Sports Shoes – Friend or Foe

Barefoot running is one of the current ‘hot’ topics in fitness. Barefoot aficionados point to human history, and the fact that the modern running shoe has only been in existence since the early 1970′s to suggest that the human foot is designed for locomotion without support. Indeed evolutionary anthropologists such as Daniel Lieberman suggest that the human lower limb is ‘designed to run’ and is perhaps a key aspect in the progress of the modern human species. In light of these theories, how then can we justify supports and external devices designed to control foot motion? Is the ‘control of motion’ a misguided concept doomed to failure on the basis that the foot and ankle actually function as mobile adaptors to the terrain underfoot, and external control simply inhibits the neuromuscular feedback from the propulsive system? Comment and justify your position- the shoe; to control or not?

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