Shoes are evil!

Well, I feel slightly vindicated now.  You see, as long as I’ve known him, my husband has given me a hard time about my shoe wearing habits (or lack thereof) and the condition of my feet.   I HATE shoes.  So I walk around barefoot as much as humanly possible.  When I do put on shoes they are either cute heels to go with an outfit or the flimsiest things I can get my hands on.  My husband, on the other hand, straps a pair of clodhoppers onto his feet before leaving the bedroom in the morning.  He has this wackjob crazypants notion that our feet should always be soft, callous free and most especially clean.  I know!  I married a lunatic.  You don’t have to tell me.

Well, it turns out that science is siding with me and my barefoot ways. There’s a long article in New Yorker Magazine called “You Walk Wrong“.  It’s all about the damage we are doing to ourselves, particularly our joints, by wearing shoes.  Any shoes at all.  And it turns out that the more supportive and padded the shoe is – the worse off you are.  One study found that people in expensive, cushioned running shoes had over twice as many injuries as those running in hard soled shoes.

The problem with shoes is that they remove a proper sense of connection with the ground, causing us to pound our feet in ways that we wouldn’t if we were able to feel them hitting the ground.  They also prevent the natural rolling motion of the foot which places additional strain on our joints.   I bet it also accounts for the fact that I rarely step on things on the floor and when I do, I rarely step on them hard enough to hurt.  My husband, OTOH, gets some little lego piece embedded into his foot every time he takes his shoes off.  Not wearing shoes probably creates a greater awareness of where you put your feet and what might be underfoot before you impale your foot with it.

There also appears to be a correlation between putting shoes on kids and them having flat feet.  So let their little toesies out!  Shoes are bad, bad, bad.  (Here’s a NYT article about kids and shoes.)

I’m so glad I read this.  I am in dire need of new workout shoes as I don’t think they’ll let you go on the elliptical machines at the Y barefoot.  There is nothing in this world that I hate more than gym shoes.  They make me feel like my feet are stuck to the floor.  I expect to try a lateral move and wind up on the ground like a cartoon character.  Now I know that I’m best off buying some cheap, flimsy, flat shoes rather than the cushy, padded monstrosities I thought I was going to have to get.  Really, I think that my hatred of gym shoes is probably about 40% of the reason I hate to exercise.  (Feeling like I’m suffocating makes up the other 60%.  I hate exercise almost as much as I hate shoes.)

So next time my husband tries to give me a hard time about my feet (which I have been cleaning and buffing everyday, thank you very much), I will smugly rest assured in my superior foot habits.  Nah!

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7 thoughts on “Shoes are evil!

  1. LOL! Maybe the obsession with clean, pretty feet is a black thing? My dh is the same way. He goes barefoot from the shower to the closet and that’s about it. He also tells me that as a child in Haiti, his parents made him wear hard shoes all the time. They weren’t rich — more like “merchant class” in as much as there was such a thing — but they could afford shoes. His mother claimed it was important to foot development, but dh thinks that was simply a rationalization. The real concern was that they not have the splayed-out toes that come with growing up without shoes, thus inviting the stigma of poverty. :o(

    I must admit that I wear shoes in the house most of the time too, but that’s only because my feet ache so much if I don’t, and it’s a relatively recent development. I never used to wear shoes in the house at all. (Maybe I ruined my feet by wearing soft supportive shoes all those years I was in retail, lol!)

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  2. I can’t go without shoes too long either – my legs start aching, my knees start hurting. It may have to do with the pronation (the arches look flat when I stand). You may need to have perfect arches to get away with barefootedness. Alas!

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  3. When I was first a college student I used sometimes to walk to school barefoot — on city streets. I still love the feeling of grass under my feet and never wear shoes in the house. dh wears big clunky Danskos even from the bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night — crazy — and noisy! I was gratified when my 6 yo son announced his intention to become a hippy and to not wear shoes to church — but perhaps he shouldn’t have chosen mid-February in NY to try this out (it was an above-freezing day, so don’t jump on me) — and he was also chagrined at the amused reactions of the churchgoers.

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  4. You said:
    “I am in dire need of new workout shoes as I don’t think they’ll let you go on the elliptical machines at the Y barefoot.”
    That is so sad that our society has come to that. A total shoe brainwashing that happened during the 1980s. Gyms that we went to during the 1970s and early 1980s had no problem with barefoot exercising. Many people exercised barefoot. Many of those big weightlifter and bodybuilder types did all those heavy weights barefoot when I was in college. (Look at Arnold during that time). No one made a big deal about it. And many of us went barefoot everywhere in the summer, stores, malls, anywhere we wanted to when not at work. And there were no problems whatsoever with our feet, and could walk on the hottest pavement and sharp objects did not bother us. We all knew what the article you talk about says. Our culture seems to have forgotten, and we need to re-learn all of this. Especially the current generation who grew up in a shoe-obsessed society and hardly go barefoot past their own bedrooms. They think flip flops are barefoot. Not even close.

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