOW pretty sure it is perfect because everything GOD created is perfect.

Sent by Lo | 3:00 PM | 4-22-2008

Ha yeah, speak for yourself, dude. My feet definitely need shoes. As much I would love to be constantly covered with dirt and filth, burn myself on hot pavement, and take the long way around grassy areas after it's rained, I think there might be a couple of *good* reasons for wearing shoes. Just because our ancestors a zillion years ago didn't wear them (and how long were their lifespans?) doesn't mean we don't need them.

Sent by Rebecca | 3:00 PM | 4-22-2008

Well, first I am sure we are all thrilled that the fundamentalists set the record straight. Had to get the old god made everything so evolution can't be right! In reference to the article: Not everyone is safe going barefoot. All it takes is a small injury to an unprotected diabetic foot and the result could be an eventual amputation. And my podiatrist doesn't get a kick-back on the shoes I buy, so I am reluctant to believe he didn't have a clue when he told me I must always wear shoes to protect the tendons in my feet from the wear of some extra bones against them. Like just about everything, I am inclined to think there are no hard and fast rules that should include everyone. Think individuality and then think individually.

Sent by Ms. e | 3:08 PM | 4-22-2008

I don't think we need a roof either. My skin and hair will take care of me. Please...you've just been nominated for Clown of the Month by a Clownding Father for CLOWNTOWN. Congratulations

Sent by Patrick Muller | 3:20 PM | 4-22-2008

This is a rediculous article. If feet were perfect, then shoes wouldn't have been made in the first place. Face it, feet aren't perfect. This is like saying that baseball players should catch with their bare hands, not a glove. And that we shouldn't wear hats to protect our scalp, face and ears from the elements - because our hair does that for us? That is, for those of us lucky enough to still have our hair. For that matter, if you side with the arguments of this article, why wear clothes at all. Apparently nudists know more than the rest of us. Shoes were designed (over thousands of years of shoe-evolution) to protect our feet from the elements and from injury. Besides, the practicality of going barefoot all the time prevents it altogether. The author didn't mention that being barefoot is considered a health hazard. Ever heard of "no shirt, no shoes no service? Also, many jobs require the use of specific foot wear to protect its workers from injury. And no mention about the implications of potential litigation by barefooters who happen to step on the wrong thing while doing run of the mill things? I think maybe the author would have been better off writing about how after thousands of years of shoe-evolution, the shoe/sneaker still sucks.

Sent by Brian | 3:20 PM | 4-22-2008

well i have never worne shoes all of my life and if 45 i feel fine

Sent by Robert Shoe | 3:21 PM | 4-22-2008

What kind of dumb ass thought that "In the Middle Ages, for example, people began wearing shoes with higher heels to avoid stepping in other people's excrement." Come on This guy think that people just stopped in the middle of the street a took a dump. Sooo much crap in the street I think I need high heels Dumb ass

Sent by Brad | 3:23 PM | 4-22-2008

In California driving barefoot is NOT illegal as many people think - it's a myth. I find I have better control when I have driven barefoot on occasion. I used my big toe and it's much stronger than you think and gives you subtle control. It avoids that lead foot driving because you really feel the car. One concern about going barefoot all the time is picking up some nasty foot disease and some tiny worms can borrow into the foot. It's an individual thing. If it kills you, as it does me because I have had major foot problems and foot surgeries, then wear them but get comfortable shoes. I wear mostly good running shoes and my feet feel much better. I will try walking at home barefoot and see if I feel any better over time. Some places I certainly wouldn't want to go barefooted. Too much yuck on the ground. But I'll keep an open mind.

Sent by Penny | 3:25 PM | 4-22-2008

Where are your collective brains, folks? How can any of you honestly say that mother nature got the entire human body right.....with the exception of the foot. Ooooh, we have to cover that one up and be very very careful with it. Hogwash! I'm a 50 year old successful analyst who's been barefoot for over 20 years. So much misinformation out there....the guy that doesn't want to take the long way around a grassy area after it's rained. Ever walk in wet shoes? No worries with feet. When you're done walking, you DRY THEM OFF. If you all love your shoes so much, why is that every person I've ever seen, upon taking off these beloved shoes, sighs and rubs their poor tired feet? Emma says that bare feet are "hard on your back." Again, hogwash! You know the quickest way to ruin a building? You mess with the foundation. Well, your feet are your foundation and altering that by putting shoes between you and the ground screws up your back's alignment. It's common sense, but I can see that many of you lack that. Go ahead and have feet that hurt, day in and day out. Go ahead and let the fungus grow inside those hot, humid fungus houses you call shoes....let your fungus covered feet smell to high heavens. Knock yourselves out....just don't expect me to join your sorry selves.

Sent by Robert | 3:30 PM | 4-22-2008

I am a wilderness skills instructor who has been studying how native cultures live for many years now. I routinely teach students in my classes a different style of walking that is used by native people that I call foxwalking. Foxwalking entails placing the outside of the foot down first then rolling it inward. Try taking your shoes off and foxwalking around outside for a while. This style of walking requires you to slow down just a little but it is easy to learn. Our current style of walking is more like a controlled forward fall and can jar our knees, ankles and back which is why we need shoes with so much cushion on the soles and heels.
Many years ago I began wearing custom made moccasins with a thin rubber vibram sole on the bottom to protect my feet from sharp objects. They are the most comfortable shoes that I have ever worn. Since they are custom made they are a bit expensive around $300 but well made. I have worn the same pair nearly every day for three years now and they are still in great condition.
There for I agree with the article. I am betting on the evolution of my foot vs the evolution of the shoe.

Sent by Dave Scott | 3:33 PM | 4-22-2008

I hope no one takes this advice seriously because they will likeley end up with serious injuries. Walking on the beach and in grass are usually ok without footwear, but even these surfaces have their hazards. There is a decent selection of shoes that are made to accomodate and encourage proper foot and ankle function as well as shoes and orthotics that help with various foot conditions. Of course these are not found at the "mart" stores. Anyone that is truly concerned with their foot health will select proper footwear with the help of a professional shoe fitter and/or a podiatrist or pedorthist.

Sent by Roland Januzzi | 3:41 PM | 4-22-2008

I want to write to everyone reading. How ignorant are people to not realize that GOD is who created us perfect in his own image!!??? That is why our feet are perfect! Not because of millions of years of evolution! How do these people KNOW its millions of years?? Were they there?? Were you or i?? I urge anyone who is open-minded to check this site out:http://www.kent-hovind.com/

Sent by Josh Ram | 3:49 PM | 4-22-2008

WOW! What are you people scared of? I don't know about you but I was born barefooted. You would think from reading all of the negative comments these people were born with shoes on! I say One little Piggy, Two little Piggy, right down to Whee Whee all the way home, Let them be FREE! I cannot stand shoes. I can and do most everything without them. I walk on hot cement, sand, gravel, etc. The point I would like to make is that going barefoot IS good for you. Yes! Has anyone ever heard of reflexology and/or pressure points? If you don't you should check it out. Many of our ailments could be eliminated if we chose to go barefoot a little more often. I'm not saying you should go without, I'm just saying you could benefit from not wearing them 24/7. For those of you who think you are going to contract some sort of disease, come on now. Do you people bathe? I promise, if you bathe on a regular basis(daily)you should not have anything to worry about. Set your feet free, they will thank you!!

Sent by Lori | 3:52 PM | 4-22-2008

SHOES ARE A TOOL>
if one has not enjoyed reasonable shoelessness, it is not recommended to jump right in....Scott in Vermont you are not clever. Eydie Sanders, your pediatrist wants your $. Seldomane you're my favorite! I wear my steel toes through obvious tough patches...shoes are a tool and common sense is beautiful! Michael Koballa, if i weren't 8 months pregnant i could run barefoot with you and keep up. My track coach made me wear them at meets, but at practice i was free to pole vault with my toes to the sky! I have danced across marble rubble in Colorado nude footed, hiked in Alaska, riden my mt. bike ferociously down trails...
To the individuals that are 1 of 10...there are always exceptions and a blanket statement for 9 cold people is most comforting. I am sorry your feet don't work right, this article wasn't written for you obviously.
I am very concerned about the hookworm, scabies fearing people. I recommend gas masks, a white bio suit, a bunker stocked with bleach...and sadly the reality is you will still be ailed by something. You do realize those things you're scared of get on your shoes, then in your car and on your hand when you reach down for that french fry you dropped.
I grew up in Maine shoveling snow in my socks(don't tell my mom!), walking to school barefoot with my sandals in my backpack so as not to get stuck with wet shoes all day. I live in Texas now and have acquired many a blister from hot pavement, and fire ants AND I STILL GO BAREFOOT MORE OFTEN THEN NOT. I am a rough and tumble girl and my life demands i wear the proper foot wear as a tool to success. It just happens that society has decided for me that shoes are required in most instances to attain this goal...and i am not fond of that, as i have found them slung over my shoulder in some of the most heinous conditions away from shoe huggers. I am excited for the Writer that he has inadvertently(or was it) asked us to look at something as simple as our feet to perhaps ask greater questions of ourselves. Why has man decided this is the way to go? We seem to "improve" so much with little knowledge of long term effects. How interesting that it brings to surface so much more about our life styles, differences, etc. As a rule of thumb in the barefoot world, we pay close attention to where we are going, i find this a lovely metaphor for life, as it is that i grab my steel toes when i go to the recycling plant!

Sent by Sarah Karstens, barefoot and pregnant! | 3:56 PM | 4-22-2008

It's hilarious how some BPP posts get no responders, and some get over 100.

Feet seems to be a hot topic.

I wear sandals, because they are a happy medium between barefoot and shoes. Closed shoes all the time can be bad for toe nails, can make your feet sweaty/itchy sometimes, etc.

Out in "pristine" nature I walk around barefoot sometimes. Indoors, barefoot. But really, walking around a city barefoot every single day.... that's just asking for disease, and evolution didn't design people to be walking barefoot on hard surfaces like concrete - it can cause aches.

Sent by Brian | 4:35 PM | 4-22-2008

Is this guy a Podiatrist? I didn't see D.P.M. after his name. Why would anyone listen to a website "writer" about whether or not they need to wear footwear. Of course you need shoes! They help in supporting your back, hamstrings, and plantar fascia. They provide protection against weather, insects, poisonous plants, etc. Get prescription arch supports, take out your innersole pads that came with your shoes, and insert the prescription ones as those were made just for you. And please go see your local Podiatrist, not your local web blogger.

Sent by Norman W. Goldman, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S. | 4:38 PM | 4-22-2008

Ever gone barefoot at the beach and noticed how healing and sensual that connection of foot to earth is? Check out: www.walkingmountain.org to see how much your WALK influences your TALK...then all your emotional reactions will become clearer.

Sent by Jacquie Chan | 5:51 PM | 4-22-2008

I would recommend taking the advice of Norman W. Goldman, D.P.M., and invest in some prescription orthotics.
After all, what personal interest could he possibly have in it?

For the record, I am also a health care professional, live in a cold weather large city, and have been going barefoot full time for all of my adult life.

By the way, Doc, as far as I was taught, the plantar fascia does require daily stretching as we age (I'm 55), but support?
Wouldn't that be a bit like wearing a cinch belt for lumbar spine pain instead of doing daily hamstring stretches and abdominal strengthening excercises?

I don't try to get others to give up their shoes unless they ask me for advice on relieving their foot, ankle knee, back, hip, or neck pain.
Why don't you clue your patients in to ALL of the current evidence and then let THEM decide?
Why ignore the current body of research?
Cast those that have made that choice, but in the name of doing no harm, why not also expose the hurting to basic stretching excercises?

Sent by Leo Feidler | 5:52 PM | 4-22-2008

Josh Ram: Do you realize how backward your comment is? Were you there to talk to God or Jesus and inquire about how the world was created or how old it is? At least science has "carbon dating." What do you have? A book called the bible? Isn't following the bible without any hard factual evidence "just as bad" as trusting that science correctly knows what it's doing with carbon dating?

Sent by Sarah Lee | 6:49 PM | 4-22-2008

What about those who have real foot problems? For example, my father got in a near death drunken driving accident - one leg was left longer than the other by a certain amount of centimeters or so causing him to walk odd. Doctors insisted he only buy new balance footwear for the support and proper arch support or else he could suffer long term damage doing otherwise. Is the real problem that we've come to walk wrong our whole lives due to footwear? I've always felt this in my heart actually, but had never read any article pertaining to this notion. Interesting stuff. Growing up, I felt better barefoot. I think until I was 12 I spent a majority of the time with the shoes off, playing in the forest and other woodland areas. Hard ground, pine needles, greenery, and plants felt great. When the shoes went on it was uncomfortable. I've always felt my feet developed strong and well because of this. Even now I feel I can walk a whole lot better when the shoes off.

Sent by Angie Henderickson | 6:57 PM | 4-22-2008

What about those who have real foot problems? For example, my father got in a near death drunken driving accident - one leg was left longer than the other by a certain amount of centimeters or so causing him to walk odd. Doctors insisted he only buy new balance footwear for the support and proper arch support or else he could suffer long term damage doing otherwise. Is the real problem that we've come to walk wrong our whole lives due to footwear? I've always felt this in my heart actually, but had never read any article pertaining to this notion. Interesting stuff. Growing up, I felt better barefoot. I think until I was 12 I spent a majority of the time with the shoes off, playing in the forest and other woodland areas. Hard ground, pine needles, greenery, and plants felt great. When the shoes went on it was uncomfortable. I've always felt my feet developed strong and well because of this. Even now I feel I can walk a whole lot better when the shoes are off.

Sent by Angie Henderickson | 7:01 PM | 4-22-2008

I used to have a bad back and sore knees. Now that I run four to five miles a day, barefoot, on sidewalks and streets, my back and knees are fine.

I used to have weak feet and ankles from wearing "casts" on my feet, but now my feet and ankles are strong, and my posture is great.

The article is exactly right. I'm speaking from experience. I'm not giving my knee-jerk reaction.

Sent by Justin | 7:04 PM | 4-22-2008

I bet the author is like most of the posters here and the folks at NPR: middle-aged, pony-tailed(with receding hairlines), sandal wearing hippies from the '60s who still think they can change the world.

Sent by J. Schmidt | 7:29 PM | 4-22-2008

To Scott...have you ever actually found that law that states that it's illegal to drive barefoot? Wives tale in most states I hate to tell you.

Sent by barefoot in texas | 7:31 PM | 4-22-2008

I agree with this man. It always seems that I get calluses when I wear new shoes and walk a lot, more than i do when i walk barefoot. Doesn't it just make sense that if we were fine in the past without shoes, we should be fine without them now?

Sent by Emma | 7:35 PM | 4-22-2008

I've noticed that almost everyone I know (including me) wears simple canvas and rubber shoes with no support whatsoever
(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000BTMIM8.16._SCLZZZZZZZ_SS260_.jpg, http://images.nearbynow.com/productimages/hottopic/c2/00290cc2_360x360.jpg)
Are we too members of the wrong-walkers?

Sent by Modest.grey | 9:18 PM | 4-22-2008

I have been barefoot for 10 years now. I live in the Arizona desert where there are many things that are spiny and "pokey". I'd have to say, that when I wore shoes, my reaction to this article would have been similar to a lot of the naysayers here. But, I need to say that walking barefoot is the single healthiest decision I have ever made. Don't believe me? try it for 6 months, and I guarantee you won't go back to shoes willingly!

Sent by Alan | 9:26 PM | 4-22-2008

Fred Flinstone here:

After driving over 300,000 miles in my bare feet I am finally forced to have my brake pads replaced. If I had known about shoes when I started driving 48 years ago I surely would have used them.

What is it with all these posters that have so much foot phobia? They need to take off their shoes and relax a little.

Sent by Pablo | 9:28 PM | 4-22-2008

Finally, an article that says plain and simple what we barefoot runners have known all along. The mechanics are different. Like the other runner who cured his problems by kicking off the shoes, I have had the same experience. And experience enables one to understand like nothing else. It is amazing the comments here mostly from people with little experience. Try it for yourself. Your bare feet teach you correct form when walking or running. It might take a little time to learn. If you do it right you don't get blisters, it doesn't hurt and its fun!

Sent by Larry | 10:12 PM | 4-22-2008

Going barefoot is the way to go. I am barefoot as musch as I can and have not had any of the dread things that many people have stated will happen. AND, if you do your homework you will find it is not illegal to drive barefoot.

Sent by John | 11:17 PM | 4-22-2008

To the people who are talking about how they'd like to see someone try to work barefoot at the recycling plant, or in Minnesota in January, would you please read the article in New York magazine? Nowhere is the author advocating full-time barefooting in extreme conditions. I like to go barefoot and do so most of the time, but there are certain things I like shoes for, too. To the person who wrote about the author and the people posting here as being hippies from the '60s who still think they can change the world, please...enough with the stereotypes. People went barefoot long before the hippies ever came onto the scene, and people will go barefoot long into the future. To the podiatrists who talk about the author not being a D.P.M., are you claiming that Podiatry as a whole unanimously agrees that barefoot exercise is bad? Because if you are, you are mistaken. That is not intended as an insult, merely a statement of fact. The truth of the matter is that podiatrists who are not beholden to the orthotics and shoe industries will, in fact, encourage regular barefoot walking, especially for those who enjoy it. They will also tell their patients about stretching and massage techniques on the calves and achilles tendon that will help the plantar fasciitis rather than immediately prescribing $400 orthotics. Yes, orthotics have their place in some cases, as do shoes. But what this article is saying is that so do bare feet, especially on natural terrain. Any podiatrist who advises a non-diabetic patient with reasonably healthy feet to *never* walk barefoot is doing nothing more than advising you never to exercise their feet. Think about that...a doctor telling you to *never* use your feet the way they evolved (or were created, or both) to be used. That's like saying we should never breathe without a gas mask, or never use our hands without gloves.

One last thing: check out:
http://www.barfusspark.info/en/park.htm

Sent by Chuck | 12:17 AM | 4-23-2008

All the "what about people who have very rare foot/leg issues" posts are pointless. If you're paralized from the waist down, a wheelchair is a good thing for you. For most people, it would cause more harm than good to go around in a wheelchair all day long. Whether or not you agree with the article, can't you see that's the author's point? He's not addressing the small percentage of the population whose legs are different lengths or whose feet have serious issues. He's addressing all the people who wear shoes without a medical reason to do so.

For the record, I have gone barefoot in Minnesota in the winter. I did not get frostbite. I live in a large city, with lots of concrete, I go barefoot every day and I have never gotten a cut, blister, bone spur, crack, disease, fungus, or any other of the "omg everyone who goes barefoot will..." crap mentioned in the comments.

I still didn't agree with everything in the article. I think it could have definitely been better researched and better written. I'm not preachy about my lifestyle... wear shoes or don't wear shoes. Not my problem. But why such vitriol from you people about those of us who choose to go barefoot? My feet don't smell. The only effect they could have on you is you might happen to see them, and if you aren't going to make it illegal for people to walk around with muffin tops or other much more unsightly phenomena, what case do you have against seeing my feet?

Sent by Ada | 1:15 AM | 4-23-2008

More idiotic then the articles are the conclusions from a number of posters. The article lacks any rational scientific thought. Eric asked if any of us walk in untreated sewage? Think, dog, cat and birds. Search hookworms and cutaneous larva migrans. Think, MRSA and tetnus.

Most foot ills are from wearing the wrong shoes for your foot type and activity. There are plenty of specialty shoes stores employing pedorthists who take 2-3 weeks of classes and then stand in shoe stores with doctor-like white coats. Don't be fooled. Run, if you can, to a real doctor for cures, after a real exam and real diagnosis. You only have 2 feet and they have to last a lifetime. Don't disrespect them.

Sent by Robert | 1:55 AM | 4-23-2008

Trish,

First, if pediatricians knew anything about children's foot development, we would all have better feet. The truth is that pediatricians are finally reading the scientific literature from podiatrists. Second, as for all the weird Nike shoes, yes, they spent $$$$ to bring them to market, but as soon as these abominations hit the street, doctors offices began to fill with foot, ankle, and especially Achilles injuries directly linked to these shoes. Nike is best at marketing trends, as we have all seen. (Remember Air Jordans, etc.?) Finally, I don't believe most of these posts. I think they are part of a right-wing plot to give us very sore feet, forcing us to drive, at $4/G where ever we want to go. As for those of you who feel you need to suffer in order to be a good person, I wish all the best, but advise you to keep your doctor's number in your PDA. Oh, wait, don't PDAs make your brain weak?

Sent by FleetofFeet | 2:31 AM | 4-23-2008

I'm barefoot for eleven years and I'll never wear footwear again. Feet are a lot tougher than people think; in eleven years of going barefoot I get a tiny splinter about once a year, I've never had a cut. Just in case I do get an injury I keep my tetanus (not 'tetnus', mr I-know-so-much-about-science-but-can't-spell -tetanus) vaccine up to date. Fortunately tetanus has had a vaccine since the 1920's and there have been no known cases in a vaccinated person in my country. Besides, you can catch T from other injuries than barefoot ones; I'd recommend anyone who's active outdoors (including gardening) and/or around animals (including pets) to keep their vaccination up to date. I would even if I never put a bare toe on the ground!

As for parasites, the hookworm has not been a serious problem in the US South since modern plumbing has replaced the outhouses, and never was a serious problem in cooler climates. The cutaneous larva migrans only spreads in warm climates as well; I'll encounter neither where I live, same for many of the people posting here.

As for other bacteria and diseases, we're at greater risk of picking them up through our hands than our feet. Our skin is made to keep pathogens out; the dirt on bare soles may be more visible, but unless we lick our toes or prop our feet up on the dinner table, there is very little risk. With our hands we touch things that many other people touch -door knobs, railings, chairs, etc- and then are more likely to transfer those germs to our face and/or food so they can enter our bodies. The dirt may be less visible but that doesn't mean it's not there.

As for frostbite, hot pavement or working in a foundry barefoot; shoes can have their use as tools. We wear gloves when it's well below freezing, we wear oven mitts when handling a hot dish, we use gloves when doing very heavy physical work with our hands. But people do not walk around with gloves when shopping, when walking through an office building, when going to the movies... These arguments are *no* reason why most people wear shoes from early morning until late at night, with moderate temperatures, in conditions with only a very occasional hazard. Also when it comes to temperatures the limits may be further apart than you'd think; I've been barefoot for hours in snowy conditions (in freezing weather I always take footwear along in my bag just in case I do get numb toes, but I haven't needed to put it on for several winters), and think of the aboriginals who walk the desert barefoot.

Sent by Myranya | 5:36 AM | 4-23-2008

It's true, all shoes interfere with our natural way of walking, and walking barefoot is less exhausting. So my standard mode of life is barefoot, and shoes are similar to gloves, hats or other optional items: they are only needed for certain specific circumstances, such as protection against extreme coldness, against injury in harsh conditions, or to comply with society's expectations. For the latter I'm still waiting for truly elegant shoes that are at the same flexible enough (similar to the vivo barefoot) AND come in my size (47) .... hard to find something like this.

(Note that standard city conditions don't require shoes for me. I've also walked barefoot in New York City, where it's a pleasure in most parts, except for a few areas towards western Manhattan which aren't all that clean ...)

If we all respected our feet, we would make the cities barefoot-friendlier and keep them cleaner .....

Sent by unci | 6:23 AM | 4-23-2008

Has this guy considered that some people with age don't have padding on the bottoms of their feet anymore. Also, chemo can cause foot syndrone. I have both problems and have changed shoes four times this morning. And, God forbid that I even attempt to walk barefooted!

Sent by Pauline Moore | 7:48 AM | 4-23-2008

Yeah, you can't go barefoot! What if you end up walking on red hot pokers! Or come across a patch of dry ice! And everyone know 99% of the earth is covered with worm infested feces! Shoes are absolutely neccessary...you should even wear them in bed and the bathtub.

Freaking idiots. Nothing like tossing some extremes in the mix to dispute the normal. We should all be encased in stainless steel sheething just in case a rhinocerous bumps us with his horn too.

Sent by Thomas Mobley | 10:03 AM | 4-23-2008

Want your feet to feel like you are walking barefoot?...go to www.happyfeet.com...

Sent by Jane | 10:35 AM | 4-23-2008

Actually, there are ALREADY plenty of great alternatives beside these Vivo's this guy is hawking...Earth Shoes [yes, back on the market] and Birkenstock SHOES as well as Birkenstock sandals really relieved my foot and leg and back problems

Sent by Brian | 10:48 AM | 4-23-2008

Myranya, great post! I go barefoot whenever I can, and when I'm teaching HS, I usually wear light moccasins with the footbed removed. They're as close as I can get to going barefoot.

I'm 46, and I've had plantar fasciitis 5 times since I was 23, from running in nice fancy modern running shoes. I've been running barefoot for the last 3 years (except in winter, when I wear the lightest shoes I can find) and my feet are strong and healthy. I'm sure I'll never get plantar fasciitis again, because my feet are now strong. I've run as far as 7.5 miles on asphalt, with no troubles at all.

No, this isn't for everybody, but any podiatrist would probably tell me that if I've had plantar fasciitis 5 times, then my feet are abnormal, and I will always need to wear shoes with prescription orthotics. And they would be wrong.

The comparison to wearing clothes is silly. If wearing clothes made us more prone to a wide variety of illnesses, then yes, I would say that we should wear fewer clothes. But there is no such evidence--clothes are purely a social phenomenon, or they're for keeping us warm. Don't they even teach basic critical thinking skills in schools anymore? Or just here in Wisconsin schools? ;)

Sent by Kelly | 11:03 AM | 4-23-2008

i dont understand why vivo cost 140 bucks if there is nothing in them.

Sent by shane | 3:06 PM | 4-23-2008

I'm intrigued by the article. Thanks to Dave Scott for some actual tips on foxwalking. Can anyone else give specifics on barefoot walking techniques, strengthening excercises etc.? I'm 23 and I can't stand up without arch support for more than 5 minutes, and I don't want to be addicted to orthotics for the rest of my life.

Sent by Kaitlin | 7:45 PM | 4-23-2008

what a dumb report. waste of time. everyone wear shoes when outside. deal with it.

Sent by Frank Conn | 11:18 PM | 4-23-2008

lol, chuckle - come up to the Arctic - you'll love walking barefoot ;)

but maybe you'd like to try "Masai-footware" - this is no ad!!

Sent by usippel | 5:42 AM | 4-24-2008

So much anxiety about broken glass......where do you all live? I go barefoot much of the time and hardly ever encounter broken glass. And when I do--pay close attention here--I DON'T STEP IN IT! Problem solved.

Sent by Chris | 11:58 AM | 4-24-2008

Fitflops are the way to go check them out at brownesbeauty.com

Sent by nikki mallon | 2:15 PM | 4-24-2008

As a naturopathic doctor, I see many patients with chronic foot problems that just do not exist in the unshod or lightly-shod world. If you want to see lots of good research, look up articles by a podiatrist named William Rossi. He goes into great detail as to exactly how shoes hurt the feet as I do with my patients. I also do not tell my patients to walk barefoot in the steet or in the cold. We work to find shoes that work for their feet that are flat, wide, and flexible--basically to get out of the way of your perfectly-designed feet. There are of course times when people need protection. For those people talking about walking in the snow, I would suggest mukluks. They are flat, flexible, wide, and warmer than any boot you have ever worn.
Trying to explain all the ways shoes harm your feet in a five-minute interview is ludricrous just as it is on a post like this.
As for people saying that this is not an important topic, you have not thought this through. There are LOTS of people out there who cannot walk well because of foot pain therefore they cannot get exercise therefore their physical and mental health quickly degenerates. Some of the worst things in this life are not those that kill us but make living miserable.

Sent by Glenn Ingram, Jr, ND | 6:47 PM | 4-24-2008

i think we should not wear shoes!!!
They are the devils work they make me feel weird they make me feel like a pot of squash on a saturday morning with love Richard Peck

Sent by BoBo | 1:04 PM | 4-25-2008

Yeah, a lot of people have somehow determined that if you walk barefoot sometimes, you have to walk narefoot all the time. An all-or-nothing argument just makes no sense. You can prefer barefooting but still wear shoes when you need to (in cold snow, or if you're ever in a foundry for whatever reason). Although, I have gone barefoot in snow, and I survived the experience (with all ten toes!).

I almost wish I could debate these knee-jerk anti-evolutionists, but it would be wildly off-topic, and experience tells me you're probably not going to comvince them of anything because they're very often just too blind (or dense). These people can be hilarious, if you let them. But that's neither here nor there.

Go barefoot!

Sent by A different Chuck | 3:07 PM | 4-26-2008

I've been wearing Vivo Barefoot shoes and Vibram Fivefingers for the past couple of years. They are both expensive, but very well made. There are various cheaper flat thin-soled shoes, and its my guess that there will be more such shoes available as demand increases.

There are so many misconceptions (and anger) in so many of the posts above that I can hardly think where to start. Let me just address one, something discussed by the author of the original New York Magazine article.

When you walk barefoot, or walk in near barefoot shoes, you naturally adapt your gait to the lack of padding and a more flexible sole. You roll forward off your heel more quickly, place more weight on your mid-foot, and push off with your toes. You are, actually, walking more lightly, which means less stress on the joints. There is research that confirms this.

The potential benefits are as relevant when walking on unforgiving pavement as they are on any other surface. Once adapted, you will likely find walking this way comfortable and enjoyable.

Sent by Brian NYC | 12:12 AM | 4-27-2008

I have just read ALL of the comments on this page. My eyes are tired, but my feet feel great. I am 54 and plan to spend the rest of my life as barefoot as possible. I thank the author for his NY Mag article and I thank NPR for the insight I have gained from the other posters on this blog.

Still can't figure out why so many people get so riled up if I or someone else decides to toss out our shoes. Live and let live. Be shod or shod-free.

Lighten up....I look forward to moving around without the additional weight of my old clodhoppers. Peace.

Sent by Pablo | 9:18 AM | 4-27-2008

On this barefoot discussion... don't conform to style, to desperation, or to industry-set economics. Use common sense... and don't spend a lifetime trying to make the foot fit the shoe, rather than the shoe fit the foot!

I'm a 56-year-old woman. My feet measure 8 1/2 or 9, but are very wide... comparable to a man's shoe width of EEEEEE or greater. As a young child, I couldn't wear just any pair of shoes... because of my wide feet. After a time, the local Buster Brown store could no longer fit me, and my parents really couldn't find shoes that fit me properly. When that happened, my mother even took me to the Massachussetts footwear factories and explored getting custom-made footwear (forty-five years ago she was told the cost was $200 to have a custom last made, and $75 for each pair of shoes made from that last... well beyond my parents' ability to afford, especially since I was still growing and the shoe and the original last would not serve for long).

As a teenage girl, I had to wear "boy's" sneakers for gym (at that time NOT fashionable at all--I was made fun of unmercifully), but I had to wear the sneakers in order to participate in required gym classes. I couldn't dance at my prom in the only suitable LOOKING shoes I could find to jam my feet into (and they were special order, and expensive). My first pair of shoes for my first job were very expensive triple E leather pumps with low heels... and my feet were bloody after one day standing and walking around at work in them!

Every pair of shoes I'd squeeeeeeze into and walk in would be painful, and always the leather would eventually stretch and run over the sole and I'd wear holes in the sides of my shoes (cardboard to the rescue!).

Shoe salespeople always tried to make my feet fit in shoes by using longer sizes, but that only meant a little more space available as my foot bones squeezed together. Even extra-depth walking shoes were too narrow, and I walked gingerly, stiffly, and unnaturally, which contributed, I feel, to an incident where I sustained a very painful, top-of-the-foot hairline fracture when I stepped back on a new sidewalk's slope for a wheelchair cut-in. The kicker? Hearing the unsolicited comment about my bunions from the doctor I saw at the ER: "Those are the worst bunions I have ever seen!"

After that physically and emotionally painful experience, I gave up wearing shoes... except for occasions like a funeral or wedding (for which I wear still uncomfortable closed shoes or some kind of sandal for the brief period of time attending the event).

Shoe widths are apparently no longer measured AAA, AA, B, C, D, E, EE, EEE, etc., at least with shoes sold in most generalized retail shoe places, malls, shoe departments, and catalogs. Everything is made overseas. Manufacturers cutting costs have changed the sizing available. Fewer widths are offered... M (medium)predominantly, and some W (wide) and WW (presumably a little wider) seem to be the extent of widths available on the shelf and in the catalogs for women. C'mon. One-size width does NOT fit all, trust me... just as one length does not fit all. And the manufacturers' pretensions and the public's acceptance that three widths fit all do not translate to healthy feet. What are we to do when we can't walk with our feet, but we can't walk with them either?

Just a few years ago, after a period of unemployment, I wanted to work and needed to work, and had to return to wearing shoes that were painful (it seems I had to either wear shoes in pain or be sanctioned financially for not attending the job search properly attired). Later, during a period of disability I suffered, contributed to but not directly relating to my feet, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation tried to help and arranged to have shoes "made" for me that would be more acceptable by businesses interviewing me for jobs. The "molded" shoes... were the kiss of death to style, lol, but supposedly kind to one's feet. The special firm (one that regularly oversees the creation of special orthotics and such) made casts of my feet but had the order made who knows where (for economy, perhaps?). The result was inept, ugly, and uncomfortable... like a straitjacket... and I was supposed to wear the shoes constantly until they were "broken in." I did, and they rubbed and pinched and made my feet ache, and the inside and orthotics got stained from the bleeding the shoes caused my feet! The soles were too narrow, forcing spread over. There was tight seaming right across the balls of the feet and my bunions, and flexing my foot was painful. The shoe backs were loose across the heels, and the shoe was too high all around, rubbing and giving me blisters. After I gave the professional firm three tries at "adjusting" the shoes (in which they balked at remaking them... and just did small adjustments and let me "get used to them," I refused to go back. The last adjustments were that they had someone stick shoe trees into the shoes to stretch them and put ghastly "bumps" into the leather... and in totally the wrong places. What a waste!

I wear men's flip flops now for the most part. Summer AND winter. And, yes, strangers on the street ask me, "Aren't your feet cold???!!!" I tell them no, as long as I keep my feet relatively dry and don't stay out long when the temperature is extreme. I even wore simple white leather flip flops topped with white leather rosettes for my own wedding not long ago! I'm not going to conform any more.

Don't let shoewear cripple you! Wear what's comfortable. Try and find flexible soles, but with arch support. Ditch the high heels. Make sure the toe box is roomy enough so your tootsies are not cramped or overlapping. Get the right length and the right width for YOU, if you can find it. Spend more... or a lot less... but make your feet happy. Try comfortable sandals, or even flip flops if need be. Or go barefoot!

Listen to your feet. Do what you have to. Exercise carefully. If you can't do a lot of walking because of problems with your feet or your gait or your weight, try swimming! Love your body and treat it right. Flex those soles and wiggle those toes! And marry someone who gives great foot massages, like I did, lol.

Sent by JMM | 4:16 PM | 5-3-2008

Shoes need to provide cushioning and protection from the outside environment. They are not casts in any way!!The heel lifts or elevated heels relax the calf muscle that are tight in many people. High heels accentuate the female form by causing the hips to be angled backward and the chest to be thrown forward.

Sent by john f waller md | 11:24 AM | 5-7-2008

Back when I was growing up and sprained my ankles no doctor put a brace on the ankle to allow the ligaments and tendons to heal correctly so now I have "weak ankles". I'd be lost without my Red Wings!

Sent by Ann | 11:43 AM | 5-18-2008

I don't think people who disagree with the article find naked feet offensive. The article simply lacks evidence and it recommends one shoe (based on the wild conjectures of the author). To me that's advertisement, not journalism. It makes the article pretty much useless. It is sad to see this kind of shoddy journalism on NPR...

And, btw, not much in our bodies is perfect. The way evolution works, it tinkers around until something that works for the purpose is found. The eye works pretty well but it's far from perfect (read about the blind spot). The brain is a "klunge" - something that works pretty well for what it's used but really not all that pretty. Incidentally, to me that's the biggest argument against the design bs: If we were designed, things would be perfect.

Sent by Rachel | 12:49 PM | 5-18-2008

Going barefoot sounds Great, especially at the seashore (Pacific Ocean). I used to do it lots. But now I have peripheral neuropathy (damaged nerves) in my feet and hands. Can't go barefoot. The Clark family shoe sounds a good idea. Is it available for a stateside person like me?

Sent by Rita Sokolow | 4:20 PM | 5-18-2008

Anyone raised in the South could have told you that barefoot is better than shoes. I was born with the flattest feet ever, but I could run and play all day barefoot. From May 1 (the day my mom would let us go outside barefoot) until October we played outside and in barefoot. Mom insisted that I wear shoes if we left our neighborhood, but after I could drive myself, I distinctly remember driving barefoot (I think it's against the law now), going down town to the postoffice and then to the swimming pool all with no shoes. I had sandals; I just didn't wear them much.
In college I was in marching band. We had two hour rehearsals and my flat feet cringed in my shoes. I found out that if I marched barefoot my feet didn't hurt. I would march from the band room to the practice field over asphalt and then the two hours on the field. I did this until it got to cold to be out (usually sometime in October) without shoes.
I wear MBT shoes. They are the best thing I have found. They are also the most expensive shoes I have ever worn. I am 55 & overweight now and have arthritis in my feet. If I wear the MBTs two or three times a week, I have no arthritis pain in my feet. I just can't afford more than one pair and can't bring myself to wear them with skirts. Nope, I don't sell shoes. I teach music in a public school and am on my feet a lot. I wear shoes outside all the time now (getting old, I guess), but the minute I'm inside our house, I take the shoes off. Until I discovered the MBT shoes, I had a pair of fuzzy slippers I kept at school. The kids loved them, but the MBTs are better.

Sent by Cynthia Buehling | 8:57 PM | 5-18-2008

I knew as soon as I saw the title, that this guy was selling shoes. Anyone remember 'Earth shoes'? Alarmingly, they are still being sold. MTB trainers sent me to the podiatrist's. In some countries, people would kill for shoes to protect their feet. Humans began to make shoes for this reason. Read some reviews for these shoes. They're not good.

Sent by Ellen | 11:48 AM | 5-19-2008

To him who has had the experience, no explanation is necessary. To him who has not, none is possible.

Barefoot 4 life!!!

Sent by Amber Mowery | 4:02 PM | 5-19-2008

When I was a child, my family used to joke that they just needed to get the highway department to come pave my feet at the beginning of the summer and I was good to go! I still go barefoot as much as possible, wearing footgear only to combat cold and extreme surfaces, or when I have to ("No shirt, no shoes, no service..."), and then I usually wear sandals. However, I really would love to find someone who makes shoes to fit my (7.5 E) feet for a reasonable price. I am planning to spend two weeks hiking in the Costa Rican rainforest this summer and can't find a pair of lightweight hiking boots that don't just kill me. I'm not really looking for suggestions, the friend who emailed the article to me commented, "but you've always known this..."

Sent by Jenny | 7:43 PM | 5-19-2008

There is another article on the problems associated with shoes, it was called "Shoes are the enemy" in "New York" magazine a few weeks ago. It was reprinted in "The Week" May 9 issue. It refers to the same Clarke shoes, but includes references to the scientific studies that kicked off the MBT and the Vivo. In "Athletic Footwear: Unsafe Due to Perceptual Illusions", published in a 1991 issue of :Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" it was explained that wearers of expensive running shoes that are promoted as having additional features that protect are injured more frequently than runners wearing inexpensive shoes (costing less than $40) According to another study, people in expensive running shoes were twice as likely to suffer and injury as people who went running in hard soled shoes. There are also good graphics in the articles showing why cushioning the heel and restricting movement are a problem.

Sent by Doug Mason | 9:03 PM | 5-19-2008

I haven't read all the responses but so many are negative. Have any of you actually read the long New York Magazine article that this piece is based on?

Sent by clivia | 4:58 PM | 5-20-2008

The article is a fairly fluff advertisement. The guy did not even go into any studies about the effects of shoes on feet, OR the lack of shoes on feet! So here goes!
We do not use common sense as a rule. Most people THINK the way they were TAUGHT to think, which is to NOT think at all. We grow up thinking that there is something wrong with us from birth! "Put your clothes back on Tommy" "Put your shoes back on Tommy" "Because I SAID SO TOMMY BRYANT!!" So we do. We're taught that we should be ashamed of our bodies to the point of a sickness. But watch a little child that cannot talk good yet. The first thing they do when the parent places shoes on them? They come right back off! Every wonder why? It's because of something all of creation has---instinct! Birds have it, bears has it, your pet has it. All know instinctively when something is not right! The difference is, they use theirs, we try to stifle ours. So back to common sense? Well name me one animal anywhere on the planet that is born with shoes on! No? We are the ONLY species that think we need something more than what we were born with. I've never seen an elephant that thought they needed shoes, or clothing for that matter. We have every thing we need to survive on this planet when we are born, except skills! Even a leopard needs to be taught to hunt. But they are born with the necessary tools to do so. Every animal on the earth walks barefoot INCLUDING About 70% of all HUMANS! I've talked to people in Africa, India and other parts of the world, that we, as good meaning Americans try to send shoes to. An African lady told me "When they show up and give out the shoes, we wear them for a day or two until they leave, and we throw them into the trash!" They try to be kind to the thoughtful people that bring the shoes, and not hurt their feelings. But they were not asked if they wanted the shoes---We just assume that everybody HAS to have shoes!! Why you'll get sick from being barefoot! Don't you know any better?! The reason some people here have an aversion to bare feet, is because their parents and society taught them to! We believe what we are told even if it's wrong! You need shoes to keep from walking in something that will hurt you. If you step in crap, you'll die from it! However actual Medical research studies and tests show that the exact opposite is true. Take athletes foot for example. No person that always goes barefoot gets it. ONLY people who wear shoes gets it! Why? Because the bacteria grows in a DAMP environment (Like sweaty shoes and socks!) Bare feet are dry and bacteria growth is slowed to a crawl! Ever had or seen anyone that has ingrown toenails? Again, caused by shoes. Several wanted to know what damage shoes are doing to our feet? A lot! People that never wear shoes has a wider foot, because the shoes cramp the foot, eventually even causing the little toe to curl under and or lay sideways. Look at the Aboriginal child's feet from Australia! Their feet are wide, and their toes are straight. The curve of the toes are rounded, and the curve is very slight, not sharp! Your foot is supposed to be like your hand. If you lay your hand flat on a table, your little finger also lies flat and straight. your little toe is supposed to also. But wearing shoes crushes the bones together, and your muscles atrophy and now you rely on the shoe for support-because your muscles no longer can. When you walk, your foot doesn't hit the ground naturally and it causes our legs to hurt and our knees to wear out. When you run with even the finest set of running shoes, your foot lands incorrectly and your back hurts from the jarring effect. Eventually your back starts to hurt more often because your spine is thrown out of alignment.
A few facts: The AMA issued a statement on CNN this year that studies show that elderly people who have arthritis in the knees, should not wear shoes, as it makes the arthritis worse!
MOST pediatricians are now telling parents to NOT put shoes on their children till at least age 4 (some as late as 6) because the feet do not form correctly. Studies show that children who are subjected to wearing shoes before this time has a much greater chance of back problems when they reach adulthood!
Want to know more? Check out www.barefooters.org and go to the section on health. There you will find a full regalia of real medical studies and reports on the effects to the species of footwear.

Sent by David Greene | 2:07 PM | 5-23-2008

Hey Marc Crownover,

I have contracted hookworm of the feet, face, body etc... but no one in the medical practice will help me as yet - they said I am too pretty and have no visible signs of it yet - said come back when my skin is broken and I'm almost dead ... do you or anyone know much about this and where I can get treatment - right away - I am in soooo much pain - my dog got better treatment than me ... terra_myst21@yahoo.com

Sent by terrs | 9:14 PM | 7-4-2008

If I walk around my house barefoot, within 1 hour my knees and arches are hurting. If I wear my Nike 180s with my arch supports added, I am fine for about 6 hours of standing. I have an extreemly high arch that must be supported or I am in pain, so this article is just one perspective, not "the answer."

Sent by Bonnie | 3:38 AM | 7-17-2008