One of the more famous barefooters, Dr. Daniel Howell, is a professor
at Liberty University. Here is an article from the Liberty Champion that highlights the barefoot running club that has arisen there. For once, we get a he said/she said article in which the barefooter gets the last word instead of an uninformed podiatrist.
Here’s a portion where they quote Dr. Howell:
Yet the American Podiatric Medical Association refuses to endorse barefoot running because there is not enough research to prove it is good for runners.
Howell finds the organization’s refusal ridiculous.
“(There is) zero, zero, zero research that says running shoes are good for you,” Howell said.
In July of 2010, he released a book that demonstrated this.
“The Barefoot Book: 50 Great Reasons to Kick Off Your Shoes” outlined the negative effects of wearing shoes on the human body.
Here’s the part that caught my eye, though:
Even at Liberty, there is hostility toward kicking off your shoes.
On April 5, all resident assistants were instructed in an email to make the following announcement in hall meeting:
“Students, please remember that shoes must be worn in academic buildings at all times according to the Liberty Way Dress Code. Any student found in non-compliance will be subject to reprimands.”
Former president of the TOMS Shoes club at Liberty, Lauren Edwards said last year the club was not allowed to officially hold the annual One Day Without Shoes (ODWS) event to raise awareness for the people in the world who cannot afford shoes.
Most universities have not yet jumped on the “you have to wear shoes all the time” bandwagon, and bare feet are still allowed in classes the way they were in the 1960s and 1970s (with the exception of certain lab classes where there really is a safety concern). Yet Liberty University has their ban.
I don’t think that’s a reflection that they’ve bought into barefooting myths. I think it’s a reflection that for Liberty University, “liberty” means doing just what they want you to do and thinking just what they want you to think. They are, after all, an evangelical school. But one wonders why they don’t take Exodus 3:5 more to heart:
I find it interesting that their dress code is pretty much locked into the 1950s, what they might consider the golden age before the turmoil of the 1960s really did start the march towards much more liberty in this country for so many previously excluded people. It actually reminds me of the Amish, who pretty much got locked into the times and technology of their own founding.
Of course, there is a really big difference: during the time of the founding of the Amish, bare feet were ok: