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Biology Professor Embarks on Crusade Against Shoes
October 18, 2010 02:34 PM
SAY IT AIN'T SO, JOE
Daniel Howell, a biology professor at Lynchburg, Virginia's Liberty University, has been on a two-year-and-counting crusade to "challenge America’s cultural addiction to shoes and to raise awareness of the benefits of barefoot."
“We live in a shoe-obsessed society,” Howell says. “To our detriment.”
It's hard to dispute that, as a society, we are shoe-obsessed.
Howell says barefoot walking is essential to healthy feet. He likens a shoe to a cast that immobilizes an otherwise healthy foot and prevents it from functioning as nature intended.
Shoes, he argues, can lead to problems like hammertoe and knee arthritis.
“It’s getting to be quite well known that shoes change the way you run,” he said. “They also change the way you walk. They change the way you stand. They’re bad for you when you sit. They’re just bad for you.”
In response, Howell ran the Virginia Ten Miler, barefoot.
He drives to work barefoot.
He even attends church, barefoot.
“You begin spending more and more and more time barefoot,” Howell said. “You’re kind of pushing the envelope in terms of where you can go and what you can do.”
There is one place Howell dares not tread, shoeless.
“I avoid them like the plague,” he says. “That said, other than the yuckiness of it, it’s not a particularly dangerous place. It’s just the idea of it that’s yucky to me.”
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