About My Work

The wonder of  the bare foot

on naturally deposited ground


1 -The bare foot interacting with naturally deposited ground is the condition humans optimized in terms of safe mobility through natural selection over nearly 300,000 years as hunter-gatherers. Humans retain these adaptations that largely operate through behavior mediated via plantar skin sensory feedback.

2 -Footwear appear recently in the human story mainly as a expression of an ancient aesthetic tradition of body art through foot decoration, with nearly all  examples exacting a cost in terms of efficient mobility and health. Inadequate sensory feedback resulting from placing an interface between plantar surface and support surface results in sub-optimal plantar sensory feedback as well as frontal plane foot movement which destabilizes. This results in acute and chronic overloading of foot structures. Further injuries result from footwear impaired balance and dysfunctional gait. It has recently been found that footwear induced inadequate plantar load re-distribution when weight-bearing results in discomfort that humans avoid  through becoming sedentary. 

3 -Social norms in Renaissance Europe encouraged all social classes to wear shoes for the first time in human history. Consequently Renaissance Europeans were the first population to become sedentary. This sedentary lifestyle spread through the norms requiring universal footwear use advanced through colonization and cultural imperialism.

4 - Humans are not biologically sedentary, therefore they prefer weight-bearing over sitting. Footwear use is the environmental constraint on weight-bearing that caused humans to become sedentary.

5 - This new information helps to explain an array of presently poorly understood contemporary health issues. Mitigation of the health consequences of sedentary behavior can be better addressed through knowing its cause. Further, the recent origin of sedentary behavior indicates that humans are poorly adapted to maintaining the semi-recumbent posture intrinsic to a sedentary lifestyle. This may explain common problems of distal colon motility. For example the distal colon distention caused by inadequate gravitational aid to distal colon motility caused by the sedentary lifestyle may account for the present near universal symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome,  diverticula formation and eventual diverticulitis. Further, this website identifies obesity as not inherent to humans, but rather a consequence of attenuated energy utilization from reduced weight-bearing time.

6 - Gait disturbances caused by footwear are addressed in this website. Excessive stride length caused by footwear may for patellar tracking disorders such as patella dislocation, chondromalacia patella and  patellofemoral pain disorder. Poor sensory feedback provided by footwear accounts for falls and ankle spraining.

This website provides access to my original publications, puts it into accessible form for both researchers and non-scientists with the goal of stimulating advancement of research in this area.