Humans may be built for day-long hunts that could take a pack 100 miles, all without shoes, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. “We didn’t evolve as weight lifters, yoga gurus, or swimmers,” says barefoot runner Christopher McDougall, whose book Born to Run explores the hypothesis. “We evolved as long-distance runners.” And some scientists concur, citing adaptations that make humans superior even to primates when it comes to hunting.
The ability to sweat, independent breathing rate, and anatomy of the foot all contribute to the “running man hypothesis.” So too does the fact that at extreme distances, humans of all ages and genders perform remarkably consistently. McDougall says injury-riddled modern runners would benefit particularly by ditching shoes. “You can’t over-pronate, overtrain, or overstride,” he says. “The bare foot is the best coach of all.”