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Why do we like flat shoes?
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John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Thread gone bad on 04/18/2012 11:11:47 MDT Print View

I have a B.S. in BS, and I stay at a Holiday Inn Express frequently.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Wow...this took off in a different direction on 04/18/2012 16:37:17 MDT Print View

Hi John

> Brannock device, unless that's the metal devise at the shoe store
That's it.


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Flat shoes on 04/18/2012 16:38:38 MDT Print View

Hi Kat

Loved it!!!!!
Does this also explain bikinis?


K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Flat shoes on 04/18/2012 17:30:04 MDT Print View

Hi Roger,
The Bikinis' role in assuring procreation is usually associated with other evolutionary traits; the monokini, on the other hand, seems to aid irregardless of other factors.
At least there seems to be some function and comfort associated with the garments.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re:Evolution and shoes on 04/18/2012 18:50:28 MDT Print View

First, an anecdotal observation from someone who spends as much time as possible going barefoot (even when running, or backpacking if the terrain allows it without slowing me down): I tend to strike more with my forefoot. I call this the 'tender-foot' walk even though I am not a tenderfoot, and this seems a sensible and natural way to walk barefoot on any terrain that is not perfectly smooth and soft. You will see Cody Lundin doing this a lot too, and he no doubt has really tough soles! But a forefoot strike would probably get pretty tiring to do for long days on the trail, so some protection for the foot allows more of a heel strike and longer distances at pace.

As for evolution, well, where to begin. As someone who is well past the age of reproduction, I can assure you that evolution really doesn't serve us well, as we can't pass on the genes for aging well. Our caveman friends probably did well to make it to 30-40 years, just long enough to breed and raise a family. Also, in evolutionary terms, humans branched off pretty recently from our ape ancestors, so to argue that evolution has had plenty of time to optimise homo-sapiens for anything at all doesn't make sense to me. Even in our ancestral environment, there was so much that could and did go wrong with our ancestors that to suggest we can't improve on nature's design for our well-being is something I strongly disagree with.

I'm not saying there is a right or wrong answer to flat shoes versus cushioned heel shoes. I would put this in the category of 'everyone is different' and do what works for you. As someone well past my reproductive years, I can assure you that one aspect of aging where evolution seems to particularly suck is that the fatty heel pad we all have in our youth, eventually thins, making the heels more sensitive to insults from the environment. As someone who has osteoarthritis in my ankle from a crushed ankle 20 years ago, I can also say that good shoe design is a god-send in that situation too. I'm pretty sure evolution didn't intend for my ancestors to even survive such a bad accident, much less be able to walk normally well into my older years. So in a waffly way, I'm all for going barefoot, and I'm all for comfortable modern footwear too, but none of this is thanks to nature's random genetic intervention in my ancestors gene pool IMHO.

And yes, even bare feet can blister, but I don't get blisters any more now that I figured out that, for me, wearing shoes too small (in length, width or depth) was the culprit. Shoes are tricky, and hiking shoes even more so, as you need to allow room for socks which are often thicker than you would normally wear, swelling of feet from just being on them for long hours, plus swelling from them being constantly wet, or hot, or that salty meal you ate the night before. Or 'that time of the month', or a million other things.

There is at least one good thing about being past my reproductive years...I no longer have to justify wearing ridiculous high-heeled footwear to catch a mate :)

Edited by retropump on 04/18/2012 18:51:13 MDT.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Why do we like flat shoes? on 04/18/2012 19:00:37 MDT Print View

For the past 12 months I have either gone bare feet, or worn Teva Zilch or Chuck Taylors. Hiking in Innov 310's. I haven't really read any of the pro-minimal footwear stuff. My feet just seem so much stronger now and when I occasionally wear a shoe with a large heel to toe drop it feels very unnatural. I don't know if I will try anything more minimal for hiking as I need a well lugged sole for NZ conditions, but I may try the X-Talon 212 if the toe box is OK.

Theron Rohr
(theronr) - F

Locale: Los Angeles, California
Re: Re:Evolution and shoes on 04/18/2012 19:35:42 MDT Print View

Well, I don't seem to be convincing anyone about the super efficiency of evolution! Oh, well.

I got interested in flat shoes after realizing that, while going uphill is probably a little easier, going downhill is worse with the slope of the shoe adding to the slope of the ground. Seemed pretty crazy and after experimenting with flat soled sandals and shoes I'm sold even for regular street shoes.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re:Evolution and shoes on 04/18/2012 20:33:39 MDT Print View

Hi Lynn

> in evolutionary terms, humans branched off pretty recently from our ape ancestors, so to
> argue that evolution has had plenty of time to optimise homo-sapiens for anything at all

Latest digs in South Africa suggest that cooking might go back more than 1 million years.
Homo erectus may go back 2 Myears or more, and about 3 Myears ago there were changes in the shape of the foot.
Enough time ...


Edited by rcaffin on 04/18/2012 21:20:44 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Why do we like flat shoes? on 04/18/2012 20:55:35 MDT Print View

We have done this many times...
Just one comment.
I noticed that in Nepal the lowest (poorest paid) kitchen hands had no shoes on or Flip Flops (rubber sandals)
The regular porters mostly had hand me down runners/trekking shoes (from previous customers)
The Sherpa all had boots , not runners BOOTS.
I don't think that our Sherpas were sponsored or otherwised paid to wera boots (yes, maybe brainwashed by American TV programmes...)
Anyway , carry on...

OK another comment...
If a 100m sprinter could go as fast without THOSE shoes as with, someone would do it.
( you would get more TV exposure that way. More TV exposure better sponsorship...)

A bit more since I am in the mood and I don't like conspiracy theories.. (yes I am a skeptic)

Apparently there is a great lack of understanding on what motivates many if not most athletes, and that is to win not to make a lot of money (as a priority) .
Or to put it another way if I could say to a runner " I will guarantee you an Olympic gold medal if you do not wear shoes but you will get no sponsorship whatsoever" I bet that at least half of them would jump at it...


Edited by Franco on 04/18/2012 21:41:12 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Why do we like flat shoes? on 04/19/2012 01:54:41 MDT Print View

@ Lynn,
Great to see you back. Lots of folks were wondering about you and hoping you were doing well.

@ Franco,
Although I have been advocating minimal shoes, for carrying large loads as the expedition porters carry, a good boot would be appropriate IMO.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Why do we like flat shoes?" on 04/19/2012 02:35:56 MDT Print View

yes true (except that our 3x Sherpa only had their day pack)

As I pointed out before the famous "barefoot runner" Zola Budd did run barefooted on the track however used running shoes on the road races
(so much for the sponsorship idea...)

"I have been advocating minimal shoes..."
me too, as a matter of fact I have a pair of Scarpa full leather boots that will look new for the rest of my life.
No theiy are not that good, I don't use them...


Hobbes W
(Hobbesatronic) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: re Heels on 04/19/2012 08:26:27 MDT Print View

@Daniel Smith "High heels were popular among men in the Victorian age. I'd actually guess that over all of history men have actually worn high heels more than women."

Yep - portrait of Louis XIV hanging @ the Getty:

Edited by Hobbesatronic on 04/19/2012 08:26:58 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: re Heels on 04/19/2012 09:19:18 MDT Print View

Don't forget liesure suits and heels during 80's disc fad/debacle :)