I recently got a pair of Vibram Five Fingers Sprints, shoes that are supposed to help me run faster and in a way that softens the impact on my knees. I got them mainly because they make my feet look like a gecko’s:
Photo: Lewis & Clark College.
The New York Times discusses the value of barefoot running in this week’s Sunday Magazine. The verdict is that any benefits are specious, which to me sounds like the same scientific reasoning that questions the value of things like losing weight through diet and exercise, breast feeding, and trees. I’ll call it the science of inconvenience.
In fact, running (barefoot, since presumably shoes came after fire) probably developed out of our need (desire) to eat meat. Over time, instead of climbing up trees, Homo erectus acquired the endurance needed to outpace the scavengers, run down prey, and eventually keep up with the other big hunters (e.g. cheetahs: 65/mph). Like our ancient ancestors, I started on four legs but eventually learned to run on two towards tasty things.