OK, after trashing The Huffington Post for this article with ridiculous statements about barefoot running, I have to do the opposite for the article they published today: Barefoot Shoes? The Primal Reason You Want to Take Off Your Shoes.
The article is by Mark Sisson, described as “former elite marathoner and triathlete, author of the best-selling health and fitness book, The Primal Blueprint.”
He notes how we evolved (and did just fine doing so) with bare feet, and goes on to note:
We’ve still got those same feet, but we don’t use them anymore. Instead, we cover them up. We wear shoes that alter the structure and function of our feet, and that weaken the myriad tendons, muscles, and ligaments through disuse. We strap on rubber soles that sever our proprioceptive connection with the ground and restrict our nervous system’s ability to subconsciously respond to changing environments and protect us from tripping or turning an ankle.
He also describes our favorite Philip Hoffman study, “Conclusions Drawn From a Comparative Study of the Feet of Barefooted and Shoe-Wearing People”.
His call? “Go barefoot as often as possible. It’s as simple as that.”
And for some of us, that is all the time. Admittedly, everybody cannot do that, and Sisson also acknowledges that. I’d add that one reason everybody cannot do that is nothing more than cultural expectations, and one of the things that the Society for Barefoot Living is doing is trying to change those expectations and make going barefoot more acceptable. Sixty years ago jeans were restricted to farmers, and then hippies or college students. But today jeans can be worn nearly everywhere. There is no reason the perception of bare feet cannot change the same way.
Sisson also includes a reasonable caveat:
As with any muscle you haven’t been using for an extended period of time, your feet are probably weak, and rushing into mile runs or two hours hikes in unprepared bare feet will be painful and potentially dangerous. Ease your way into it, especially if you’re habitually shod.
It is nice to see many of the arguments we have made over the years make it into more mainstream media, and that the barefooting movement is not just us barefooters talking amongst ourselves.