Footwear- Barefoot or Thick Sole


I have a good friend that swears by her “Five Fingers” Shoes.  She has worn them for years, even when she is wearing dresses. Although it appears a little odd, she is a firm believer.  She tells me that it has improved or eliminated all back pain.  I never bought into it, but I think she has been right all along.

Why Shoes and Feet are So Important?

  1. A typical worker walks up between 5000-7000 steps/day (2.5-2.8 mile)
  2. The human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons. The 52 bones in your feet make up about 25 percent of all the bones in your body. (According to
  3. The foot is rigid and mobile
  4. When running barefoot the loading pattern is gentler on your joints because it causes you to strike with your mid-foot first as opposed to your heel first. ( Footwear and Function- Views on Barefoot Training by Michol Dalcourt).
  5. An athletic shoe that is has a higher and wider heel will cause more of a shock to your body from your foot all the way up the chain.

Since most people won’t go barefoot when exercising, what should we look for when choosing shoes?:

  1. The heel cushion should be same width as the body of the heel
  2. The rearfoot and forefoot should be the same height
  3. The shoe should have very little cushion



  • This information was compiled from a paper and webinar that I read and watched entitled Footwear and Function- Views on Barefoot Training by Michol Dalcourt and  based on research by Daniel Lieberman, Professor Human  Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, “Kinetic Pulse Effect with Various Footwear”
  • Vibram 5 Finger Shoes were used in this study
  • This post contains affiliate links.