These Shoes Are Killing Me! (Repost from Freakonomics)

These Shoes Are Killing Me! (Repost from Freakonomics)

We were thrilled this week to come across a recent podcast by Freakonomics that pretty much nailed our philosophy on footwear.

The episode explores the history of shoes and how they evolved into modern foot casings with heavy padding, tight toe boxes and motion control technology. It also asks how these modern features affect the ways our feet operate, and why they have become the accepted norm.

SPOILER: modern conventional shoes may cause more problems than they correct.

Experts consulted include the following:

  • Dr. Irene Davis: professor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and director of Spaulding National Running Center
  • Dr. Daniel Lieberman: professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard
  • Dr. Howard Osterman: Podiatrist for Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics

You can listen to the entire podcast here:

You can also read a transcript on the Freakonomics website.

Here's a quick excerpt:

DAVIS: As shoes in general, the earliest shoes were not stupid inventions at all. They were they were there to protect the bottom of our foot, perhaps when it was cold out or we had to go over rough terrain. just to protect our foot, very much like most of the other clothing we wear. What is stupid is that we have then started to add all of this technology to the shoe. We’re adding cushioning when our muscles can do that cushioning. We’re adding motion control when we can control our feet with the muscles that we have in all of the movements that we have. By doing that we’re actually setting our feet back.

LIEBERMAN: The basic foot we all inherited is probably a pretty good foot. To me the null hypothesis is that that natural barefoot or minimal shoe is probably healthier than a more conventional shoe unless you can prove otherwise.

OSTERMAN: People do things that aren’t necessarily the best thing for them, [but] what looks good with what they’re wearing at the time. Getting over the fashion aspect of it is a very difficult thing for a lot of people.

We hope you enjoy it!


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  1. Margaret Thomas
    I really love your shoes. I hope to be buying another pair after my foot heals from my surgery.. I would love for them to have good solid sole so I can walk out in the cold weather and wet weather if needed. Please keep making them.
    1. Elf Martin
      Thanks Margaret! Rest assured, we don't intend to stop anytime soon :)
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