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Don't fear those calluses, though. New research has revealed that foot calluses — thickened skin that forms naturally when one walks barefoot — have evolved to protect the feet and provide for comfortable walking in perhaps ways that shoes can't match.
Unlike shoes, foot calluses offer protection without compromising sensitivity or gait, according to a study published today (June 26) online in the journal Nature. Shoes, in contrast, reduce sensitivity in the foot and alter the way that the impact forces transfer from the foot to joints higher up the leg.
Researchers - Institutes - United - States - Germany
The researchers — from institutes in the United States, Germany and Africa — stressed that their findings don't demonstrate that walking barefoot is healthier than walking in shoes. At its core, the study is about human evolution.
A new study examined how the effects of foot calluses compared with those of shoes. Above, the foot of a person who typically wears shoes (left) versus the foot of a barefoot walker.
Fact - Barefoot - Barefoot - Walking - Shoes
Yet the fact that we have evolved to walk barefoot, and that barefoot walking is mechanically different from walking in shoes, may imply that going barefoot can impart certain long-term health benefits worth investigating, the researchers said.
For most of human's 200,000-year existence, we walked barefoot. The oldest discovered footwear dates to about 8,000 years ago, although there is indirect evidence of sandals and moccasins tens of thousands of years before this, the researchers said. Cushioned shoes are even more recent – only about 300 years old.
Calluses - Solution - Foot - Lieberman - Team
Because calluses are the evolutionary solution to protecting the foot, Lieberman's team set out to assess how these formations might differ from shoes in maintaining grounding and comfort. Their study examined the foot calluses of more than 100 adults, the majority from Kenya. About half of the subjects walked barefoot most of the time, and half mostly wore...
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