Education on Barefoot
Shoes can wreck our feet. Dressing shoes are foot-killer.
Do you wear your shoes in or do they wear your feet in? Researchers from a university in Johannesburg, South Africa compared modern humans from different populations to the feet of 2,000-year-old skeletons and concluded that, before shoes, people had healthier, stronger feet [v]. Another study compared the feet of South African and German children and found those who regularly went barefoot had healthier feet (higher overall arches and straighter big toes) than the (European) shoe-wearers. The regularly barefoot also presented with fewer foot characteristics like flat feet and deformed big toes and bunions, as well as having more flexible, pliable feet [vi] [vii].
We think the evidence shoes that being barefoot as much as possible, or, for when this isn’t realistic, in minimalist shoes that interfere as little as possible in the foot´s natural movement, is better for us. It’s better for kids as they grow up, it's better for older people as they slow down And it´s better for the healthy, running-around types as well as those who are starting to suffer from reduced mobility.
Transitioning to barefoot is always best done slowly and steadily. Allow your feet time to wake up and reconnect, regenerate and re-wild. Think in terms of months for all the dormant muscles that don’t get used when feet are cooped up in excessively supportive, cushioned shoes.
Give it time. And welcome to a world of bare, happy feet.
[v] Zipfel B, Berger LR. Shod versus unshod: the emergence of forefoot pathology in modern humans? The Foot. December 2007. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232251119_Shod_versus_unshod_The_emergence_of_forefoot_pathology_in_modern_humans
[vi] Hollander K, de Villiers JE, Sehner S, et al. Growing-up (habitually) barefoot influences the development of foot and arch morphology in children and adolescents. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1):8079. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-07868-4#ref-CR4
[vii] Hollander K, van der Zwaard B, de Villiers JE, et al. The effects of growing up habitually barefoot on foot mechanics and motor performance in children and adolescents. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5010736/