Your shoes suck

Pax Arcana

By this time next year, expect to see an awful lot of white people walking around gentrifying urban areas totally barefoot.

That’s because, according to this article in New York Magazine, there is a growing body of evidence that shoes — all shoes — are bad for human feet. They’re so bad, in fact, that they’re destroying the perfect human walking mechanism that took millions of years to evolve or something:

“Natural gait is biomechanically impossible for any shoe-wearing person,” wrote Dr. William A. Rossi in a 1999 article in Podiatry Management. “It took 4 million years to develop our unique human foot and our consequent distinctive form of gait, a remarkable feat of bioengineering. Yet, in only a few thousand years, and with one carelessly designed instrument, our shoes, we have warped the pure anatomical form of human gait, obstructing its engineering efficiency, afflicting it with strains and stresses and denying it its natural grace of form and ease of movement head to foot.” In other words: Feet good. Shoes bad.

Pictured: The official Internettin’ shoe of Pax Arcana

Especially high heels, which over time shorten ladies’ tendons, according to the article. Sometimes the tendons get so truncated that women find they can only be comfortable in high heels. Their feet have become too warped to function naturally.

Okay, but what about a good pair of athletic shoes?

Okay, but what about a good pair of athletic shoes? After all, they swaddle your foot in padding to protect you from the unforgiving concrete. But that padding? That’s no good for you either. Consider a paper titled “Athletic Footwear: Unsafe Due to Perceptual Illusions,” published in a 1991 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. “Wearers of expensive running shoes that are promoted as having additional features that protect (e.g., more cushioning, ‘pronation correction’) are injured significantly more frequently than runners wearing inexpensive shoes (costing less than $40).” According to another study, people in expensive cushioned running shoes were twice as likely to suffer an injury—31.9 injuries per 1,000 kilometers, as compared with 14.3—than were people who went running in hard-soled shoes.

Reporter Adam Sternbergh says few shoe company executives are buying into the biomechanical advantages of bare feet. One who does is Galahad Clark, scion of the C&J Clark shoe company, whom Sternbergh introduces with the following insanely awesome lead-in:

Galahad Clark never intended to get into the shoe business, let alone the anti-shoe business. And he likely never would have, if it weren’t for the Wu-Tang Clan.

Clark — along with Wu-Tang — is among the forefathers of a new movement to create shoes with almost no padding on the soles, to force your feet back into doing what they were meant to do. By extension, he is also nothing to fuck with.

You Walk Wrong [New York Magazine]



Filed under science

2 responses to “Your shoes suck

  1. fatherscott

    Adidas tried to apply this to their shoes like ten years ago with their “feet you wear” campaign. I remember Antoine Walker sponsored one of the shoes. Anyway, the soles were shaped more like your foot is, ideally to be in line with (I think) what some of this article is saying.

  2. That comment was well-thought-out and well-researched. I commend you.

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