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Why we should lose our shoes

NOVEMBER 6, 2011
By Daniel Smith ’13, Contributing Writer

On any given day you may struggle with time management, negotiating traffic, or making a nice dish of Le Cordon Bleu. Yet according to Daniel Howell, “Walking is the most complicated thing you do on a daily basis.”

In a talk Thursday sponsored by the Environmental Action Group, the author and associate professor at Liberty University advocated the concept of “living barefoot.” He made various points about the anatomical reasoning for losing your shoes and debunked several myths about walking barefoot.

The “Barefoot Professor” showed how shoes adversely alter the structure of your foot.  They damage joints and impact your posture. He said the shoe is a cast that immobilizes your foot, reduces blood flow and atrophies the muscles. Shoes, he said, change the way we stand, walk and run.

The author of The Barefoot Book also debunked numerous myths about walking barefoot. Despite what the general public may think, he said, it is not illegal to be barefoot in public, or to drive barefoot.

Living barefoot isn’t against any health codes and, according to the man who has run roughly “3,000 miles and never stepped on glass,” it isn’t dangerous, either.

Still, Howell acknowledged that some people might consider being barefoot unprofessional, unseemly and unfashionable. He praised countries like New Zealand where it is commonplace for people to go barefoot—as the professor put it, “like wearing a pair of shorts or blue jeans.” This sort of acceptance is what Howell strives for in his attempt to spread awareness about the benefits of living barefoot, as well as the debilitating costs of wearing shoes.

Last updated November 7, 2011
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