Feet are made for walking and running without the dubious aid of shoes. Overall, Iíve found barefoot running to be much gentler on the joints. This surprises people. But itís not so much the bare feet as the technique that is the game-changer. If you take anything away from this website it should be this: Landing on your heel is what is damaging. Landing on your forefoot (and spreading your toes) allows your foot to do the job it was designed for, namely cushioning the impact.
There is an organizing principle here. Evolution via natural selection is a process of optimization. So why would our feet, optimized over 3.5 million years for barefoot walking, work better in shoes? As Leonardo da Vinci remarked, our feet are an engineering wonder: 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles and tendons and ligaments galore. In addition to its structural features, the foot provides rich sensory feedback that enables us transport ourselves over all kinds of terrain.
The arch itself is a marvel of strength and flexibility. Like all well-designed arches, the arch of your foot becomes stronger under compression. But unlike the stones of a static Roman-style arch, the segments of your foot's arch are held flexibly in place by a network of ligaments and tendons -- a suspension bridge par excellence.
Swaddle that wonder of engineering, wrap it up? Why would you want to do that?!! Maybe briefly, for effect, like the artist Christo might do with the Golden Gate Bridge, but during that time itís wrapped up it ceases to be fully functional. Think about what shoes do to subtract from what feet have to offer!