Most of our feet are deformed by pre-school age; 85% from a study in Japan, 76% from Austria, and 600,000 forefoot surgeries are performed in USA every year because of shoes, informs us of the prevalence of this epidemic. 80% of women have some sort of foot deformity. Bunions are not hereditary. Most adults experience foot pain. Knee osteoarthritis has doubled since the invention of cushioned footwear 50 years ago. Back pain is more prevalent than ever.
2 million years of evolution created the perfect foot, and almost all (99%) of us are born with the blueprints for perfect feet. A few hundred years of narrow toe boxes, heels, and 50 years of cushioning has not changed those blueprints. Yet our modern lives, with less need to move in order to survive, and cushioned supportive restrictive shoes, have led us to a foot and health epidemic.
As for the fact we love cushioning underfoot, think for a minute. Marketing misleads our understanding of comfort. True comfort has to be healthy. The most comfortable foot is a strong mobile foot which can withstand the things life throws at it. A comforted and cushioned foot is weak and maladapted to life, susceptible to injury and pathology. therefore, is it really comfortable to wear a ‘comfortable’ shoe? Does it really make sense to walk on hard surfaces in soft wobbly shoes? Cushioned shoes weaken our feet, making us more injury-prone in the first place, and encourage the running patterns that increase impact forces and make injury more likely. Running injuries may be more about how we move, than what’s underfoot.