If it wasn't for shoes, we would walk way differently.
Think about how you walk when barefoot. The foot lands almost flat. It rolls through the step, and the toes push off.
Humans walked this way for millennia. Research suggests this style puts less stress on the knees.
Early shoes wrapped the foot in a piece of soft leather or cloth, but it still allowed for humans to walk naturally.
Modern shoes changed all this. With the creation of thicker soles, humans changed how they walked.
We started to take longer strides and impact heel-first. Since we don't roll through the step, the foot stops being as flexible.
Plus, shoes limit our toes' movement. Without free toes, the leg lifts the foot off the ground.
A 2007 study compared how people walk in shoes vs. barefoot. They found there was 12% less of an impact on the knee when the walker was barefoot.
Of course, barefoot walking isn't always feasible. But it is a good argument to find time to be barefoot. Your feet will thank you.
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- Science & Technology