Barefooters are advocating fiscal responsibility, which is a big no-no in these Keynesian times. It’s interesting that we feel pressured to “prove” why money shouldn’t be spent. In a rational (Hayekian) world, shoe-wearers would be asking the shoe companies why barefooters don’t need their product.
OK, perhaps a bit of a stretch. But I think there’s a correlation between the (quite literal) from the bottom up, individualist ethic of barefooting and Austrian economic theory. Or the top-down, broken window fallacy believing, spend our way out of a problem ethos of Big Shoe (ha ha), and Keynesianism.
Or I’m just looking for an excuse to post this awesome Hayek vs Keynes Rap Battle, “Fear the Boom and Bust:”
Serious question: was there a science media flurry like this back in the 70s when the bouncy shoe went on the market? Were there studies showing how a thick, cushioned heel improves performance and safety? Or how the “rugged ballet slipper” usually worn by runners at the time failed to meet the needs of the casual runner?
It’s nice that these barefoot studies come out and affirm what I’ve been pretty sure is true for a while now, even though I think being able to feel the ground is a more important factor of barefoot running than the shoe heel. But these studies are meaningless. They prove nothing and totally miss the point. The point has nothing to do with running or any science other than the dismal one: economics.
It is not the responsibility of the consumer to prove he doesn’t need a product. The retailer has to convince the customer their product is worth the price and DOES WHAT IT CLAIMS TO DO. (That’s not an “angry” all-caps, but rather a “this is important” all-caps. Is bold better?) The only study worth pursuing is one that verifies running shoe marketing claims.
I’ve got feet, they have nerve endings, and I figure those nerve endings are there for a reason. And they’re free. If you want to learn how to use them, you can. If you don’t, that’s ok too. But the fact is, if the science behind shoe design is sound, I shouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing.
Seriously, how do you get to be a runner for a study?
I bring this up because Professor Daniel Lieberman has reported on his most recent findings re barefootery, and, well, here’s a clip:
So that’s all good, and I would like to highlight and expound upon his proper application of the word, “hypothesis,” but I lost all focus when he mentioned the “habitual barefoot runner” they used for part of the study. I like how that sounds, “habitual barefoot runner.” Seriously, dude, I can quit anytime. Seriously. But more to the point, how do you get that gig? Even MORE to the point, how can I get that gig? That would be awesome. People would be like, “So, Mr. Sutcliffe, what do you do?” and I could say, “who, me? Why, I get studied. By scientists. I guess they want to see what makes this magnificent specimen tick. Can’t say I blame them, really.” Then they’d reply, “You’re a lab rat?” to which I’d retort, “Yeah, a lab rat. Like Splinter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You better check yourself before you wreck yourself, homes.”