Shoes are bad for your feet? Vindicating the barefoot set

Discuss

88 Responses to “Shoes are bad for your feet? Vindicating the barefoot set”

  1. Tom says:

    It’s funny that an article that leads with a claim that shoes are “inherently” bad for your feet goes on to try to sell you a better way to make those inherently bad things.

    Shoes are more than just soles, too: they provide lateral support for the foot, which is one of the things that helps our feet last seventy+ years in reasonably good shape.

    It’s good to see a little science injected into the process, but the shoe industry, like all fashion industries, needs a steady stream of “innovations” to justify the ridiculous prices they charge. Sometimes these “innovations” come from scientists, who may be perfectly well-meaning in their attempts to get the public better footwear. But our feet are all pretty similar, and if the global footwear industry followed the science they would all make shoes that were pretty much the same. That’s death to a fashion industry.

    So expect to see a surge of “proper” shoe designs if this meme gets picked up, followed by a slow decline until a few years from now there is some new “innovation” cherry-picked from some other plausible source, and a torrent of criticism about how stupid everyone is for ever having believed that shoes needed to more like bare feet.

  2. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Everyone has a favorite shoe and they’re all right. For a total of 3 1/2 years I sold men’s shoes at two high end department stores. Everything from Doc Martins to Prada. Rockport to Gucci. Probably 25% of my customers were brand specific and could not be sold any other label. The most partisan were fans of Ecco and Merrill. Most brands have general consistency in shape and construction and wearers will find that different styles within a collection will fit similarly. Other brands like Prada and Kenneth Cole have no consistency and fit is a crapshoot. I’m narrowish and light, so Ferragamo works great for me but is tight on many people. The only hikers I can wear all day are, amazingly, a clunky pair of Prada outdoor boots that ought by rights to be awful. All of my Prada dress shoes are attractive foot torture devices due to last shapes that pay scant attention to human anatomy.
    The human body is not a machine. It’s flexible and adaptable. I slightly mis-fit shoe is not like a mis-sized piston that will tear an engine to pieces. Within reason, the body adjusts to what’s on the feet.

  3. Kristin says:

    I’ve maintained for years that my feet feel more comfortable in really thin flip-flops or flexible ballet flats to the skepticism of my family (I’ve never had the knee and back problems they have suffered from). Finally vindication! And no more guilt trips that cheap shoes are necessarily bad for my feet.

  4. Chinpokomon says:

    I like mine. I don’t where them every day, but there are opportunities where they get plenty of miles. I bought mine with a strap, but for the way I use them, I’d buy the pair without the strap now.

  5. Torchwood says:

    1stly
    Takuan how does that make any sense at all…..

    2ndly
    Damn those look like gorilla feet, something that Cornelius from poa would wear when kicking back before a fire.

    T

  6. fltndboat says:

    Redwings forever. Good for climbing trees, kicking crouch, and stomping toes.

  7. nikkesen says:

    I am an advocate of barefeet. I loathe even socks and I for one welcome our bare-footed overlords.

  8. Takuan says:

    heard some ladies shoot saline because their heel collagen has totally collapsed,vanished… I was thinking a whole sole of deadened 3 mm layer.

    Happiest feet I had were 6 hours in the sea, 6 in sand, 8 in bed and the rest straddling pegs in thin sandals with the hot summer air blowin’ by….

    we were evolved to be beach apes

  9. Phos.... says:

    Count me in as a dedicated barefotter.

    My arches have gained strength, I never have any concomitant aches attributable to shoes, the only time I ever have foot odor is when I wear shoes.

    My feet are tough enough to walk a couple miles around the neighborhood a few nights a week without abrasion. And I do it year round, except when it’s below 50°F and wet, or the macadam is just too hot.

    Then, I dip into my NewBalance cross trainers, one of the few mass-market sneakers that are available with width selection for my big ol’, EEE boats.

  10. Kyle Armbruster says:

    Sweet! I’m going to get some of those Vibram Five Fingers and ride around on my recumbent bicycle!

  11. squirrelgirl says:

    i don’t understand. those are all clearly photoshopped… unless those shoes come with built-in hair and toenails.

  12. webmonkees says:

    Sandals have to count as ‘almost barefoot’ as in you can enter stores wearing them. I get a cheap $9 pair that lasts a season, the cork and materials take the abuse and my feet don’t generate toxic fumes. I tried the fancy Birkenstickershocks but they didn’t last any longer, at the cost of 10 of my cheapo clones. Maybe I got the wrong ones, but Birken can send me a durable pair gratis and I’ll change my tune if they last >year.

  13. Halloween Jack says:

    You know what the real problem is? We moved out of the trees. We shouldn’t be walking on our feet–we should have thumbs instead of big toes! Think of how cool it would be to have four hands; videogaming would be a much richer experience. Oh, and a prehensile tail would be great, too.

  14. Bobdotcom says:

    My co-workers give me strange looks for walking around the office in my sock feet, but dammit, I hate wearing shoes. The only time I put them on at the office is to go to the restroom. Otherwise, they’ll just have to deal with my sock feet.

  15. Jerril says:

    I’m firmly on the shoe side. Walking barefoot hurts my feet, my ankles, my calves, and my knees, to say nothing of my back.

    That’s not because the human foot in general is defective, that’s because MY feet are defective. I’d probably do just fine if you could strap some kind of arch support to my foot without affecting the ball or heel…

    Although with all the joint damage I’d suffered I’d probably still need ankle straps and knee straps – cumulative scar tissue in joints really screws up the mechanics of the things and they don’t work as intended any more.

  16. absolutetrust says:

    Add Nike to the list of companies that have produced a barefoot shoe.

    Nike’s version, called the ‘Free,’ is the only Nike shoe made that I get evangelically excited to preach about. It’s the most comfortable shoe I’ve ever worn, and I’ve worn a lot of Nikes (I once worked for the company, and grew up with a parent that worked for them).

    It caused a stir within Nike when it was released because it contradicts the rest of Nike’s footwear theory. Almost an admission of the fallibility of the rest of their footwear lines.

    Nike released the Free as a trainer. Not designed to be worn as a street shoe, but designed to be trained in to make your feet stronger. I bought my first pair to train in, but they were so comfortable that I didn’t take them off when I was done running in them.

    I’ve worn through three pairs of them as street shoes.

    The barefoot model makes sense to me. Shoes with too much support and cushioning are like a crutch. If you wear them all the time, your body will become dependent on them.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I’ve gone from barefoot whenever I could (including a week of desert camping) to the other extreme of wearing heavy duty steel plated work boots all the time (even when dressed up semi-formally!). I’ve found a happy medium in wearing a lightweight mid-height hiking boot, the ASOLO FSN95. After years of heavy boots I had some strong muscles, but my feet had gotten to the point where I could not walk barefoot except briefly indoors.

  18. sonny p fontaine says:

    I’ve been bare foot for a large part of my life. shoes work for me about as well as wrist watches. They both kinda self destruct quickly. I’ve also done alot of walking so my feet are pretty massive. it creeps people out when i pick things up with my toes.

  19. Fnarf says:

    I just wish I could find a pair of shoes that would get rid of this goddamn Morton’s neuroma that’s been killing me for the past YEAR. Stupid Group Health doctors wouldn’t recognize a clue if it was stuck to their face, and I’ve tried every pad and insert known to man.

    Wouldn’t get me in one of those Vibram thingies, though. A person has to have SOME dignity.

    The most comfortable shoes are usually expensive, rock-hard men’s dress shoes, like Florsheims or Allen Edmonds, which, like good hiking boots, cut your feet to ribbons until they’re broken in, but after that you don’t ever want to take them off.

  20. dobbie606 says:

    Y’all have a point, but the real issue is our body’s Misalignment, brought about by trauma:bruises,sprains,birth,etc
    Structural Integration,aka,Rolfing,is the cure,along with being barefoot as much as possible.
    Shoe styles or orthopaedics only address the symptom.
    As a ret.mechanic&motorbike racer,roofer,i was unable to walk ten paces for 30yrs: the recipe of ten sessions of Rolfing eliminated the constant migraines,whole body pain& if that wasn’t enough,those flat feet of mine ain’t flat& when you walk on wet grass you can see that they track Straight now as well!
    How many of You have a foot that points in or out?
    That’s the misalignment,wch results in pain&premature joint wear:just like in a car’s front end. And the scary thing is,just as in architecture, our entire body becomes wonky in an attempt to right itself,so we’re affected from head to toe:arm or shoulder,hip,knee pains.
    We don’t need a hip specialist or a knee surgeon etc, we simply require a re-alignment.
    HTH

  21. Takuan says:

    could you strangle a man to death with your feet?

  22. WordyGrrl says:

    It amuses me to see so many responses on shoe issues (as compared with silence on political ones). Used to work for a shoe store and learned waaay too much about the musculature and biology of the foot. For example:

    #1 issue: Plantar Fascitis? You DON’T need $300 orthotics. Spend the money (more than $40) to get a pair of shoes with built-in arch supports. Or else spend the $10 on a pair of Dr Scholl’s Arch Supports, available at Walmart or other discount department stores.

    #2 issue: “ugly toes” Your toes need to spread out to support your weight naturally. Save the pointy-toe dress up shoes for occasional dressy use, not every day. Boxy-toe sneakers for casual use are good for you!

    I could go on but…

  23. blipmusic says:

    Is there anything else than the five fingers and the Terra Plana out there when it comes to “sock-like-shoes”? Might have a bit of a problem getting hold on either (here in Sweden) and I’d really like something I could use for walking the city as well.

    My favourite pair of shoes ever is a pair of “Brothers” boots from Camper. Looks the part and has very thin soles. For being a “full” shoe they felt like a second skin.

    The Nike Free pair I had broke where the fabric meets the sole in the heel much to early so I’m not trying those again but they sure felt nice…

    Regarding cushioning, what about the approach Superfeet inlay soles use (www.superfeet.com)? Instead of putting in extra soft bits they support your heel from both sides to cushion itself up so to speak. Have one pair in my hiking boots and another for everyday use. Love them but I’ll continue the search for the ultimate “sock-shoe”.

  24. sonny p fontaine says:

    i am not a liberty to discuss that TAKUAN. nor do i have inclination to disortate on the principles of and diferences in pain and pleasure. possibly another time.

  25. Tenn says:

    @30 Bitman,
    What you say sounds entirely reasonable. Since I was little I’ve always, always, always walked on the balls of my bare feet, because it’s given me more balance, doesn’t hurt when I run / am on bad ground, etc. My family used to tease and call me ballerina or say it won’t help me grow, but I’ve never broken the habit, and I very rarely hurt my feet walking bare foot, even when on glass strewn gravel.

    I love being bare foot. In lieu of bare feet, though, I go to the exact opposite of the spectrum; combat boots. I want a pair of these shoes though- I’m immune to hot sand and pavement, but I’d like to try hiking on REALLY bad ground with these on!

  26. Takuan says:

    I’ll bring the coca butter

  27. Jordan M says:

    I’m not sure I have a normal gait when in flip flops. Running is certainly very difficult in them since you have to compress your toes to keep them on. Still, I love them.

  28. sonny p fontaine says:

    then it’s date. maybe some shea butter too. and rose oil.

  29. BdgBill says:

    Walking barefoot is gross and the more you do it the bigger and more monkey-like your feet will become.

    I had to sit next to some hippy on the plane for four hours recently. Upon sitting down, he immediatly took off his sandals an put his disgusting, black soled, yellow toneailed feet up on the bulkhead wall for all to enjoy.

  30. ruth_dt says:

    @9 Squirrelgirl: You are looking at painted feet, not ‘shops. The shoes are further down the page

  31. Sister Y says:

    After wearing Vibram Five Fingers almost every day for over a year, even running in them sometimes on soft ground, I could almost certainly strangle a man with my bare feet. Seriously, your foot muscles get really buff. I love them – they’re like being a proper animal and having paws (my standard response to questions about them). So far they seem indestructable.

    That said, you have to deal with a lot of questions from fascinated onlookers, and you have to have extremely normal-shaped feet for them to fit properly. I have extremely normal-shaped feet, not skinny or fat, toes the regulation length, and VFF work for me. I kinda hate regular shoes.

  32. Elorin says:

    Amusement parks for your feet!

    http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/wellbeing/story/0,,2267873,00.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barefoot_park

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflexology_path

    I too go barefoot or in sock feet at work, often.

  33. Takuan says:

    ah, the old ninja jiki-tabi….

  34. Antinous says:

    As a yoga teacher, I see the barefoot students and I hear the shoe students. “Ow!” “I can’t balance!” “My legs are really tight – it must be genetic!” “I won’t be in class for three months – I broke my hip.” My barefoot 80 year olds could kick your ass. And, FYI, going barefoot doesn’t mean having gross feet. Barefooters might have dry cracked feet if they don’t take care of them. The shod have moldy, mildewy ones if they don’t take care of theirs.

  35. elsmiley says:

    You people are de-evolving. Are we not men? I will gladly destroy myself physically for the sake of style. It’s what being human is all about. I will wear my big heavy boots in the dead of summer, my posture, spine and orthopaedic health be damned. BB is becoming so damned suburban, domesticated and ex-frat-boy-who-wants-think-he’s-hip.

  36. sonny p fontaine says:

    See that’s just the thing FLTNDBOAT, I have been there, thus the pleasure pain thing. I shant say that i didn’t enjoy the visual, or the actual experience for that matter, so provst to you for that.I cleaned my recently aquired very old refrigerator today, I blame the 40 year old banana bread batter that I was sniffing. possibly caused some sort of seizure i suppose. who can tell these days?
    come to think of it, the whole thing may have been corrupted by a vaginal dentata experience completely unrelated to the topic at hand. Wait a minute, is this the penis thread or the foot thread? oh, right, got it.

  37. bytesmythe says:

    I was at the store about a year ago and tried on a Nike Free while leaving my other regular shoe on. After a few steps, the other shoe became so irritating I had to take it off and put on the other Nike. I wore nothing but the Nikes (except for going to a couple of funerals) until a few days ago when I got them extremely muddy and haven’t gotten around to washing them.

    I HATE regular shoes now. They feel so clunky and heavy. I ended up getting a pair of Vibram FFs today. They’re even better than the Nikes as far as “road feel” and gait correction are concerned. I still feel like I’m walking wrong, though, so I guess it will take a little more getting used to. I’ll probably end up getting some Terra Planas or Vivo Barefoots for “normal” looking shoes.

  38. help i cant comfirm my username themelonbread says:

    From all the incredulity at the idea of walking barefoot and at barefoot-style shoes that I see in these comments, I’d guess that 80% of commenters have not actually read the article.

    I know it’s really long, but read it people! At least so that you know what you’re talking about…

  39. hankypanky says:

    Those look a little crazy wouldn’t these topless sandals from http://poonzwear.com/ work better? I got a pair and they feel essentially like walking bear foot except after a while they mold to your feet and you’ve got a bit of cushioning but not enough to make you feel too different from walking bare footed.

  40. sonny p fontaine says:

    my great-grandmothers feet were permanently twisted and gnarled from wearing button up heeled kickers in her youth. it was worse then Chinese foot binding.

  41. doggo says:

    They say hiking barefoot is supposed to be awesome. I remain neutral, but check out this: http://www.barefooters.org/hikers/. Apparently your feet toughen up pretty quickly, and without massive callous formation.

    I’ma hafta get me a paira deez ‘brams do.

  42. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if anyone has tried Feelmax shoes?

    http://www.feelmax.com/

    Have used one pair myself for most of the Winter (inside, mind you), and am eagerly waiting to try them out outside (haven’t been able to, yet, due to persistent ankle injury).

  43. retchdog says:

    Interesting. A few months ago I bought for the first time a pair of shoes solely because they were visually appealing and maybe even “fashionable”.

    They told me that I should get some insoles for padding, but my EEEE foot fit perfectly without them. Nonetheless, after a few days of sore arch and heel, it was easily the most comfortable shoe I’ve ever had for city walking. Nice to see some support.

    Unfortunately I have to tone down my usage since being fashion shoes the soles are already wearing through. Maybe I’ll try this Vibram 5fingers thing.

    (I guess I should say that I’m male. I don’t know how it matters, but perhaps it’s relevant to the discussion? I’ve never worn women’s shoes.)

  44. jy says:

    If there is an activity that is hard on your feet its riding a skateboard. Over the years I have tried several types of shoes, from basketball style shoes promising support to Vans/Converse All Start which are canvas with a thin flat sole. My experience is that thin flat shoes allow your feet to work properly, absorbing impact and keeping you balanced. I have never had an injury in this style of shoe and inevitably hurt my heals and ankles in shoes claiming they offer support.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I really wanted to get a pair of the vibram fivefingers last year, but they don’t make 1/2 sizes. I went to a local store and tried on the size above and below, but met with disappointment. Smaller size- perfect in the heel, too tight in the toes. Larger size- perfect in the toes, way too loose in the heel. Even with the adjustable heel, they came to slipping off way too much, foreshadowing a raw heel and blisters. Hopefully, they’ll introduce 1/2 sizes in future.

  46. sonny p fontaine says:

    I understand apathy #67 but better citation and quotation marks would be the civilised thing to do in this case. A link would be just super. civilisation starts at home.

  47. Anonymous says:

    “They found, to their surprise, that the impact on the knees was 12 percent less when people walked barefoot than it was when people wore the padded shoes.”

    If you want to really reduce knee impact, have them walk barefoot on gravel — I’ll bet they step even more gingerly than when they’re walking barefoot on a normal surface.

    I’m not saying the “barefoot” results were necessarily due entirely to the tendency to step more lightly when barefoot, I’m just sayin’ …

  48. fltndboat says:

    This is very quiet input. Foot massage performed by trained , skilled hands can do wonders for your energy body. Look at some of the schematics that correlate the sole to areas of your body. As a trained practitioner I want to point out to the women that You have an auxiliary nerve path to your clit through each foot. In essence you have three clits. In a trusting environment you can enjoy orgasm tripled. Don’t tell anybody.

  49. somewhat apathetic says:

    I’m just copy/pasting my comment from NY Mag’s discussion:

    Great discussion. As a podiatrist, I had a few thoughts on the matter.

    the idea that the foot can sense the ground better and accomodate it better when bare is perfectly valid. This is an aspect of our proprioceptive systems at work. One will find playing the piano is easier wearing surgical gloves versus mittens.

    But- one would be well advised to consider certain factors.

    The average shoe wearer has had so much support and padding that his/her intrinsic foot muscles and ligaments are relatively weak and soft. If one doesn’t gradually ramp up their barefoot activity, one is asking for a world of pain.

    Our proprioception and joint mobility decrease with age. Ask a senior citizen if walking/standing barefoot is more comfortable/easier than with shoes. Depending on the person, shoes can be very therapeutic and necessary. (I wonder how many readers of NY Mag fit into this group?)

    Where can one realistically go barefoot? In medicine, there are a group of diagnoses which are referred to as R.S.I.’s- repetitive stress injuries. An example would be a typist who develops carpal tunnel syndrome. The overall concept is that human extremities are not really designed to repeat the exact same motion over and over again. Modern urban environments are very flat and concrete hard. Thus every step is almost exactly the same. One might note that although marathons in urban settings are easy to find, ultramarathons are almost always in natural settings. Most runners would find an ultramarathon on concrete or asphalt excruciating. Unfrozen and bikergrrl9 touched on a key point- the concept of the urban versus natural environment.

    Maybe what is called for is a paradigm shift. Instead of asking ourselves about shoes, maybe we should be talking about how to make healthy urban walking surfaces.

  50. devophill says:

    Who the hell does yoga with shoes on? That’s ridiculous.

  51. yachtboy says:

    This idea’s been circulating for a long while. My favorite science-y anti-shoe website: http://www.shoebusters.com/

    There’s also unshod.org and a whole pile of others.

  52. lord sukaton says:

    Barefoot is the way to walk! “Real” shoes always take away some of my sense of balance. The idea that the human body is somehow inherently defective, and needs to be constantly fixed or supported, is horribly wrong.

    …the only reason to wear shoes, IMHO, is winter. Hmmm… how well do those Vibrams protect you against the cold?

  53. sonny p fontaine says:

    FLTNDBOAT, I’ve gotten a visual on that and i’m not sure I like. For soo many reasons.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Eventually I’ll remember to register…

    Just ordered some Nike Frees online last night (the 7.0 trainers – The 5.0 which are even more of a barefoot experience, apparently, just would not fit in as workwear) and I eagerly await their arrival in about a month. Couldn’t resist a custom color scheme.

  55. Red Fury says:

    Two things:

    1. Who else is thinking of that episode of ‘Married…with Children’ where Al has a near-death experience, and comes back to invent God Shoes. Each toe had its own individual toebox.

    2. I thought that was why those wooden Dr. Scholl’s sandals were invented.

  56. sonny p fontaine says:

    yes, and much much more. I have to admit that I’m still pondering the possibilities.

  57. ornith says:

    @25: Trust me, if you lived in Philadelphia, you’d rapidly find a non-winter reason to wear shoes. You do not want to be walking around here barefoot. And in fact that reason was fundamentally true long before cities; there are parasites that get in through walking around barefoot in places other people have, erm, performed bodily functions, and a small cut on your feet opens you up to all sorts of lovely diseases. If you insist on going barefoot, you should also insist on tetanus shots.

    For that matter, what’s really unnatural is walking on concrete all the time. Running on concrete is even worse.

  58. arkizzle says:

    Takuan, I always wanted tabi when I was a kid.. for years.

    Never got em though, and I’d feel like a plonker getting them today.. ya know, now I’m “retired” from all that ninja business.

  59. catcubed says:

    You’ll have to pry my big bulky platform boots from my cold dead feet.

  60. Fran Taylor says:

    Bare feet are for bare ground. You need shoes to walk on manufactured surfaces. I love walking barefoot outside in the grass, but I gotta wear shoes on floors or pavement, otherwise my feet hurt.

  61. friedmandesigns says:

    Sister Y your comment about the vibram FF`s is aces – i`ve had mine about 3/4 of a year and they`ve done just awesome stuff for feet/ankle/toe muscles. seriously nifty..yes you have to `acclimatize` to them and the little FAQ that comes w/ says as much [ramp up your wearing gradually]..they`re junk if you`re considering winter wear or there`s any white stuff on the ground, probably just a bit more insulating than sandals if you`re thinking of donning in snowy climes – but so far for the summer/fall and now spring i`ve had them, i get a surprising energy from `feeling the ground` in ways i don`t in my hikers, dress shoes, sneakers, etc. still a bit hard to get on sometimes, getting pinky toe into each one, but that might be because years of shoes w/o decent toeboxes have caused the littlest piggies to slouch and curl [bought the FF`s in hopes of gradually offsetting that] – i ain`t shilling for the company, if they sound intriguing check out the options, sounds like there`s a few out there? i`ve never had footwear that caused me to think about the way i walk and posture and the whole bit like these do; you really notice your body`s line when walking/trotting in em…call me hippie [gasp!] but es pretty cool for getting the barefoot vibe. oh yeah and Tolkien-freaks get all drool-y and think they`re ‘hobbity`; don`t know if thats good/bad yet..word.

  62. Takuan says:

    when will I be able to get my surgically implanted retractable, venomous toe talons? For my land body I mean.

  63. Rick. says:

    I thought, “Hey…my extremely flat-footed wife might like these Vibram shoes Cory’s talking about!” Then I saw them and thought, “Hey, my wife would kill me if I made her wear those!”

  64. Jeff says:

    My personal experience is that my back does better when I wear a good walking/hiking shoe.

  65. bitman362 says:

    We are not meant to walk on our heels. We are designed to walk on the balls of our feet. That’s why we have a huge Achilles’ tendon and massive calf muscles. Walking on the balls of your feet provide cushioning and flexing at the heel through the Achilles’ tendon and calf muscle. People have less strain on their knees when they go barefoot because walking on their heels is a body-jarring experience, so they quickly start walking on the balls of their feet. Often times the heel never touches the floor. No other animal walks on their heels – its just not meant to be. Because we choose to walk on our heels, we need shoes to do the cushioning that we would normally get walking on the balls of our feet. The arch suffers because walking on our heels flattens out the arch, stretching it and causing pain and swelling. Walking on the ball of the foot allows the arch to keep its shape and support the ball to the heel properly.
    IMHO

  66. ThinkPositive says:

    It’s very important to remain active to avoid all kinds of health problems so we need to think about protecting our feet. Those Vibram Fivefingers shoes unfortunately look rather embarassing, but wearing thin-souled rubber pumps may do the same job. Best to go bare foot when practical and avoid pointed toes and high heels that build up problems.

  67. fltndboat says:

    #55 . Your visual is distorted. Helps if you have been there.

  68. glace neuf says:

    walking around barefoot for a while hurts my arches, whereas the right shoe, for me at least, seems to alleviate this pain. for any ladies in the house, my wife (who has RSDS in her feet) has recently purchases a few pairs of born sandals that treat her right!

  69. Anonymous says:

    I am sorry but feet are disgusting. Nobody else should have to have your disgusting grimy bare feet inflicted on them. No matter how bad your back is. Flip flops are bad enough.

  70. Antinous says:

    Who the hell does yoga with shoes on?

    I was referring to the other 23 hours of the day.

    I’d feel like a plonker getting them today

    Screw that. I wear them all the time. And I know that you don’t want to call me a plonker. What’s a plonker, precious?

  71. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Hanky Panky, I’m coming around to the idea that your link was more appropriate than I initially thought. If you’ll re-send it to me, I’ll restore it in your comment.

  72. microcars says:

    EARTH Shoes were supposed to address this issue too, what did I do with mine?

  73. Anonymous says:

    A guru once said,
    “If you wear shoeleather, the whole earth is covered with leather”
    (Ram Dass. “Remember, Be Here Now.” Albuquerque: Hanuman Foundation, 1971).

  74. Pipenta says:

    Bare ground isn’t always grass. And with the herbicide/pesticide/fertilizer cocktails on most lawns, shoes might be a healthier choice than bare feet.

    I like a good pair of hiking boots. I suppose one could get tough enough to lope over scree, but I’ll pass. Are these barefoot advocates hiking in Minnesota or Utah? Not every place has soft bouncy soil.

  75. cmannes says:

    Vivo Barefoot from Terra Plana.

    I own two pairs, wear them whenever I can, much better than any of my other shoes.

    http://www.terraplana.com/vivobarefoot.php

  76. umrain says:
    Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT) also makes shoes based on some similar sort of barefootednees principles, although they use some sort of special sole. I couldn’t tell you much about them other than that they seem terribly expensive, though.
  77. sazzamook says:

    These have to be the most fantabulous shoes I’ve ever seen!
    Do they ship to the UK? I have a student loan payment due into my bank account soon :D

  78. anthropomorphictoast says:

    I don’t really see the logic in paying $140 for sole-less shoes when I could buy a pair of flip-flops with no support whatsoever for $5.

  79. Chatzi says:

    to make a long story short I have a terrible lower back. the other day it was getting bad so i switched from flat adidas sambas to springy sauconys. my back got worse. the next day i switched back and it got better.
    i was just looking up info on support vs non-support and lo and behold boing boing to the rescue.

  80. cbernard says:

    Concrete wasn’t around when the foot was invented.

  81. sonny p fontaine says:

    I once cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man with no feet…seriously though, I’m from pennsylvania. I wear shoes as seldom as possible.

  82. Takuan says:

    why can’t we get saline injections in the soles of our feet and dispense with shoes altogether

  83. rogerg says:

    this is why I love my Converse All-Star High-tops! go Chuck Taylor!

  84. Anonymous says:

    Ha! Who said were supposed to walk? We’re hairless apes after all!

  85. Antinous says:

    Concrete wasn’t around when the foot was invented.

    That’s addressed in the article. Cushioning our heels impels us to slam our feet down much harder in order to get sufficient stimulation for balance. Your feet get more abuse from hard surfaces in shoes than barefoot.

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