Walk a mile in my shoes? No way, researchers say—even comfortable shoes warp how we walk and damage our bodies. "With one carelessly designed instrument, our shoes, we have warped the pure anatomical form of human gait," one expert wrote. So Brooklyn scribe Adam Sternbergh walks a day in no shoes, and writes in New York that cavemen had it right.
All of shoes’ underlying goals—taking pressure off heels, propping up arches, keep toes from rolling—run contrary to what feet apparently need. Shoes also stress knees, force harder landings and induce lifelong skeletal and muscular problems. We can’t really go barefoot in this day and age, says Sternbergh, but we can wear simpler shoes and try to get back in touch with the ground.