Your Shoes Are The Problem

By Taylor Engstrom in
Published or Modified on
July 23, 2020

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What's the problem?

What if I told you there was something you were doing every single day that was affecting your health, your wealth, and your peace of mind? What if I told you that very same thing was something you willingly did every day? 

Want to know how to fix it? First step is to look down. Yep, it’s your shoes.

What’s wrong with your shoes? Well, depending on what you wear, and if you’re like 90% of Americans, there’s a lot of things.

Today’s shoes are a far cry from what our FEET were originally designed to do.

Our ancestors were barefoot in everything they did. They traversed across continents, over epic terrain like mountains and jungles, and through brutal weather conditions.

Example of epic terrain (credit: Unsplash)

Their feet carried them across dirt, sand, rock, forest floor, and through varying planes and natural surfaces. They hunted barefoot. They gathered barefoot. They played, they socialized, and they rested barefoot.

Not only were their feet a vehicle for our ancestors but they were a tool - that enabled them to interact with our world in the best possible ways.

How we evolved

Inevitably as we evolved as a species we created things to make our work more efficient and our lives more comfortable.

One of those things was of course, shoes. Shoes that would protect us from harmful weather. From unpredictable and often dangerous footing. From occasional accidents and falls.

The problem is that in doing so, we created for ourselves an inherently self-defeating tool. What might have began as a humble effort to protect ourselves from snow, sleet, and the occasional jagged rock face has morphed into something that is antithetical to our human potential.

What’s wrong with today's shoes

Today’s shoes are stiff, narrow, and uncompromising. They are all the things that our feet naturally evolved to not be like.

They stifle our feet’s natural expression of movement, blunt our feet’s natural defense mechanisms against the more unforgiving surfaces, and ultimately weaken the muscles in our feet that enable us to move, to bend, and to perform.

Not convinced? It’s understandable - today’s shoes are slick, durable, and most importantly, comfortable. You’re not going to part with them that easily.


Let’s start with width. As humans, our feet should naturally “splay” out for us to have a stable “foot position” and for our arches to function properly. This is at odds with how conventional shoes are designed, which taper into a point at the toes.

As babies, the widest part of our foot is the tip of our toes. Unfortunately, as you grow up and spend time in modern footwear, your feet inevitably adopt that shape, thus damaging your feet’s natural function (and often putting you in a world of hurt in the process)

Not quite natural feet, but a start. (credit: Unsplash)


Feet are naturally flexible and mobile. This flexibility allows us to walk, to run, to bend, and to contort our body into specific shapes so we may perform a certain action, or complete a certain task.

Today's materials, such as leather, rubber, foam and more, are not even close to as flexible as our feet naturally are. Even with time and use, they don't give at the level our feet demand in order to perform what they were meant to do.

In this stiffness, shoes restrict the natural flexibility of our feet. And remember, our feet are flexible for a reason. They need to change positions, and to adapt to new stimuli.

If the shoes are unable to do that, then the feet's ability to do that is stifled. And thus, ineffectual.


Most shoes today, from penny loafers and boat shoes to cowboy boots and basketball shoes, have a wealth of cushion underneath the insole of the shoe. Where some shoes can marginally benefit (think basketball shoes or hiking boots) many more have cushion out of sheer desire for comfort. It’s a false sense of security, however.

What inevitably begins in the pursuit of comfort leads to laziness, weakness, and ultimately, pain. When our feet aren’t challenged, they become soft and deteriorate. They tire quickly. They become chronically tight. They start to hurt.

Your bare feet, shockingly, don’t have cushion. They have natural cushion - the muscles that pad us from the ground. The foot alone has 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. 

Call to action

Now that you know the choice you make before you step out for the day, what can you do? 

Firstly, stay tuned for our next post, when we will cover the things you can do TODAY to begin fixing yourself and to live more in sync with your natural abilities.

Secondly, tell your friends. It's not too late for our feet!

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