Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Skeptoid 185

Barefoot and fancy free

This week's "Skeptoid" was on the notion that going barefoot is healthier than wearing shoes. First, I was not aware this was much of an issue. However, I suspect this is more of a movement in temperate areas than in Pennsylvania.

Brian Dunning goes through his thorough research on going barefoot vs. wearing shoes. The barefoot proponents point out that our feet evolved to ambulate use without Buster Brown's strapped to our feet. Without shoes we have a more natural stride, and one is less prone to fungal foot infections. Dunning points out that evolution does not necessary mean that our natural state is our best or healthiest state, and therefore, shoes could be superior to no shoes for foot health. In the end, Dunning lands on the fence saying shoes have pros and cons.

One thought I had and not touched upon by Dunning was that while fungal infection of the foot was less common on the barefoot, what about hook worm? It infects folks through the feet, and a rubber sole is a nice preventative. (Not to be confused with land mark Beatles album "Rubber Soul" which does nothing to stop infections, although the remastered CD are an excellent gift idea.)

I suspect Southern California has a larger barefoot movement than Pennsylvania since it gets cold up in the Northeastern United States. Today, listening to this episode while I drove into work it was below freezing. I suspect frostbite is a major persuader to wear shoes, and would struck me had I walked barefoot from my parking garage to the office. Perhaps, it was just so obvious that Dunning thought it did require commentary.

On the other hand, if we all went barefoot Hermione would have a lot more storage space in her closet, so perhaps it is a good idea after all. This episode was good, but for Dunning, left some uncharacteristic loose ends. Perhaps his book version of this topic will tight them up.
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