Going barefoot isn't something I'd really thought about before. It's just something that happened in some places, like at the swimming pool, and something that didn't happen, like when you go to work. Since I've started to watch Dual Survival, seeing Cody going barefoot in pretty much every terrain has got me thinking: Is there something to this going barefoot thing?
In Dual Survival it's often quoted that research has shown that people thousands of years ago had better foot health than people nowadays. But it doesn't reference where it's gotten this research from. So first things first, is it true? Surprisingly yes, it does seem to be true. I found an article on barefoot on Wikipedia that made the same claim, but included a reference. this reference led me to New York Magazine and an article called 'You Walk Wrong' (http://nymag.com/health/features/46213/). This quoted from research done in 2007 called "Shod Versus Unshod: The Emergence of Forefoot Pathology in Modern Humans?". This research looked at 180 modern humans and compared their foot to each other and to 2000 year old skeletons, showing that humans had better foot health before modern day shoes. While the report didn't advise walking barefoot, it did show that walking barefoot allowed a natural gait and that shoes restrict this.
So moving on I wanted to find out why a report such as this wouldn't recommend walking barefoot, especially as the article goes on to say that people who run in expensive running shoes are more prone to injury than people who wear cheaper shoes (with fewer gimmicks). Well the main point is that it will take a while before you're ready to go barefoot and you could injure yourself doing too much walking or running this way too soon - mainly because our feet aren't tough anymore. But that can be trained in! There are also other concerns like cuts, fungal infections and other injuries. But the benefits are: you save money, you strengthen your feet, you walk properly (ball with heel tap and not heel rolling to ball), and it feels pretty good.
Finally, this blog post would be pointless if I didn't at least test it in some way, so I wandered (barefoot) into the garage and spent 12 minutes on the treadmill. It felt good, although I will need to keep going to get the benefits as the balls of my feet got very warm and I could feel that my ankle was being used in a very different way. I'm going to keep trying this in different places, just to see how it goes! If anything, it's fun: it's a little adventure!
After recommendations for a couple of friends, I started watching a TB programme called Dual Survival. It's fair to say that mid way through the first episode, I was hooked. Even though I'm now only watching episode 3 for the first series, I feel sufficiently hyped about it to write a little about it.
We have 2 survivalists, firstly Dave Canterbury (http://www.thepathfinderschoolllc.com/) an army trained sniper, secondly Cody Lundin (http://www.codylundin.com/) a minimalist. We often find that Dave is very excitable and runs on adrenaline with Cody having to make him step back and re-check what he's doing. Dave seems to have a wider variety of survival experience, for example on glaciers and in caves. Cody, who doesn't wear shoes, sometimes seems to slow the team down, but is the calm, rational member who often brings the focus back to the objective: To get rescued. For example in series 1 episode 2, Cody caught an eel, which he slit open to start the drying process - meaning thatthe eel wouldn't go off and they'd be able to eat it on the move. Dave wanted to make a fire and cook the eel, but Cody made him realise that it would waste daylight meaning that they could miss out on getting to safety that day. Dave conceded and the team moved on!
Definately a good concept for a programme and one that I'd recommened any who's interested in the outdoors and survival watch. Looking forward to the rest of the programmes, and hopefully series 3 in 2012.