New York/Footprint

Feet on the street in New York — © Brian Rose

It’s been about five years since I discovered that my creaky knees–the result of years of playground basketball–felt better when I went without shoes–at least at home. Eventually, I came across thin soled shoes without arch support or cushioning, that were designed to allow for natural barefoot-like movement with a little protection. These were fairly conventional looking shoes unlike the foot gloves, Vibram FiveFingers, that have since become my standard gear (when not barefoot) for everything–walking, running, even lugging around my view camera equipment.

The knee pain is long gone, and I have acquired a lighter step, and much stronger, durable, feet and ankles. I’ve become so used to feeling the ground underfoot, that going back to padded shoes would be like robbing myself of a basic element of sensory perception.

So, where’s the scientific proof for all this? There are a number of recent studies that support the concept of barefoot running and walking, but, persuasive or not, I am going mostly by instinct and my own experience. For me, it’s been a game changer.

You Walk Wrong (New York Magazine)