// 23 April 2008

After the, umm, lively debate following Samara’s More on shoes piece, well, how could I not mention these two links?

First, is an interesting take on the old adage "walk a mile in my shoes": The student newspaper of the college of New Jersey reports on last weekend’s event "in which males volunteered to wear high heels in a variety of styles to literally ‘walk a mile in her shoes’ and promote an understanding of the difficult issue of rape in a creative way".

Hannah Pagan, a co-organiser of the mile-long walk, said that she was ‘looking for a way to not only to deal with acts of sexual violence committed against three people she is very close to, but to spread awareness about the issue to prevent others from experiencing sexual violence’.

And another of the participants said, "I think it is important that not just women are campaigning. It is good that men and women are working together to bring about awareness."

The second link is to quite a long article over at New York Magazine, which tells us that "We’re Wrecking Our Feet With Every Step We Take"

"Shoes are bad. I don’t just mean stiletto heels, or cowboy boots, or tottering espadrilles, or any of the other fairly obvious foot-torture devices into which we wincingly jam our feet. I mean all shoes. Shoes hurt your feet. They change how you walk. In fact, your feet—your poor, tender, abused, ignored, maligned, misunderstood feet—are getting trounced in a war that’s been raging for roughly a thousand years: the battle of shoes versus feet."

180 modern humans from three different population groups (Sotho, Zulu, and European), were examined, comparing their feet to one another’s, as well as to the feet of 2,000-year-old skeletons. The researchers concluded that, prior to the invention of shoes, people had healthier feet. Among the modern subjects, the Zulu population, which often goes barefoot, had the healthiest feet while the Europeans, i.e., the habitual shoe-wearers—had the unhealthiest.

"Tread softly for you tread on my dreams." …In those shoes?!

Comments From You

Jess // Posted 23 April 2008 at 11:37 am

I’ve got some shoes which are meant to mimic walking barefoot (with a kevlar sole to protect against urban street detritus). They are reasonably comfortable, and do prompt you to walk a bit differently.

But I can’t wear them for that long.

I wonder – shoe wearing populations are probably highly correlated to populations that walk on hard, unyielding surfaces such as concrete, tarmac, etc. Could that also have something to do with it?

Samara // Posted 23 April 2008 at 1:01 pm

I think what type of shoes a person finds comfortable or uncomfortable varies enormously from individual to individual. I cannot wear flat shoes AT ALL – they do horrid things to my ankles and cut the backs of my heels to shreds. I have to have either trainers or something with at least a slight heel. I also know a few women who teeter in enormously high heels every day of their lives and claim that they are perfectly comfortable and I really don’t know how they do it. As far as I’m concerned, massively high heels are for special occasions, not for negotiating the Tube at 8 o’clock in the morning…

BrevisMus // Posted 23 April 2008 at 2:52 pm

I’m with Jess – I’d imagine that the more a population wears shoes, the harder the surfaces are on which they are walking.

I was surprised this wasn’t really covered in the article, given that this data (barefoot people have healthier feet) may well also ‘prove’ that people who don’t walk on tarmac every day have healthier feet. Is it the shoes or the tarmac that’s causing the problem?

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