About My Work

 
 
The wonder of  the bare foot
on naturally deposited ground


This website deals with the evolutionary adaptation by humans to safe weight-bearing and locomotion when the bare foot is in direct contact with a support surface. All humans populations were essentially barefoot until the European Renaissance when people of all social classes began wearing shoes for the first time in human history. Interfaces placed between the foot and support surfces of all types interfere with protective mechanisms inherent to humans that make locomotion safe.

As a consequence of footwear use Renaissance Europeans became the first group in human history to become sedentary - spending most wakeful hours sitting rather than weight-bearing, because footwear interfere with protective mechanisms that perserve the plantar skin. The profound health consequences of the change from weight-bearing to sedentary is an additional subject of this website.

Background: 

Circa 1980, I commenced research oriented at controlling the epidemic of “overuse” injuries associated with running. The modern running shoe was based on the biomechanists model of the human foot as inherently fragile thus needing protective packaging. I  dismissed this analysis because it was inconsistent with the evolutionary necessity of a durable foot allowing safe mobility, and the observation that shoes based on the packaging solution failed to protect.  I suspected that this injury susceptibility resulted from some aspect of modern life - perhaps shoes themselves.

 
Fellow investigators allowed me 15 years to build, totally on my own, the foundation of our understanding of this issue, as reported in 19 scientific papers - each revealing a puzzle piece. There is now general acceptance of my analysis which has be aided by confirmatory reports from various disciplines. Yet those 19 papers are as fresh and current as the day they were written.