Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sidenote: Shoes

It's a pretty well-understood fact in the Caveman community that shoes do more harm than good. (If you do a search on Marks Daily Apple with the keyword "shoes," you will get a truckload of results. (To save some time so you can continue reading my post you could just read this and this)).

Shoes are not part of the human anatomy, and even less a part of human history than agriculture. It wasn't until the mass production of shoe-making material in the mid-20th century that most of the world began wearing shoes. For the most part, we have been without them.

The first wearers of shoes were those who had the material resources, or the wealth, to afford them. Naturally, because those who are wealthy must be right, shoes became a necessary item similar to Coach bags.

For those of you who think it's insane to not wear shoes -- socially you are correct. You will look like a weirdo not wearing shoes in most of the developed world (no one in Uganda cares). Note: No offense to Uganda, you were the first African country to come to mind.

Another interesting facet about shoes is that they are the cause of the ailment listed as "flatfeet." The human foot was never meant to be encased in a supportive structure. We also know that the human body is highly adaptive and likes to conserve energy where not needed.

Point? The foot, which has now been supported by shoes for your whole life, loses it's strength because the shoe does the work. Why would the foot become strong if your shoe is supporting you?

This could be seen as an argument for the shoe as it helps support your foot, but your foot only needs support because of the shoe. Catch 22 anyone?

It wouldn't be fair to shoes if I didn't talk briefly on why they are good. Even the evilest of things can sometimes have a purpose.

Among all things, they have a protective sole. You will not hurt your foot by stepping on something sharp. Now, I actually believe if you went barefoot your whole life that your foot would be really fucking strong and calloused like a mother-fucker -- which means most things that bother you now while barefoot wouldn't even come up on your radar. Unfortunately, in our modern day, there are way too many things that are lying around that could be considered problematic even for the most extreme of all feet. Screws, broken glass, and other sharp objects would most likely still tear their way through.

Solution? Barefoot Alternatives. Note: there are more alternatives than listed in that post, but it is a great starting point.

The only other positive thing about shoes is that "everyone where's em, dude," which means that if you're the only barefoot person at a co-ed frat party, you might get strange looks (or they might all be too drunk regardless).

I compromise. I go barefoot when I can, which for me is a twenty-minute walk to my gym and back, when I play ultimate Frisbee or other sports on a surface that my feet can bare, and when I'm walking around my house. In general, if it's safe and socially acceptable I will go barefoot. Note: My definition of "socially acceptable" is most likely way wider than yours.


Naturally, if you fucked up your foot doing something stupid (which is against the Laws), you may be required to wear a shoe for support because your foot cannot do it itself. In this case, I recommend trying to re-strengthen your feet by walking or swimming or whatever you can do, but don't ever stay in the pain cave. If you have to shoe it, shoe it.

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